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Cavs’ Head Coach, David Blatt, has been rapidly learning in his first year coaching in the NBA all while channeling the pressure of coaching a team that boasts the best player on the planet, LeBron James, and 2 other top players in their respective positions, namely Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Although the expectations create a stalking hot seat behind David Blatt, having 3 of the best players in the NBA also makes his job easier due to the versatility that these superstars bring to the table. LBJ can play and guard all positions 1-5, and is a great facilitator and finisher. Irving is a crazy effective player off the pick and roll, and can score whether he is on the ball or off the ball. Love is a straight beast on the boards, averaging over 12 rebounds per game last season, and can knock down any shot from anywhere.

General Manager David Griffin and Blatt built a solid team around this intimidating triad by signing shooters like James Jones, Mike Miller, Joe Harris, and A.J. Price, while bringing in complementary bigs such as Brendan Haywood and Alex Kirk, and retaining key clogs Matthew Dellavedova, Tristan Thompson, and Anderson Varejao.

A big question during the preseason games concerned the chemistry of the team, and how efficiently the big three would mesh together. Although the big 3 only played 2 pre-season games together, they played efficiently, as if they had been playing together for months. Unfortunately, Cleveland’s big three won’t be able to solely carry the Cavs to the Larry O’Brien Trophy; the rotations David Blatt make will be critical in assisting his starters with strong bench support.

With the Cleveland Cavalier’s season opener against the New York Knicks scheduled for tomorrow night at the Q, lets count down the top 5 rotations that we could see Coach Blatt using throughout the season. Click to the next page to begin the countdown!

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5. Second Unit

PG – Matthew Dellavedova
SG – Joe Harris
SF – Shawn Marion
PF – Tristan Thompson
C – Alex Kirk

This lineup will be used more during the beginning part of the season while Blatt is experimenting, but it cannot be overlooked. Harris and Kirk are unproven rookies, but they were both given significant playing time during the preseason. Joe Harris will likely be the main scoring option in this lineup, along with Thompson in the paint. This will allow both of them to unleash their offensive talents, which should overwhelm secondary defenses or surprise and wear down starting defenses. Harris will space the floor well and Kirk will be a large presence in the paint. Add in the veteran leadership and defense of Shawn Marion, the offensive versatility of Tristan Thompson, and the ball movement of Delly, this may be the sleeper squad that performs well without any of the team’s starters. If the starters are having an off night, or they just need relief when the season gets grungy, look for these players to get significant playing time.

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4. Size

PG – Dion Waiters
SG – Mike Miller
SF – LeBron James
PF – Andrson Varejao
C – Brendan Haywood

Any front-court consisting of the 6 foot-11 Varejao at the 4 is a large lineup, especially with 7-foot tall Brendan Haywood playing alongside him at center. Add in 6’9” LeBron, 6’6” Dion Waiters, and 6’8” Mike Miller in the backcourt, and these 5 present the “largest” lineup in the Cavs lineup arsenal. Waiters stated during the preseason that he wanted to have the ball in his hands, and this lineup may be one of the few times when he will. He will be given the chance to show how effective he can be leading a squad on the court, and the amount of time that these guys get will strongly depend on the production that results from his leadership. Coach Blatt may resort to this lineup when playing rival teams such as the Indiana Pacers, who has true big man Roy Hibbert at Center. Back when LeBron was in Miami, the Heat used a combination of Greg Oden and Chris Bosh to guard Roy Hibbert, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Cavs simulated that with Brendan Haywood and Anderson Varejao.

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3. LeBron James with 3-point shooters

PG – Joe Harris
SG – Mike Miller
SF – James Jones
PF – LeBron James
C – Kevin Love

LeBron will definitely want to have the ball in his hands at different points in the game, and this seems to be the most likely lineup Blatt will use with LeBron in those moments. Harris, Miller, and Jones will all be dangerous wing weapons. Love cannot be forgotten, as he averaged over six three point attempts per game last season. LeBron will have his choice of shooters to pass to. This lineup is a crazy floor spacing scoring option, and it will truly stretch defenses. An issue that may arise on the other side of the court, as none of the shooters surrounding LeBron are prominent defenders. Additionally, on any night, if the threes aren’t falling, this lineup will be vulnerable. Therefore, I only see Blatt using this lineup in short spurts, to change things up a bit and throw off defenses.

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2. Defensive Unit

PG – Matthew Dellavedova
SG – Kyrie Irving
SF – Shawn Marion
PF – LeBron James
C – Anderson Varejao/Tristan Thompson (Depending on matchup)

The combo guards of Dellavedova and Irving will be a nightmare matchup for any opponents due to their quickness and awareness. In addition, LeBron has played many minutes at the power forward spot with success, so he will definitely be able to step up the pressure. Also, a power forward guarding LeBron is a definite mis-match, which will pad up LeBron’s box score. Anderson Varejao will, as always, be the power source with his intangible energy and effort. Perhaps Tristan Thompson can flourish in certain matchups when he’s surrounded by the right players. He also presents a better defensive option than Kevin Love, although that may change as the season goes on and KLove becomes more comfortable with Blatt’s defensive schemes. Playing Dellavedova also gives Kyrie some time off the ball, which he will take advantage of, as he shot over 40% last season from three point range when off the ball. While this lineup is very appealing, there is one group of players that will be even more impactful.

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1. Small Ball

PG – Kyrie Irving
SG – Dion Waiters
SF – Mike Miller
PF – LeBron James
C – Kevin Love

This is probably the Cavaliers most explosive lineup. A combination of Waiters, Irving, Love, James, and a wing player like Mike Miller will create a very unique group of floor spacing defensive scorers. Yes, it will be that good. All five of these guys can score in the paint, or from deep. A concern from this group is Mike Miller and Kevin Love’s defensive abilities, which should not be overlooked. After 3 injury-prone years in Miami, Miller re-discovered himself in Memphis, shooting lights out while also playing very consistent defense. That being said, Mike Miller is already 36, so look for Blatt to substitute Joe Harris in for Miller as the season progresses, especially since Harris is already a great 3 and D player as a rookie. The main issue with this lineup is a blessing in disguise, where the lack of a true big to clog the paint actually creates more open lanes to the rim for Waiters, Irving, and James. KLove’s dangerous shooting will draw the opposing center out to the three point line, leaving the paint even more exploited. If the opposing big decides to crash the paint to defend, the driving player can kick the ball to KLove in the corner for a easy three pointer. This lineup is the pinnacle of the Cavalier’s offseason additions.