Predicting the Cleveland Cavaliers Rotation in 2012-13
The Cleveland Cavaliers, even though they recently featured one of the best players ever to lace up a pair of Nikes, have basically been in flux for decades.
Sure, there was a heyday in the early 1990's and of course during the LeBron era, but they haven't had a genuine core of solid overall talent for decades.
But the front office of the Cavs has been wise in recent years, and now this team is ripe with talent.
Are they a title contender? Absolutely not. But are they a team on the rise? Without a doubt.
Here are my projections for the Cleveland Cavs' lineup.
Kyrie Irving, PG, Starter
The Cavs struck gold two years ago when they received the No. 1 overall selection, and the rights to Kyrie Irving.
Irving was not only good, but showed glimpses of a transcendent talent.
He is quick, instinctive, and incredibly smart.
This kid is destined to be the next Tim Hardaway.
We are looking at someone that is going to carry this franchise for years to come.
Dion Waiters, SG, Starter
Waiters is a brilliant pick for Cleveland.
He is a genuine scorer who has a big body and should be the ideal fit next to Irving.
Now nobody knows exactly how well he will play defense at this level, and everyone knows that Irving needs that.
But the Cavs need to develop their young core, and Waiters could prove to be the steal of the draft.
Omri Casspi, SF, Starter
Casspi has proven that he can shoot, and score with a flourish.
He struggles with defense, rebounding and passing.
But in this system, Casspi could actually be a benefit to this team.
Irving and Waiters are going to get to the hoop, and will be looking for shooters that can spot up.
Casspi could prove to be the ideal swing man for this team.
Tristan Thompson, PF, Starter
Obviously, the Cavs have been touting young big men for years.
So why should we see Thompson as anything but the next flash in the pan?
For one thing, Thompson loves the game. He plays with energy, loves to play defense and loves blocking shots.
Thompson was a pleasant surprise last year, and his second season should prove even more fruitful.
Anderson Varejao, C, Starter
The prototypical energy guy, Varejao loves contact and rebounding.
Throughout his career, he has been a great rebounder off the bench.
Now, he gets the opportunity to play as the starting center.
Now, some fans might think that Varejao could be the next Joakim Noah, but he really doesn't have the offensive chops for that.
Ideally, he becomes a 12-and-11 guy, but more than likely he will get himself into foul trouble and in the coach's doghouse.
Tyler Zeller, C
The Cavs have had some seriously good luck in the draft the last few years.
Zeller was no exception to this.
Zeller is perhaps the most game-ready center in this draft.
In all likelihood, Zeller will eventually make it into the starting lineup, pushing Varejao back to the bench where he belongs as an energy guy.
Zeller is a strong rebounder and interior defender that can run the floor and score near the hoop. The only real knock against his game is that he doesn't block many shots, but luckily Thompson can help there.
Jon Leuer, PF
Jon Leuer, formerly with the Bucks, is far from a finished product.
He has good height, but lacks elite bulk for the position.
That being said, he is a solid big man that can shoot from deep and run the floor.
For a team like Cleveland that has a lot of young guys that want to get out and run, Leuer can only help them. I could see him becoming their second big man off the bench, and playing very well with Irving.
Daniel Gibson, G
Gibson is one of the few remaining players from the LeBron era, and with good reason.
Gibson can shoot the lights out, has above-average quickness, and has good veteran presence.
That being said, he is an undersized shooting guard that has never been anything but a good bench player.
Some have speculated that he could grab the starting job at off-guard.
Personally, I think Waiters is just too talented, and should be the Cavs' primary sixth man.
C.J. Miles, G/F
C.J. Miles was a very smart pickup for the Cavs.
Miles can play both shooting guard and small forward, and is a strong defender.
Sure, he struggles at times with his perimeter jumper and might be too small to successfully play small forward.
But he brings athleticism and veteran leadership to a young team that has a lot of bigs but not a ton of swingmen.
Miles could be the first shooting guard off the bench, especially if the Cavs fail to re-sign Alonzo Gee.
Alonzo Gee, G/F
Gee is a very good player that has gained a strong following in Cleveland.
He, like Miles, is an undersized small forward that can also play shooting guard.
The difference is that he is a slightly better shooter, and he is actually a very good rebounder for his size.
If the Cavs finally re-sign him, which seems likely, Gee becomes another valuable bench player that could even challenge Casspi for a starting gig.
There are a handful of other players that should see time with Cleveland this year, but really aren't primary players.
The one exception could be Donald Sloan, who should be the primary backup for Irving.
Samardo Samuels, Michael Eric, Luke Walton and Kelenna Azuibuike are all players that should see some minutes with the team, but none of them probably have the skill set to dislodge one of the other players mentioned to become regular contributors.
That being said, each has a niche that could help this team, and if injuries strike, this could be a different story.