According the cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, Cleveland Cavaliers head Tyronn Lue sees 6-foot-4 shooting guard David Nwaba as part of his rotation, despite an overabundance of shooting guards on the roster. finding where Nwaba fits in a rotation that has Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Korver and Cedi Osman at the wings won’t be necessarily difficult though.
Firstly, while Hood, expected to be the team’s second option, is the starting shooting guard and Clarkson is his backup, both Hood and Clarkson are able to play multiple positions.
Hood, able to play both shooting guard and small forward, is likely to spend far more minutes at shooting guard but in certain lineups, he’ll likely be lined up as a small forward. Similarly, Clarkson is able to play shooting guard and point guard but while likely to spend more minutes at point guard than the shooting guard, he’ll be the point guard in certain lineups.
Korver (shooting guard, small forward, power forward), Osman (point guard, shooting guard and small forward) and even Smith (shooting guard and small forward), who isn’t expect to be in the rotation, can play multiple positions as well.
This flexibility can be found among all the wings on the roster and will be one of the primary reasons that Nwaba finds himself able to fit in the rotation.
The second reason is his skillset and how it differs from that of the majority of the wings. Nwaba, a defensive standout and explosive athlete who made 37.0 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes last season (per NBA.com stats) fits a three-and-D role to a tee.
Lue liked what David Nwaba gave #Cavs. Defense was good. Ability to rebound and go coast to coast in four seconds is nice. Says he's a better shooter than he thought.
— Spencer Davies (@SpinDavies) October 5, 2018
Only Smith and Osman are able to play that role and with Osman as a starter and Smith out of the rotation for now, Nwaba will be able to fit in as an interchangeable piece in a 10-man rotation that features Hood, Clarkson, Korver, Osman, George Hill, Collin Sexton, Kevin Love, Sam Dekker, Larry Nance Jr., Tristan Thompson.
Out of that grouping, Korver and Nance Jr. could see minutes at power forward.
Nance Jr. in particular could see plenty of minutes at power forward with the improvements he made as a ball-handler and passer in the offseason. Especially with Lue telling reporters last year that he sees Nance as more of a power forward than a center.
In the same ways that Lue could make Korver and Smith interchangeable pieces in the rotation depending on the players the opposing team puts on the floor, Nwaba and Dekker could be interchangeable as well.
That’s likely where he fits in.
For example, if Lue puts out a second unit of Sexton, Clarkson, Korver, Dekker and Thompson in one game, that doesn’t mean a second unit of Sexton, Clarkson, Nwaba, Korver and and Nance Jr. couldn’t be seen in their next matchup. A deeper look at that five-man group also reveals that there would possible be more spacing than the one with Dekker, given that Dekker product only made 15.1 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes last season (per NBA.com stats).
Nwaba has just 90 games of NBA experience in the two years that he’s been in the league and at 25-years-old, his sojourn to the Land was anything but conventional as he missed the first two years of his college career. Yet, he worked through being undrafted and having to latch onto a NBA G-League team to be in the position where he can be a rotation player for a team with playoff goals.
He’s a gritty player not afraid to do the dirty work and his lunchpail mentality isn’t just going to show up on the court but in the fabric of the team.For a franchise that has lofty aspirations even without LeBron James, he represents the type of players the Cavaliers need to be now and in the future.