The Cleveland Cavaliers will be rolling out a new starting lineup when the regular season starts.
Last season, Cleveland’s most common starting lineup featured Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Lauri Markkanen, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. But Markkanen is gone after he was part of the trade that brought Donovan Mitchell to the Cavs.
While Mitchell will surely start at shooting guard for the Cavs, it is still unclear if Okoro will start at small forward in place of Markkanen. Another question that is yet to be answered is if the coaching staff plans to recreate a lineup with three towering frontcourt players.
According to Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com, an NBA source suggested that the team can put Mobley at the 3 at times. That would seemingly open the door for another jumbo lineup in those situations.
“One NBA source suggested there are times when the Cavs can play Mobley at small forward,” wrote Pluto. “‘He’s athletic enough to do it,’ said the source. The Cavs could put Kevin Love at power forward and Jarrett Allen at center – recreating the ‘Big Three Lineup’ the Cavs had with Mobley, Allen and Markkanen last season. This Big Three with Love could not play as much as the Markkanen Big Three, but there are times where the Cavs can employ that combination.”
In the 2021-22 campaign, the trio of Markkanen, Mobley and Allen was one of the most productive 3-man combinations for the Cavs. Those three players were on the floor for more than 621 minutes together and had a point differential per 100 possessions of plus-8.3.
The idea of Mobley, Love and Allen sharing the floor is very intriguing, and it will be interesting to see if the suggestion comes to fruition this season.
If it were to happen, it seems like Mobley’s skill set would still make him effective at the small forward position. A video of him showing off his ball handling and shot creation skills made the rounds recently.
In addition, Love is known for his ability to do damage from the perimeter. Last season, he averaged 2.5 made 3-pointers per game on a 39.2 shooting clip from beyond the arc. He would be key to spacing if he were to share the floor with Mobley and Allen.
There are certainly exciting times ahead for Cleveland. The team failed to make the playoffs last season after a disappointing couple of games in the play-in tournament. But the Cavs are looking like one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference this time around.
Aside from the expected development of the squad’s younger players, the presence of the playoff-tested Mitchell will hopefully provide the team a boost, especially on offense.