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5 Answers To The Cavs’ Question: “Where’s The Defense?”

David Richard | USA Today Sports

#5 We Miss The Wild Thing

The loss of Anderson Varejao to a season-ending achilles injury will really test the depth of the Cavs’ bench. Varejao started at center, averaging 24.5 minutes per contest. He contributed a decent 9.8 PPG to go along with 6.5 RPG and 1.3 APG, all while shooting 55% from the floor. These numbers are all up from last year’s. What’s not as apparent is Varejao’s role on defense. Despite being pegged as an offensive player, Varejao has really stepped up his defense this season. At the same time, Tristan Thompson has also improved his defense, so filling in Varejao’s role will not be hard, but finding a center to back-up Thompson will be difficult. A defensive minded center will be necessary since Kevin Love is fairly poor at defense.

Without Varejao, Blatt is scrambling to put together the pieces. Since Varejao’s injury, Blatt played a rotation only consisting of a starting 5 of Irving, Miller, James, Love and Thompson, with Dellavedova, Jones, Harris, and Marion coming off the bench. Notice how there is no big getting playing time aside from Love/Thompson, which will be tough to maintain considering that the two have been both been playing over 40 minutes per game since his injury.

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