Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Chance of Starting: 51 percent
Role with Team: Defense, rebounding
Primary Backup: Alonzo Gee
The first true positional battle for the Cavs will come at small forward, with a number of names being thrown into the mix.
The starter the past two years has been Alonzo Gee, who has been solid but definitely not spectacular. Gee brings a strong defensive game but lacks an outside shot and ideal size for the position. Whether he begins the season as a starter or not, expect Gee to end up coming off the bench at some point due to his versatility.
For now, I'll go with Earl Clark as the starter over Gee by a nose. Clark, like Gee, isn't known much for his offense. Both have hung their hat on the defensive side of the ball thus far in their respective careers. The main advantage Clark has over Gee is his size (6'10" vs. 6'6") and rebounding.
Last season, Clark averaged 9.5 rebounds per 48 minutes while in the lineup at small forward, according to 82games. His opponents in this same amount of time averaged just 6.9 boards.
Rebounding was a struggle for the Cavs last season, as they ranked 22nd in the NBA. Gee was particularly bad, as he pulled down just 3.9 rebounds in 31 minutes per game. Clark, in addition to his superior rebounding, shot a better percentage from beyond the arc (33.7 to 31.5) compared to Gee.
While Sergey Karasev, C.J. Miles and even Carrick Felix could make their case for the starting small forward spot sometime during the season, expect Clark to be in the starting unit on opening night.