It’s important to keep in mind that this iteration of the Cavs has not played a single game together due to injuries, making the coaching staff’s job a little harder than it has been in years past.
Head coach Tyronn Lue said that he has already had conversations with the guys who will be out of the rotation, at least for this first series. But as of Wednesday, Lue wasn’t willing to go into much more detail when it comes to their playoff lineups.
“I’m not telling you,” he said when asked who would be starting Game 1.
We can do some analyzing here though. Obviously LeBron James and Kevin Love will be in the starting lineup, and Lue said last week that Jeff Green would start throughout the playoffs. George Hill will be the starting point guard, while Jose Calderon will see minutes of the bench. The fifth spot in the first unit is likely either going to Kyle Korver or Rodney Hood, who have both been injured over the final weeks of the regular season.
Lue said Korver is “getting better,” as he has dealt with foot soreness, and that Hood was “ready to go.”
Lue has also talked about JR Smith coming off the bench once playoffs roll around, so again, another safe bet. On Thursday after the Cavs film session, Lue also mentioned wanting Jordan Clarkson to play with a point guard as much as possible was mostly the reason for this 10-man rotation.
“We just want to make sure we have a point guard on the court with (Clarkson) knowing Cory Joseph picks up full court, and trying to disrupt the point guard on the opposing team,” Lue said. “So it’s very important we try to keep a point guard on the floor with him at all times.”
Considering Larry Nance Jr. sat out most of the Cavs final game of the season, it would appear that he is ahead of Tristan Thompson in the rotation, although, to be fair, Lue wouldn’t comment on whether that was the case after the Knicks game on Wednesday.
Thompson was excused from Thursday’s film session because of the birth of his daughter.
But overall, the challenge for Lue seems to stem from the fact that he has never had this entire group available all at once this year, allowing different players different opportunities to shine.
“It’s tough because we got 12 or 13 guys that showed this year that they can play,” Lue said. “You’re not going to be able to play that many guys in the playoffs and I’ve talked to the guys, they understand that and they just gotta be ready because you never know when you’re going to be called upon.”