The Cleveland Cavaliers have made some moves this off-season. Alright the understatement is out of the way.
The Cavs have added the best player in the league, are on the verge of acquiring the best shooting big man, extended the best young point guard, have added wing shooters Mike Miller and James Jones and are likely to sign Ray Allen and Shawn Marion. Talk about huge additions. That will be 7 players, 6 of whom have made huge impacts in the league.
Yesterday we took a look at the Best Shooting Team the Cavs can put on the floor. That team would be the one the Cavs would likely put on the floor near the end of quarters, halves or games to make sure they are in the best situation to get a basket. Today we look at the team they would put on the other end of the floor, as they switch offense to defense, to get that big stop at the end of the game. This is the squad that will put “The Q on Lock”:
Point Guard - Matthew Dellavedova
Delly and Irving are the only point guards of note on the Cavs roster. Dion Waiters can fill in this role if a more athletic, strong defender is needed. Delly is by far the better defender over Irving. He is tenacious. Opponents became annoyed and angry with him throughout all of last year. A great sign of a defenders’ ability. While Delly lacks great quickness, his basketball IQ, relentlessness and willingness to put his body on the line overcomes his limitations. Delly has perfected using his body to keep players from getting passed him. He recovers nicely when a player does.
Shooting Guard - LeBron James
We could put James anywhere on this list. He has guarded Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo and many other point guards, as well as opponents best wing players, in late game situations. With Delly able to chase most point guards, James can be deployed on the opponents shooting guard or small forward to smother their attempts to get to the lane or to hit a jumper. James basketball understanding, length and quickness allows him to play the passing lanes when playing off the ball.
Small Forward - Shawn Marion
While Marion could decide to go elsewhere a chance at a ring with the Cavs should trump more money/bigger role from the Indiana Pacers. Marion is still able to lock down perimeter players while also being able to bang in the post with power forwards. Marion and James on the floor at the same time will give the Cavs length and defensive skill unmatched in the league at those two positions. Marion can provide weakside help defense and plays passing lanes well also. He and James can switch everything and cover a ton of space.
Power Forward - Tristan Thompson
Thompson will be in a unique position following the acquisition of Kevin Love. A starter since his rookie season he will now be coming off the bench. Yet Thompson’s energy, all out hustle and athleticism will allow him to be a key part of the Cavs defense and rebounding. Thompson has shown the ability to cover 3 spots on defense. His shot blocking hasn’t been at a high level in the NBA but he showed prowess in college. Thompson will also help rebound on defense, the final and important piece of defending is getting the ball back. Thompson can help and recover on pick and rolls and be a good helpside defender. His activity combined with James and Marion means all shots will be contested.
Center - Anderson Varejao
Speaking of rebounds and energy, that defines Varejao. Andy is a quality grounded defender. His rim protection is limited but he impacts on defense with quick hands, good positioning and great feet. He keeps players in front of him, has developed his strength to bang down low and gobbles up rebounds. With Wild Thing down low the Cavs won’t have to worry about an out of place defender. He covers ground quick enough to help on any James or Marion gambles in the passing lane.
Besides a player like Russell Westbrook taking Delly it is hard to believe a team would have an easy chance at a basket with this 5 on the floor. While a shot blocker would be a great addition to the team, rotating Varejao and Thompson on the defensive team at the 4, James and Marion can help make up for some of that from the weakside. Thompson can rediscover some shot blocking ability as he is still very young. Running this 5 out would make even the most efficient offense struggle to score.
On the offensive end this team would be very dependent on James to make things happen but Marion’s ugly looking shot is surprisingly effective and Delly’s shot improved greatly as the season went on. Andy’s ability to hit elbow jumpers would open space for Thompson down low. This unit would rarely be seen together but when they are expect few points for the opponents and a lot of fast break points off steals.
What do you think of the Cavaliers Best Defensive Team’s ability to have “The Q on Lock”?