With the start of the 2017-18 NBA campaign a little more than a week away, the Cleveland Cavaliers' starting lineup is finally rounding into shape.
The starting five will include one new face, for now, from the Cavaliers' blockbuster deal with the Boston Celtics this summer. At 6-foot-6, Jae Crowder at the four, or power forward, in the Cavs' small lineup while LeBron James will hold down the other forward spot. Meanwhile, Kevin Love will move to center. Love may be undersized for the position, but he will be able to stretch the floor on offense.
As the Cavaliers await Isaiah Thomas's return from a hip injury, the team will look to Derrick Rose to hold down the fort. Then there's the shooting guard spot. For nearly the entire offseason, it appeared that J.R. Smith would be the one assuming the position. But then, the Cavs signed Dwyane Wade.
As Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue weighed out his options, it seemed as though he would ultimately choose Wade. On Monday, Lue made it official, declaring Wade as the season opener starter, but left the door open for a possible change down the road.
"He was fine," Lue said of Smith's response to the move. "It's tough, you've been in position where you went to three straight Finals and you've been the starting 2-guard. But like I said it's about sacrifice if you want to win. JR was great about it. Just knows he has to have a different role right now so we'll see how it works."
The decision to put Wade in the starting lineup limits the Cavaliers to just two bonafide perimeter shooters in Crowder and Love to start the game. However, with Smith, Channing Frye, and Kyle Korver coming off the bench, Lue could greatly stagger Wade's minutes to create more perimeter opportunities throughout the course of a contest.