The Cavaliers suddenly have a jam-packed frontcourt with four starting-quality players after the trade that brought Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder to Cleveland.
Crowder would certainly be an overqualified sixth man, and with talk of playing Kevin Love more at center, it was possible to wonder if moving Tristan Thompson to the bench could be a possibility for a downsized, more space-based lineup.
Well, Tyronn Lue says that we’ll have to pump the brakes on that for now.
"Right now we're just trying to get all of our pieces together and right now Tristan's our starter," Lue told cleveland.com. "I'm just thinking we're going to run a lot more stuff through Kevin, more at the elbows, like we've done the last year and a half. Just trying to figure out with our new pieces and our new players and just see what works best for us."
This makes a lot of sense. If you had to pick one player to come off the bench between Thompson and Crowder, Crowder’s versatility to mix and match based on the floor of the game makes him an easy sixth-man candidate. If the Cavaliers want to opt for more defense, he can replace Love as the first sub of the game. If they’re looking for spacing, Thompson can hit the pine.
Thompson really only plays the five at this point in his career, so, while he’s very good, he doesn’t offer quite the versatility the Crowder does.
Lue talked a big game about this being Love’s best year in a Cavaliers uniform (that I was skeptical about), but in a funny coincidence, Lue doesn’t quite remember telling ESPN’s Zach Lowe that:
Lue told ESPN that Love "is going to have the best year that he's had here." Reminded of that quote by cleveland.com Monday, Lue said: "I don't remember saying that, but I hope it's true.”
Love’s role is always going to be the subject of hot debate in Cleveland, but as of now, it looks like he’ll still play most of his minutes at the four spot.