So with this lockout finally settled and teams getting started on their off season workouts, preseason and free agency all rolled into 2 weeks, this is my predicted starting lineup come opening day/Christmas day. An NBA roster has 12 spots open to active players, and 3 IR spots that can be filled by guys not suiting up for a game. So I will list the starters the 7 bench spots, in order from 6th man to 12th man, and the three IR spots. This is of course subject to change if the Cavaliers make any offseason signings or trades.
C: Anderson Varejao. Probably the easiest spot to fill on the Cavs roster this season. Andy is most likely going to be one of the biggest factors on the Cavs year this year, that wasn’t a first round pick in this years draft.
PF: Antawn Jamison. This one is a little bit tougher, true Jamison was just about the best Cav last year but with the team drafting Tristan Thompson out of Texas, this spot could be going to him. At least to start the season I say Jamison gets the nod, but don’t be surprised if he ends up at 6th man by the mid way point in the season.
SF: Omri Casspi. The Israeli shooter will likely win the starting spot away from contenders Alonzo Gee and Christian Eyenga. He is a true shooter and has big shoes to fill in Cleveland after the Cavs traded JJ Hickson for him.
SG: Anthony Parker. Just about the only true shooting guard on the team, I don’t see much competition for him for the starting role, but against smaller teams expect a smaller guard to possibly get the start, like Boobie Gibson or Ramon Session.
PG: Kyrie Irving. Kyrie Irving has tremendous upside and there is absolutely no chance he doesn’t start the season off in the starting role, expect big things from this young man, like a ROY trophy, or being the highest scoring rookie this season, or both.
6th Man: Tristan Thompson. F. This young man seems like a natural PF to me, but he will likely get at least some time at every spot 3-5, since the Center position is weak behind Varejao expect some smaller lineups, featuring the likes of Thompson and Jamison on the floor together.
7: Baron Davis. G. Towards the end of the year he started to look a little bit better if memory serves, of course I might be wrong since its been so damn long since I’ve seen the team play. Davis is going to have to take on a mentoring type role, even if that sounds like a bad idea, in my opinion his knowledge could really help Irving to develop.
8. Alonzo Gee. G-F. Gee is really going to be the primary backup at the shooting guard and small forward positions, based on his size and how impressive he was a year ago for the Cavs, expect some serious playing time for Gee.
9. Ramon Session. G. Sessions showed that he has some talent, but the team is essentially stacked with smaller guard, he will get time but it will be tough for Byron Scott to feed time to him, Gibson, Davis and Irving. But due to lack of size at the other end of the roster, and the likelyhood of smaller lineups and multi guard sets, he will get on the floor enough to have an impact.
10. Daniel “Boobie” Gibson. G. Due to Gibsons small stature it makes it difficult for him to come in at the 2 spot where he really belongs with his shooting ability, but I don’t see why that would stop him from logging minutes there as well as point guard. It won’t be much but he will get at least a few points per game.
11. Semih Erden. C. Erden is not exactly looking like an All-Star acquisition, but his 7 foot frame will provide a little bit of length on the inside. As the primary backup for Varejao he will log decent minutes but other than eating minutes and fouls I don’t see this guy having a huge impact on the stat sheet.
12. Christian Eyenga. F. Eyenga had a solid year last year for the Cavs, and at the bottom of the rotation he won’t see a ton of time, barring injuries and garbage minutes but this guy will have an opportunity to prove he belongs on the team, and personally I think he will prove to be a very good player.
IR 1: Ryan Hollins. C. Hollins played decently well last year given his limited minutes, and talent. But this year I see him being the emergency 3rd center for the team. Although there is a very real chance that he could end up being the primary backup at center.
IR 2: Samuel Samardo. F. Samardo played some last year and I think he did enough to warrant at least a chance to practice with the team and prove his worth filling in when he can.
IR 3: Manny Harris. G. This guy played very well last year when he was given a chance. I think he did enough to warrant being on the NBA roster, and if it weren’t for the team getting a better, younger PG through the draft, I would have had him on the 12 man roster. But he will try and shine when given the chance, and if injury strikes and he plays well he might even steal a roster spot.