There hasn’t been a lot of consistency for the Cleveland Cavaliers early in this season. The play has largely been uneven and they have struggled at times as a result of the responsibility that’s been given to their younger players.
To counteract some of this, head coach Tyronn Lue plans on inserting Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith, and Channing Frye into the rotation. The decision was reported by Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
In addition to that, Vardon also indicated that there is a belief that David Nwaba will no longer be sitting in street clothes. While Vardon indicated that this appears to be, in his opinion, a change of course for the team I’m not completely sold on that notion.
The important thing will be to see who’s minutes are cut down in this process. A team going young, as the Cavs are, doesn’t necessarily mean only playing it’s young players. It’s about developing the young core and putting them in positions to succeed.
Collin Sexton has struggled early on when he hasn’t been surrounded by shooting with the second unit. Playing heavy minutes with Sam Dekker, Jordan Clarkson and Ante Zizic hasn’t done him any favors. Even Cedi Osman’s game has been impacted by whether or not he’s surrounded by shooting.
If the move to insert the veterans into the rotation means that Dekker, Clarkson, Zizic, and Hood will have a reduction in minutes that might not be the end of the world. You likely will have to play Korver and Smith if you are going to trade them and the spacing they can provide in the meantime will help the team play with more cohesion.
This move, in addition to Lue’s comments about sitting players that don’t talk on defense seems to be about creating accountability. Sexton needs to earn a starting role over Hill, and the younger players that are outside of the team’s core won’t be gifted minutes regardless of how they play.
Expanding the rotation and increasing the emphasis on accountability is probably a good way for the team to go at the moment. While the struggles may still continue given the absence of high-end talent, that doesn’t mean the team has to allow the forming of bad habits without consequences.