Now that LeBron James is back in the fold with the Cleveland Cavaliers, first-year head coach David Blatt has plenty of decisions to make in regard to his starting five. James has traditionally been a small forward but with the way the game is trending, he may be better suited as a power forward in order to let Andrew Wiggins, Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving all hit the floor with James.
Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders believes the Cavaliers should play James at power forward.
If they are smart, they will run LeBron at the 4 to start, with Kyrie/Waiters/Wiggins/LeBron/Varejao. But the only other center on the roster is Brendan Haywood, who missed all of last year with a foot injury and may not even play for all we know. I don’t expect any kind of difference-maker at the 5 to show up for the minimum, so that is one defensively challenged roster, especially when they go to the bench. Varejao probably can’t play more than 25 mins/game in the regular season.
Of course, if the Cavaliers wind up dealing Wiggins and Bennett to the Minnesota Timberwolves for power forward Kevin Love, one of the game’s best four-men, the point is moot.
James averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 56.7% from the field, 37.9% from three and 75.0% from the charity stripe last season. In the playoffs, he went for 27.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 56.5% from the floor, 40.7% from beyond the arc and 80.6% from the free throw line. In his career, he’s gone for 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 49.7% from the field, 34.1% from beyond the arc and 74.7% from the charity stripe.
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