The Cavs announced that J.R. Smith will miss Thursday’s game, and Channing Frye would take his spot in the starting lineup.
J.R. Smith will not play tonight because of a sore left knee. Channing Frye will start in his place.— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydNBA) December 21, 2017
Starting Frye is an interesting choice given his positional and role difference from Smith. It slides Jae Crowder to the shooting guard spot and moves Kevin Love to the power forward in a more traditionally big lineup than the Cavs normally trot out.
For Frye, it’s a nice opportunity - his role has dwindled in the Cavs rotation ever since Tristan Thompson returned from injury alongside Cedi Osman’s emergence as a player who suddenly gets 15-20 meaningful minutes (not that anybody’s complaining).
Frye gives an injection of shooting that’s lost when J.R. is forced to sit, and that’s probably the right call given Jae Crowder’s recent slump from distance.