NBA rumors are stating that the Cleveland Cavaliers could be on the verge of introducing a new offensive scheme to counter Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. According to ESPN, the team acquired Channing Frye in a trade with the Orlando Magic earlier today. Even though he is six-foot, 11-inch and 250 pounds, Frye is an excellent outside shooter who can help open up the floor for LeBron James.
Even with a dozen years of service to the franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers had to let Anderson Varejao go. He simply was no longer necessary. The NBA is switching to smaller lineups, so prototype centers aren’t nearly as valuable as they used to be. Kevin Love obviously has to get his minutes every night, and Tristan Thompson is too good to keep on the bench, so Varejao was deemed to be an overpaid, and unnecessary, backup big man, especially with the underachieving Timofey Mozgov on the bench as well.
In comes Channing Frye and his tremendous outside shooting. The Arizona native is shooting close to 40 percent from beyond the three point line. His ability to stretch the floor was a major reason why the Orlando Magic had trouble discarding him, but the team wasn’t anywhere close to competing for an NBA Championship and his salary was a bit more than they wanted to pay by a rebuilding team.
When Tyronn Lue took over for David Blatt as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he immediately installed a much more up-tempo offensive scheme. Since he wasn’t the one that built the roster, Lue had to make due with what he had. By asking Cavaliers general manager David Griffin to find him a stretch forward, Lue can now implement a lot of the other changes that he had in mind when he wanted to transform the team into a more athletic unit.
One idea floating around is to have Channing Frye and Kevin Love be on the opposite ends of the court, pulling bigger defenders away from the paint. While that’s going on, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James can run a pick and roll. If the defenders switch, then James can post up the smaller guard or Irving can drive past the bigger forward. Frye and Love should see plenty of open shots because defenses will have no choice but to sag down to help their over-matched teammates out.
Another idea that the Cleveland Cavaliers can try is doing a pick and pop with LeBron James and Kevin Love, while having Channing Frye pulling his defender away from the paint. James can easily drive past centers in the NBA. Plus, since James, Frye and Love can all shoot the ball from beyond the three point line, they can find an open shot by just swinging the ball around the perimeter after the pick and pop has been executed.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers really wanted to get creative, then they can have Channing Frye and Kevin Love doing a double screen for LeBron James. Frye and Love would then both pop out to the three point line, giving James multiple options. He can either attack one of the bigger defenders that switched over to him, or he can flick it to Frye or Love for an open shot. Kyrie Irving would wait on the weak side to provide an alternative option in case that play that doesn’t work out.
The arrival of Channing Frye also gives a new rotation plan for Tyronn Lue. Tristan Thompson starts at the center position. Lue can pull Thompson off the court first, which enables him to be the first starter back off the bench. It also allows Thompson a chance to dominate backup big men like he used to do before Timofey Mozgov lost his starting job.
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