After numerous trades, the Cavaliers have many options they could go to offensively and both defensively. The Cavs currently start Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Timofey Mozgov. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the top lineups the Cavs can and should use going down the stretch (other than the starting lineup), maybe even for the playoffs. We start with the fifth best lineup:
5. Matthew Dellavedova – Kyrie Irving – Iman Shumpert – Tristan Thompson – Kevin Love
Since Kyrie rests the final four minutes of the first quarter, he would likely start the second withe the second unit. Irving would be in attack mode with this lineup while Shumpert and Dellavedova are defending the best opposing wing plays. With all the attention on Irving and Thompson inside, Love can take his game to the perimeter where he’s been very successful this season. Having a guard and forward who can defend all of the wing positions really gives the Cavs an advantage going into the playoffs.
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4. Matthew Dellavedova – Iman Shumpert – LeBron James – Tristan Thompson – Timofey Mozgov
Not much to say other than this is easily Cleveland’s best defensive lineup. Not only are Delly, Shump, LeBron, Thompson, and Mozgov all solid one-on-one defenders, but they also have great court awareness, allowing them to read when to help on defense and force passes to the perimeter, where Delly and Shump can force some turnovers that will lead to fast-break opportunities for LeBron and Thompson.
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3. Kyrie Irving – J.R. Smith – James Jones – LeBron James – Kevin Love
This lineup provides the Cavaliers with the best three-point shooting on the floor. All five players in Irving, Smith, Jones, James, and Love have the ability to shoot the lights out when it’s needed most. This lineup also provides the best chance for the Cavs players to create offense for themselves. Also James Jones isn’t a shot creator, the attention that the other four players attract are sure to give Jones some breathing room to knock down three-point shots.
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2. J.R. Smith – Iman Shumpert – LeBron James – Tristan Thompson – Timofey Mozgov
This lineup of Smith, Shumpert, James, Thompson, and Mozgov gives the Cavaliers distinct size over their opponents. Smith can be an excellent help-side defender and knock-down three point shooter while Shumpert proves the on-ball defense. Tristan Thompson is best suited playing the power forward position, which, lined up next to center Timofey Mozgov, puts him in an excellent position to make moves off the dribble and defend opposing power forwards. Of course with LeBron, nothing’s changed as he can simply do it all.
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1. Kyrie Irving – J.R. Smith – Iman Shumpert – LeBron James – Tristan Thompson
Probably the most athletic lineup the Cavs could use this season would be this one. With Irving and Smith at the guards, Cleveland would keep shooting on the floor. Shumpert and James would be the lineup’s top defenders both able to guard wing players and James able to defend the 4. Tristan Thompson makes for a good offensive play while providing solid defense on the other end as well. Cleveland could use this small lineup to run the floor and stay active in the passing lanes for steals.