As the 2018-19 NBA season approaches, we are starting to get more answers about what the Cleveland Cavaliers will look like on opening night.
The team has potential battles for a starting role at both guard spots, as well as at center. But while the question of whether or not Collin Sexton will start is still up in the air, we now know what the team’s plan is for the center position.
Tyronn Lue explained to Joe Vardon of The Athletic that the Cavs will alternate between Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. based on the match-up. When the team goes against an opponent with size, Thompson will take the assignment. If more mobility is required, then Nance will start at the five.
Lue explained that the proposed approach has been a welcomed adjustment for Nance in particular.
“Last year kinda wore Larry down trying to guard those big guys the whole game,” said Lue. “Larry loves it. He’s like ‘thank you.’”
As long as both centers are on the team, this is probably the best possible way to deploy them.
Both Nance and Thompson bring similar skills to the table. They are both very good rebounders and threats in the pick and roll. Thompson provides better screens and is better equipped to defend larger big men. While Nance has more offensive touch and better mobility.
The impact both players make on a game is largely dependent on their ability to bring energy and work harder than the opposition. Something that’s easier in 22-24 minutes a game than it is for 36.
If the team can keep both players fresh and healthy by splitting their minutes, both are capable of being positive contributors for next season. Plus with the similarities between their offensive skill-sets, there will be offensive continuity no matter which of the two is in. It also will hopefully help eliminate the potential spacing nightmare of both big men playing at the same time.