Weeks before the 2018-19 NBA season officially starts, Coach Tyronn Lue revealed his major plan for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lue said that only Kevin Love is assured for a spot in the starting lineup, while the others will be needing to compete against each other.
For the role as the Cavaliers starting center next season, Coach Tyronn Lue explained that it will be a position battle between Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson. Lue reportedly plans to use Thompson as his starting center when the Cavaliers compete against NBA teams with dominant big men like Joel Embiid, Dwight Howard, Andre Drummond, and Robin Lopez, while Nance Jr. will start against NBA teams with smaller centers.
According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland Plain Dealer, Larry Nance Jr. doesn’t seem to have any problem with Lue’s strategy. Nance JR. said that he loves a “good battle” and added that dividing the starting center role between him and Thompson is a “great idea.”
“At the same time, it’s one of those things where having a position battle can sometimes pull you apart a little bit and me and Tristan, since I got here he’s been awesome for me and I think I’ve been good for him. Just bouncing ideas off each other and like, ‘Hey I see what’s going on. Just tough through it.’ Having him start one night and I start the next, not having a definitive, ‘You’re a bench guy and you’re a starter,’ I think is going to be great for our team chemistry and I think we’re both deserving of the position.”
Last season, the Cavaliers found success when they tried pairing Larry Nance Jr. with Kevin Love in their frontcourt. However, Coach Tyronn Lue noticed that Nance Jr. wore down when he went up against bruising big men for the duration of the game so he decided to create a strategy that will benefit him and the Cavaliers. This offseason, Lue reportedly had a discussion with Nance Jr. and Thompson about his plan, and both big men seem to agree with the idea.
However, despite Lue’s plan, Larry Nance Jr. still focused on improving his physique this summer. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer noted, Nance Jr. has added 10 pounds in his body weight. The 25-year-old center/power forward reportedly wanted to get bigger and stronger to prepare himself for a potential matchup against other dominant big men in the league.
Coach Tyronn Lue and the Cavaliers will be having the opportunity to test their experiment on Tuesday night in their first preseason game against the Boston Celtics.