The Cleveland cavaliers start their preseason against Milwaukee on Tuesday night, and there is a lot to be looking out for.
Andrew Bynum will not make an appearance, but there are a few Cleveland players to tune in on.
Foremost, Anthony Bennett, the number one overall, will finally make an appearance in a cavaliers uniform after missing summer league while healing his shoulder.
The question with Bennett is what position he’ll most comfortably fit into. His frame gives him power forward ability, but his athleticism fits in the small forward mold. With the cavaliers surplus of big men and lack of slashers, I see Bennett being best utilized at small forward. That isn’t to say he can’t play in the post. I believe the cavaliers can go small, implementing Bennett at the 4 and zeller/Thompson at the 5. With this lineup, the CAVS can run the floor efficiently while holding their own in the front court, especially offensively. Zeller and Bennett can both effectively run the pick and roll, while a Bennett/Thompson combo could would be long and athletic on both ends of the floor. I also wonder how Bennett’s jump shooting ability shows in the preseason.
Speaking of shooting ability, the next thing to look out for is tristan thompsons new form. Thompsons free throw shooting has been subpar his career, so an improvement there, which seems likely given his play with team canada, would help tremendously. And if Tristan can consistently hit a fifteen footer, then the cavaliers will be very dangerous.
The other rookies along with Bennett will also be interesting to view, especially Sergey Karasev, who, unlike Carrick Felix, did not play in summer league because he was playing in Russia, leading his home country to the World University Games championship after going for 20 points, 10 boards and seven assists in the semifinal against Team Canada. He then went on to earn MVP of the tournament, beating Australia in the finals; he averaged 19 points, 6 boards and 3 and half assists throughout the tournament.
We will also see if Carrick Felix continues to impress as he did in summer league play. His defending will hopefully inspire the rest of the Cavaliers backcourt, who are not known as the league’s greatest defenders. Mike Brown’s coaching ability will be something to look at with the backcourt and their improvement on the defensive end.