The Cavs Accidentally Found Their Best Rotation

Last night (March 5th), the Cavs sent out a new starting lineup that looked like this:

PG: George Hill

SG: JR Smith

SF: Rodney Hood

PF: LeBron James

C: Larry Nance Jr.

This starting lineup differed from recent lineups as it replaced Cedi Osman with a more athletic Rodney Hood, and Larry Nance got the start over Tristan Thompson because of an injury.

Ever since the Cavs overhauled their roster at the trade deadline, I have been saying that they needed to switch up the starting lineup to improve the rotation, both the starters and the bench. Here are a few tweets of mine from February 22nd after I came to this conclusion:

My thought process was that the Cavs added Hood, Nance, Clarkson, and Hill for one reason, to get younger and more athletic guys around LeBron. Why not use them with him instead of asking LeBron to play along side Tristan Thompson, Cedi Osman, and JR Smith in an attempt to win the East for the 50th year in a row and beat the Warriors? It makes sense to put younger and more athletic guys around LeBron in the starting lineup so he can be a distributor.

With Hood and Nance in the startling lineup, things looked much different for the Cavs. The pace of play looked better, and Hood and Nance play visibly faster and more aggressively than Thompson and Osman. Nance finished the the game with 22 points and 15 rebounds with a +/- of +15, and Hood had a +/- of +19.

More importantly, the Cavs won and LeBron finished with 31/7/7 in an easy 29 minutes of ultra-efficient basketball.


When the whole roster is healthy come playoff time, this is the roster I would throw out there:

PG: George Hill

SG: Rodney Hood

SF: LeBron James

PF: Kevin Love

C: Larry Nance Jr.

Second Unit: Jordan Clarkson, JR Smith, Cedi Osman, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green, Tristan Thompson

With this lineup, the starters are extremely athletic and could, in theory, keep up with the Warriors (probably not, but we can all hope). In certain game situations, it may be a good idea to have Clarkson running the point with the starters instead of Hill, depending on matchups.

The normal second unit would have one of the best spark plugs in the NBA in Jordan Clarkson, with a solid supporting cast around him that can easily continue scoring the basketball when LeBron is off the court. If Clarkson and JR Smith are BOTH feeling it on the second unit, this team will be hard to beat because you know Korver will hit some big shots and Tristan Thompson will grind it out as always.

Finally, how Cleveland is it that the Cavs accidentally found their best rotation because someone got hurt?

NOTE: I will update this blog and repost it when there is a larger sample size of this starting lineup together, comparing it to older lineups with stats that actually matter, not just points, rebounds, and my own eye test (even though I trust my eyes). 

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