Cleveland Cavaliers Mean Business As Their Star-Studded Bench Reportedly To Be The “Deepest in Team History”
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After a roller-coaster week for Andrew Bogut, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally made the signing of the Australian big man official to add ceiling to their front court. With the confirmation from Cleveland.com, the defending champions completed their roster and even naming it as the deepest bench in franchise history.
The Ohio-based squad have won their first ever NBA championship with the help of their hometown hero LeBron James after seven grueling games against the then defending champions Golden State Warriors. Adding more firepower to their already talent-laden team is an indication that the team is seriously to bring more trophies home.
As to claims that this is the team with the most depth in 47 years and whether the declaration is debatable or not, it would be just right to see if the label gives justice to that we are seeing (and what to expect) from them.
With Bogut’s addition, that raises the number of the team’s top pick overall to 3 players. The 7-foot Bogut was Milwaukee Bucks’ top pick in 2005. Two years before, the high-school sensation form Akron turned pro as they picked LeBron at number one. They bolstered their backcourt, who mostly relied on Mo Williams, by picking Kyrie Irving from Duke University in 2011.
Let us also not forget Canadian Anthony Bennett in 2013 but is now playing at Turkey with Fenerbache Istanbul with other former lottery picks Ekpe Udoh and Jan Vesely.
It is also noticeable that 9 of 11 first round picks were lottery picks by their respective teams. Richard Jefferson was selected 13th overall in the 2001 draft by Houston but was shipped to New Jersey Nets where he spent his first 7 seasons. Deron Williams was picked at the same draft class as Bogut by Utah Jazz as their 3rd overall selection. Channing Frye was a sweet-shooting big man picked by New York 8th overall in 2005. Memphis sent Kevin Love to Minnesota after selecting the UCLA Bruin at number 5 in 2008. Derrick Williams was picked by the Timberwolves after Irving in 2011 before the Cavs picked Tristan Thompson at the 4th spot.
Iman Shumpert and JR Smith are the only other first rounders in the roster, with the former being picked by the Knicks in 2011 and the latter was selected 18th by the erstwhile New Orleans Hornets.
Kyle Korver, DeAndre Liggins, James Jones and Kay Felder are all picked at the final quarter of the draft. Korver was New Jersey’s 51st pick and was shipped to the 76ers, Jones as Indiana’s 49th selection in 2003, Liggins picked 53rd by Orlando and Felder at 54th spot just last year.
On the same article on Cleveland.com, it was described that Bogut could be the 11th or 12th player in Tyronn Lue’s rotation. It is no secret that the shuffling might just change since Love is still sidelined with an injury and the talent that the Aussie center is more than just a third-string center. He is the leading rebounder of the team during his stay with Dallas with 8.3 per game in average 22.4 minutes according to ESPN stats.
Ranked as top seed in the Eastern Conference, the second-seed Boston Celtics’s depth is also competitive with coach Brad Stevens is doing a good job in distributing minutes to his team. ESPN stats show that Isaiah Thomas’ 34.3 minutes is the most in his team and Al Horford and Kelly Olynyk perfectly covering for each other.
Western Conference’s second seed San Antonio Spurs‘ depth is an interesting one with the system that Gregg Popovich is running. With the team’s crisp passing and finding the open man for the best shot available, this helps their players a lot in conserving energy, especially with their aging roster. Manu Ginobili is 39, Pau Gasol is 36, Tony Parker and Joel Anthony is 34. The youth of the team is a factor that the Spurs is using to their advantage with the help of Danny Green and the emergence of Jonathon Simmons.
What’s admirable with the Spurs is that they embrace the role that is being given to them. Two seasons ago, Tim Duncan willingly accepted a lower pay to make his team pursue LaMarcus Aldridge according to reports from SB Nation. Everybody kept the ball movement smooth until the best shot comes available and that has been the bread and butter of the Spurs. They are now assured of a playoff spot after GSW clinched the first ticket to the quarters as we previously reported.
Golden State Warriors is an offense-oriented team with the guards carrying the scoring even before the arrival of Kevin Durant. The rotation of coach Steve Kerr shows that the small forward position and the point guard position is the only position that has the most exposure and experience. The point production is also dominated by the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, who is the team’s top scorer with 25.3 per game. The offense is almost identical with the Cavaliers but even the third-stringers can be a starter to any team with the talent that they possess and they have shown through their careers.
On paper, the Cavs can be the most formidable team at this juncture but the familiarity with Lue’s system is what can slightly disrupt the coherent bond of the team. The acceptance of roles, specially the new players who achieved their star status to blend with the Cavs brand of basketball. With the talent and the desire to win a title even it if means giving way for others, the Cavaliers, whether they are the defending champs or not, will always be on top of every team’s agenda.
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