The Cleveland Cavaliers face off with the Milwaukee Bucks tonight in pre-season action. They could be without both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, due to rest and injury respectively. (This writer selfishly hopes that is the case as I am covering the game at Xavier and would love to see James in action tomorrow in Cincinnati.) Not having their two starsï¿½on the court would be a huge issue during the regular season and playoffs, now not so much.
Yet the Cavs have a unique setup to their team, one that could harken back to the old Two Quarterback System in college football. It is that Two QB System that could be the key to the success, or failure, of the team.
Ohio State Buckeyes fans recall the 1996-97 season when their team deployed two QBs regularly. Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine each played a big role in the Buckeyes one loss, Rose Bowl Championship season. Jackson was the dual threat QB that threatened with his legs a bit more than his arm. Germaine on the other hand was a pocket passer who made plays strictly with his arm.
The Cavs have Irving and James as their QBs. Each is supremely talented but with some noticeable differences in their games. How they mesh on the court, taking turns sometimes playing quarterback, could define the next season for the team.
James has stated that this is Irving’s team to run as the point guard but his history shows that he can play that role very well. Having two guys who can run the show creates problems for the opposing team but also for the Cavaliers.
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With Irving and James the Cavs will be able to run plays in a way to keep defenses on their toes. They won’t know what to expect or who to expect to get the offense going. If they load up on one side of the ball and quick swing gets the ball in the hands of the other QB. Each has a different rhythm with the ball as well, creating stress on the defense getting prepared to defend.
Yet for the Cavs, much like a Two QB System in football, there are problems that can come along. Both will have to learn to be comfortable off the ball, unlike in football where the QBs switch on and off the field. They, and their teammates, will have to figure out timing on cuts, where and when to expect the ball and when to crash the boards instead of wait for a pass. Those things will all take time together on the court. Both players missing games causes some concerns.
Like the Jackson/Germaine comparison, Irving and James have different skill sets. While both great slashers, Irving is more finesse while James is more physically overpowering. Irving is a more proficient shooter, especially from the three-point line, while James has a post up game that can do a ton of damage. The great news is that these two games can mesh on the floor together.
It will be fun to watch the Cavs unleash a staple of college days gone by on the NBA this year. With Irving and James they are prepared to do it with much success.
What do you think of the Two Quarterback System analogy?