Cavaliers catering offense to specialist skill-sets

Those brought in to accentuate LeBron now being accentuated

Alex Hooper
October 01, 2018 - 3:16 pm
Jan 28, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Eric Moreland (24) drives to the basket between Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver (26) and forward Channing Frye (8) during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena.

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Independence, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Gone are the days of the Cleveland Cavaliers shaping their game plan to cater to one player. Now are the days of the Cavaliers tailoring their game plan to accentuate their entire roster.

Those who remain in Cleveland following the desperation-fueled revamp to retain LeBron James, and his ensuing departure, were not brought in for their ability to star on a rotation. In 2018-19, the Wine and Gold will be the sum of those parts still hanging around.

Head Coach Tyronn Lue’s new offense will resemble that of his past second-teams, according to one of the key members of the 2016 bench crew, Channing Frye.

Essentially, that side of the ball has become mostly free of ball-stopping isolations with the exiles of James and Kyrie Irving. Without a certified focal point behind Kevin Love, Lue will have to do what capitalizes on the skillsets of his band of role players.

That will take an acute knowledge of said skillsets from Lue, and his players.

“I like it a lot. I think it’s progressive for us. I think it’s stuff we’ve been working on,” Frye said. “You’ve got to know your personnel, and I think with this personnel, to be honest, we have maybe one or two guys that are top-of-the-mill one-on-one guys. The rest of us are just kind of figuring our way out and work a thousand times better with movement.”

In the meantime, Lue will continue to try and gear his rotation towards lineups that work best with each other, but those looks will take a bit to jell. In the early going, those shifts are precluding the Cavs from executing on the offensive end through six practices, entering their pre-season opener against the Boston Celtics.

Against the Celtics, Lue will start a lineup of George Hill, Cedi Osman, Rodney Hood, Love, and Tristan Thompson. Sexton and Jordan Clarkson are expected to be the first players off the bench.

“We’re behind. We’re behind offensively,” Lue said. “With new guys like Collin, Isaiah Taylor, (Sam) Dekker, (David) Nwaba and those guys; that’s the hard thing about training camp, not going too fast, not going too slow. We are behind offensively, but right now, just trying to lay the foundation.”

With the group of former role players now being expected to fill out the bulk of the minutes across the roster, the specialists playing together will often times play out of a traditional position. Frye noted himself as one of those players.

The 35-year-old sees this as a good thing for the organization going forward.

“This is where the NBA is going,” he said. “When you have a team of positionless players, I’m a center who shoots threes, you have a big guy who plays guard, you have a three man who is a two man – there’s no positions, so for us, we’re just playing basketball in all areas and all angles of the game, and I think it’s where the good teams are going.”