As the Syracuse Orange basketball squad transitions into the 2012-13 season, there's a new mix of players in the rotation, and three starters need to be replaced.
Michael Carter-Williams will likely move into the starting point guard slot, and C.J. Fair will also jump into the starting lineup as a small or power forward.
Aside from Fair and Brandon Triche, Syracuse is a team full of players unaccustomed to playing large chunks of time or starting games.
Here's a breakdown of each potential starting lineup for Jim Boeheim's Orange, assessing the pros and cons of each scenario.
Starting Lineup: Michael Carter-Williams (PG), Brandon Triche (SG), C.J. Fair (SF), Rakeem Christmas (PF), Baye Keita (C)
Pros: This group will rebound the ball and protect the rim well, especially with the length of both Christmas and Keita in the back line of the zone. C.J. Fair could excel as a wing or small forward with this group.
Cons: The forwards in this group have subpar ball skills. Fair, Christmas and Keita are poor ball-handlers who will struggle to score on their own. Also, I question whether Keita is ready to be the man in the middle. Is he strong enough to battle with Big East centers?
If Keita shows improvement in the paint and in the weight room, this could end up being Jim Boeheim's preferred starting squad.
Starting Lineup: Michael Carter-Williams (PG), Brandon Triche (SG), C.J. Fair (SF), Rakeem Christmas (PF), DaJuan Coleman (C)
Pros: If this lineup is actually used, Syracuse would out-rebound every team it plays. The front line is comprised of three above-average rebounders, and the guards will rebound also. Coleman will keep defenses honest, opening up more room for Fair and Triche to operate.
Cons: Coleman and Christmas will probably struggle with developing chemistry with one another and the rest of the team. Also, this squad wouldn't be the best fast-break group.
Starting Lineup: Michael Carter-Williams (PG), Brandon Triche (SG), James Southerland (SF), C.J. Fair (PF), Rakeem Christmas (C)
Pros: This group possesses an excellent combination of length and mobility. With Southerland and Fair at the forward positions, Syracuse would cover a lot of ground in the zone and be lethal in the fast break. Southerland adds versatility with outside shooting and ball-handling.
Cons: There might not be enough bulk or height in the paint with this crew. Its lack of size could make them vulnerable to second-chance points against the top Big East squads.
Starting Lineup: Michael Carter-Williams (PG), Brandon Triche (SG), James Southerland (SF), C.J. Fair (PF), DaJuan Coleman (C)
Pros: It's the same lineup as before, but swapping out Rakeem Christmas with DaJuan Coleman, who adds size and more offensive skills. Christmas can't really score in the post creatively, whereas Coleman can provide that threat.
Cons: This bunch would be slightly less mobile and might lose some rim protection.