Heading into the 2017-2018 NBA season, depth is suddenly an asset for the Cleveland Cavaliers. While at the start of last year there was talk of Jordan McRae being the team’s Jamal Crawford, and the back-up point guard position was occupied by Iman Shumpert. That isn’t the case this season, as every position is filled with intriguing options and backup plans.
One of those options is Cavs rookie wing Cedi Osman. Osman comes into the league as a raw offensive prospect with defensive upside and solid athleticism. If this was last season, the team would be need to use him out of necessity. Think of the role Derrick Williams played. But with plenty of options available, his role is unclear.
In this week’s edition of “Hey Joe”, Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon shared an anecdote of an exchange between he and Tyronn Lue, as well as skepticism over Osman playing a significant role:
When the Cavs signed Cedi Osman in July, I asked Lue if he had watched film of Osman. It was a necessary question because Osman is a rookie who’s played in Turkey and the Euroleague. He’s a 22-year-old and 6-8. A hustle defender. Lue’s reply…”nope.” OK, then. Osman is not going to get the first chance on this team.
It’s probably worth noting that this exchange took place in July, and a lot could have changed between then and now. I would imagine that Lue watched some of Osman at EuroBasket 2017 and has become more familiar with him over the last two months. How the players perform throughout camp and the preseason will also likely factor into what the rotation looks like to start the year.
But the reality of the situation is that Osman plays a position that already has LeBron James and Jae Crowder ahead of him on the depth charts. In addition to that, Kyle Korver is going to need some minutes at small forward, as he played 32 percent of his minutes at the position last season. Osman may get a chance to come in and provide some energy, but for a team that’s still operating with a win-now mentality, he’ll really need to blow people away to carve out a permanent spot in the rotation in year one.