Hey everybody! I’ve got good news! The Cavaliers no longer have to give minutes to players like Samardo Samuels, Luke Walton, and other players who likely should not be in the league anymore!
Hey everybody! I’ve got bad news! Mike Brown has a ton of players to keep happy this year, and the rotation is going to be very tough to parse out when (if?) everybody is healthy.
There are a total of 240 minutes available for Coach Brown to distribute (48 minutes per game multiplied five for each position on the floor.)
Now, I’m sure our friendly neighborhood coach can do a better job than me, but I took a shot at what I thought might be a reasonable rotation for the upcoming season, and man, it was not ideal. There were an unbelievable amount of players that I felt deserved more minutes, but couldn’t squeeze them in.
Here was my best shot.
The Prospective Rotation
PG: Kyrie Irving (34:00)
SG: Dion Waiters (28:00)
SF: Earl Clark (18:00)
PF: Tristan Thompson (29:00)
C: Andrew Bynum (24:00)
PG: Jarrett Jack (27:00)
SG: CJ Miles (20:00)
SF: Alonzo Gee (17:00)
PF: Anthony Bennett (16:00)
C: Anderson Varejao (27:00)
Minute Distribution by Position
I’ve given you a list of raw expected minutes to be played for each player, but in order to give a better picture of exactly how the Cavs will look when they take the floor, I also wanted to provide how many minutes each player will play at each position.
Kyrie Irving: 34:00
Jarrett Jack: 14:00
Dion Waiters: 28:00
Jarrett Jack: 13:00
C.J. Miles: 7:00
Earl Clark: 18:00
Alonzo Gee: 17:00
C.J. Miles: 13:00
Tristan Thompson: 29:00
Anthony Bennett: 16:00
Anderson Varejao: 3:00
Andrew Bynum: 24:00
Anderson Varejao: 24:00
How I Distributed the Minutes
This was not easy. I ran with the concept that Brown will run with a 10-man rotation, and only dole out additional minutes to the other two active players in blowouts and whatnot. Sorry Sergey, Tyler, Carrick and the rest of the gang. Don’t worry, I still like and respect you. You’ll certainly get your chances.
Anyway, here’s how I expect things to work out for the Cavaliers’ lineup.
The Three-Headed Monster
The guards were probably the easiest to work out. Kyrie and Dion will start, and Jarrett Jack will rotate in as the third guard playing both the PG and the SG, depending on which of the starting duo is on the bench. C.J. Miles will play any leftover minutes at the two spot.
Who on Earth is going to get Small Forward minutes?
The small forwards were, well, a mess. Earl Clark, Alonzo Gee, and C.J. Miles all need minutes, and there’s only 48 minutes to give to them. Ideally, one of these three will distinguish themselves enough to steal minutes away from the other two for a bit more consistency, but until then, I think Brown should use the SF spot to play the matchups, which will prevent any of the three from getting the minutes they likely feel they deserve. Brown will have to manage egos here.
The rotation for the big men wasn’t too bad, with the exception of finding minutes for Anthony Bennett. Assuming Andrew Bynum will be suiting up for the Cavs semi-regularly, Bennett simply is going to struggle to find minutes. Even Bynum and Varejao getting limited minutes to protect durability don’t allow for much wiggle room.
Unfortunately, both TT and Bennett* are both pure Power Forwards, and the Cavs have been pretty clear that they’re not interested in playing Bennett at SF. You could make the case Bennett might steal some minutes from TT, but I just don’t envision a scenario in which Mike Brown doesn’t fall in love with Tristan’s energy and nose for defense. It doesn’t hurt TT’s cause that Bennett, despite his recent 4th quarter explosion, still could do with a bit of polishing before he’s ready for major minutes.
Oof, that was tough. I don’t envy Mike Brown’s job this year, but in all honesty, almost no teams make it through a season without suffering at least a few small injuries here and there, so in all likelihood, guys that are a little low on the minutes list will get their chances to shine.
All in all, depth is a good problem to have! It should mean that a few injuries shouldn’t decimate the Cavs entirely like it has in the past couple of years and adds flexibility to play the matchups.
I’m still not quite sure that the Cavs are going to meet Kenny Smith’s 55 win potential prediction, but as I went over this roster, I can’t help but be excited to see what the Cavaliers do with a very young, talented and intriguing roster.
Also, don’t ever make me be a head coach. Seriously. I can barely even handle cutting a player’s minutes for a blog post, let alone doing it in real life. I’m a softie.
* Can we please crowd-source a cool shorthand nickname for Anthony Bennett? I’m not buying AB.