The value of Jae Crowder is that he can play both small forward and power forward. The problem: the Cavs have All-Star level starters at both positions in LeBron James and Kevin Love, likely sending Crowder to the bench and playing fewer minutes.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, however, doesn’t see Crowder as only James’ backup and, per cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, is working a lineups that feature both forwards.
This, of course, makes sense. In the modern NBA, and against teams like the Warriors, the Cavs want to be flexible and be able to switch as much as possible. Getting on Crowder on the court with James is the best way to do that. Imagine a Cavs five of J.R. Smith, LeBron, Crowder, Richard Jefferson and either Tristan Thompson or a Jeff Green/Cedi Osman type. Those may be Cleveland’s best matches for what Golden State does.
But viewing Crowder has more than a backup also opens up lineups where the Cavs can go big with James and Crowder both playing with Thompson and Love. It could also mean more Love at center, something the Cavs have really only dabbled with in the last three years. So, while the adjustments are small, Crowder offers some potential new looks for Lue to play with.