David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: Tristan Thompson, 34 minutes
Slowly but surely, Thompson has been getting better month by month. He's as durable a player as the NBA's seen, and minutes should be plentiful for the third-year forward.
With Varejao no longer coming off the bench, we should see Thompson's playing time only increase. The only way Anthony Bennett takes minutes from Thompson is if his mother was playing NBA 2K14.
With 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds in January, the Cavs need to ride Thompson as much as they can.
Primary Reserve: Earl Clark, 14 minutes
Brown began the season with Clark as his starting small forward, then moved him to power forward, then back to small forward, and, well, you get the picture.
The bottom line is, Clark has no business playing the 3. He's much better suited to being a backup 4 behind Thompson, rebounding and knocking down the occasional jump shot. According to 82games.com, Clark has a PER of 8.1 as a small forward, but 14.2 as a power forward.
He can't handle the ball or create offense for himself. Keeping Clark with limited minutes and putting him on the floor with players like Jarrett Jack and Dion Waiters would be for the best.
Reserve: Anthony Bennett, 0 minutes
Bennett has all but fallen out of the rotation since the trade for Deng.
Cleveland has two options: sit the first-overall pick on the bench where he'll never develop, or send him to the D-League where he'd likely thrive and gain his confidence back.
This is a no-brainer to me, but the Cavs' brass have been stubborn, possibly viewing any ticket down as an admission of their own mistake.
Bennett will never get better by watching an NBA game versus actually playing in a D-League contest. The sooner Cleveland sends him down to regain his shot and overall confidence, the better.