Sunday marks the Cavs’ third preseason game — here are three things to look for.
Will we see John Henson and/or Ante Zizic?
In training camp, Henson has been positively talked up as a part of the team’s rotation. There’s definitely some posturing going on there, but Henson does have a different skillset than the Cavs’ other bigs. He’s far and away the most proven rim protector among the Cavs’ bigs and could theoretically fight nicely in a pairing with Larry Nance Jr. on the bench or in lineups with Kevin Love.
He hasn’t played in the preseason, though, due to a groin strain. If he’s going to have a role, it’d be good to having some game time.
As for Zizic, who has been battling foot soreness, it’d unclear what his role would be based on what we’ve seen from Beilein’s offense so far. There’s typically only one big in the middle of sets. Zizic doesn’t offer the rebounding or rim protection of the team’s other options. Plus, Marquese Bolden has been somewhat impressive and is more mobile. It’s unclear what this means for Zizic and his place on the roster.
The four locks in Beilein’s starting lineup would appear to be Love, Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman and Tristan Thompson. So far, he’s used Brandon Knight and Matthew Dellavedova in the other spot. Both are candidates to start again — Knight’s a little better overall and on offense, Dellavedova offers better defense and more ball movement opposite of Sexton.
The other option is Darius Garland. To date, he’s averaging 12.8 minutes per game off the bench, which feels lower than he’ll play once the season gets going. He’s probably going to start at some point, but Garland is being brought along slowly. That would indicate one of Dellavedova or Knight will start next to Sexton on Sunday and probably when the regular season starts.
Does anyone make a case for a final roster spot?
Sindarius Thornwell, the logical pick for the Cavs’ final roster spot, has only played in one game so far. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, another wing option, has only played in one game too. Meanwhile, Bolden and Jarrell Martin have received more playing time and have thus had chances to make a case for themselves.
When asked about the team’s plans for the end of the roster, Beilein said the team would have to decide between a player they want to keep around and skill set the roster needs. That day to decide is coming soon, and Sunday is the second-to-last preseason game. It feels like it’s time to learn something about what the Cavs value at the end of the roster.