Cavaliers Rotation Shakes Out Heading into Opening Night

As the Cavaliers gear up for their final two preseason games before the October 27th opener, head coach Byron Scott is apparently getting closer to ironing out a starting lineup as well as his key bench players. 

With Anderson Varejao looking to be recovered from his offseason ankle injury as well as the recent death of his grandfather, the Brazilian big man will get his first start under his new head coach this Tuesday as the Cavaliers head to Cincinnati to face the Philadelphia 76ers.  Along with Andy, the Cavs’ starting lineup will feature JJ Hickson, Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker and Ramon Sessions.

Save for Sessions (who will likely come off of the bench once Mo Williams is healthy), the group listed above appears to be the starting squad for your 2010-11 Cavaliers – at least as it stands in late October.  There were questions about nearly every spot on the starting five as Daniel Gibson, Joey Graham and Antawn Jamison also figure into key roles for the team.  Scott made it clear on Monday afternoon that the veteran Parker has won the starting shooting guard job and Jamario Moon is the current “leader” at the small forward role.

As we surmised over the summer, Antawn Jamison – though likely counted on as a key contributor – will likely be the sixth man as he can play either forward spot.  Though Scott has said that the “better man will start,” he also insinuated that he will be speaking to the veteran Jamison about a reserve role.  As we noted last week, Hickson’s play in the preseason has provided Scott with the type of youth movement that a rebuilding (reloading?) team needs.

Hickson and Varejao can both play power forward and center, and Ryan Hollinswill also spell bothmen in the paint allowing Scott to use several different lineups.   As we have seen through the preseason, Gibson is also in line for considerable minutes this season, providing Byron Scott with at least nine men in his nightly rotation.

Williams, continuing his rehabilitation from an early-preseason groin injury, appears on track to be ready for next week’s game against the Boston Celtics, though the injury may just not allow him to reenact his dunk on Paul Pierce.  In the event that he cannot go, Sessions will get the bulk of the minutes at point guard.  The current Cavaliers roster stands at 16 players with the final roster cut to be made by this time next week.

(Scott Shaw / The Plain Dealer)

  • MallaLubba

    Who remembers Jamison’s glowing review of the city of Cleveland (referring to it’s basketball fans) immediately after showing up on the Cavs’ doorstep? Who’s willing to bet that in a role which is reduced (at least in comparison to his expectations) and in a season with less than championship expectations his tune will change?

  • Vengeful Pat

    @2, honestly I don’t think that will happen. Jamison has always been a team-first guy, and you won’t hear him griping in public. I definitely don’t think he’ll be happy about seeing his minutes reduced, but you won’t hear a peep out of him.

  • BigMatt

    Jamison averaged 32 min/gm for the Cavs last year, down from 38 min/gm his whole career. He’ll still average 30-32 off the bench for this Cavs team. I don’t think he’ll complain about coming off the bench at this stage of his career.

    The problem I see is the “spark” factor. You’re starting two high-energy guys in Hickson and Varejao, then your first sub is the low key (though highly skilled) Jamison?

    It may have something to do with BScott’s system, or the lack of a startable center.

    However it plays out, I’m real excited to see how this Cavs team performs under the new head coach.

  • Chad

    @BigMatt – You have to think that either Andy or JJ will come out when Jamison comes in and the other guy will be on the floor with Jamison. I think we’ve seen in years past that it really doesn’t matter if the “energy” guy like Andy is starting or coming off the bench. You could always go bigger by having Jamison spell Moon as the first guy out too.

  • Chris

    If you guys were paying attention to the national media, you would know we don’t HAVE a basketball team in Cleveland anymore.

    I can’t wait to prove them wrong.

  • mil1142

    @scott love the reloading question. have to admit, i’m getting pumped for the season. when the cavs exceed the experts expectations hopefully they will no longer be considered experts and we can get some non espn unbiased analysis.