We will have watched Cavalier basketball by this time next week. The wait (for pre-season) is almost over.
The first sip
The battle for the starting three spot is the most intriguing one coming into this season. The Cavs have potentially four all-stars in the starting lineup without a wing that complements them. There’s an argument that Isaac Okoro may grow into being the perfect long-term fit, but that seems more speculative than substantive at this point.
J.B. Bickerstaff went out of his way earlier this week to say that there are no front runners to the starting small forward spot.
J.B. Bickerstaff says #Cavs might throw some "wild" lineups out preseason to "experiment." Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens, Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert are all in the mix, no frontrunners, for that starting spot at the 3.— Spencer Davies (@SpinDavies) September 27, 2022
While also saying that Dylan Windler has looked phenomenal and might be that guy.
#Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff says Dylan Windler has been “phenomenal” since returning to Cleveland after Labor Day and that’s what has him in the mix for the starting small forward spot.— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) September 27, 2022
This feels like an annual song and dance at this point of the year. The Cavs desperately need someone who can shoot and rebound at a consistent rate. On paper, Windler is the perfect fit to do both of those things, but he hasn’t shown he can can be that guy.
Maybe this is the year he can stay healthy and put it all together. That would be the ideal outcome for everyone, but I’ll have to wait and see it before I believe it.
The second sip
This is the time for eternal optimism and belief that things will be different this time. Hopefully for the Cavs, that’s the case for Donovan Mitchell on the defensive end. Although, it seems he’s made a tradition of saying things like this.