While the majority of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting lineup for the 2022-23 NBA season seems set, the one major question mark remaining has to do with the starting small forward position.
At the moment, the two prime candidates for that role appear to be Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert. Though Okoro is the better defender, LeVert is a far more polished player and offensive weapon.
At the moment, LeVert may be the frontrunner, and Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff may have tipped his hand by discussing how he believes LeVert and newly acquired star Donovan Mitchell can play together.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Bickerstaff told The Athletic. “They’re both two dynamic players. Both of them not only can create for themselves, but they can create for other people. Both of them will put a ton of pressure on defenses. They can play as a secondary option, so there’s no doubt about it they can play together.”
With all that in mind, it does not seem that Okoro is going to give up the starting spot without a fight. The Auburn University product has reportedly been working “tirelessly” this summer to improve his offensive game.
If he can transform into a consistent 3-point shooter, he could arguably become the best fit at the position for the Cavs.
If Okoro were to take the starting spot, LeVert would certainly become the offensive focal point for the Cavs’ second unit.
Alternatively, it was also recently discussed by a team insider that the Cavs could end up moving LeVert in a trade package to land an established small forward.
Whatever happens, there is no doubt that the Cavs will land on whatever option they feel gives the team the best shot at success in the regular season and beyond. Following the Mitchell trade, expectations are high in Cleveland.
There is no doubt that there will be a lot of pressure on whoever takes on the starting spot to not to be the weak link in the starting lineup. It should be an exciting battle to keep an eye on as the season fast approaches.