Who Should Be Kyrie Irving’s Main Back Up At The Point?
Just last week, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt said that Kyrie Irving would be returning to the court very soon, potentially on their two-game road trip. Irving did not suit up Friday night against the Orlando Magic and now reports are out that he will likely not be hitting the floor on Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics as well.
According to several reports, Irving is ready to play from a physical and mental standpoint, but the team is remaining cautious and do not want to rush him back. Irving has not seen in game action since Game 1 of the NBA Finals last June. However, with his return imminent, who should be his main backup once he’s back in the starting lineup?
The Cavaliers actually have a really good situation when it comes to their point guards. Matthew Dellavedova emerged as a very key contributor on the defensive side of the ball during last year’s NBA Finals and has proven this year that he can also contribute on the offensive end. This past offseason, the Cavaliers brought back former All-Star point guard, Mo Williams. While Dellavedova is brought in primarily for his defensive prowess, Williams is known for his scoring ability. Last season, he dropped a career-high 52 points in a game with the Timberwolves. Even after Irving makes his return to the starting lineup, the team will still have two really solid point guards on the bench.
But after Kyrie Irving, Williams should be the clear number two choice when Irving is subbed out. His scoring ability gives the Cavs such a huge boost and he has been one of their most consistent players so far this season. Additionally, Williams has played with the first team so you can throw him in with different lineups, first or second string.
Dellavedova also has played with the first team last season, so really both players can be interchangeable with different lineups. Dellavedova would be better suited as the team’s third string point guard, but he should still get consistent minutes because of his tenacity on the defensive end. Imagine the gritty Dellavedova, fresh off the bench harassing an already worn out guard from the opposing team, preparing him for the finishing blow to be delivered by Irving.
What could potentially cause problems for other teams is the fact that Cleveland has the ability to use two point guard sets in their lineups. Whether they use a combination of Irving and Williams, or Irving and Dellavedova, or Williams and Dellavedova, they can create havoc for opposing teams. Since both backup point guards are familiar with the first team and second team, there is a plethora of lineups that Blatt could use.
A big advantage of having two point guards on the floor is that they could have Williams or Dellavedova bring the ball up the court, while Irving plays off ball. NBA experts and fans alike know that Irving can do just as much damage without the ball in his hands just as much as he can when he is handling the ball. Something like this can help Irving save his energy for the latter stages of games, which would be important if a game is close going into the fourth quarter. With Irving and Williams on the floor together, that provides a scoring boost because both players have such a natural ability to score.
For the Cavaliers, their point guard situation is a very good problem to have, but for their opponents, it is a terrible dilemma.