The Cleveland Cavaliers are getting ready to use Dwyane Wade at point guard. Maybe.
After the off-guard’s first practice wearing wine and gold, head coach Tyronn Lue said he gave him run at the 1 spot, per ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin:
Tyronn Lue said Dwyane Wade played backup point guard in his first practice with the Cavs on Wednesday … https://t.co/rgJuIXYuX1
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) September 28, 2017
Note that this experiment came with the second unit, which could mean anything or be telltale of absolutely nothing.
Is Wade going to come off the bench, behind Derrick Rose, until Isaiah Thomas returns to the rotation? This scenario feels sort of unlikely. If he signed with the Cavaliers to run the second unit without starting, he might as well have given harder looks at the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors or even Oklahoma City Thunder.
Will Lue simply just move Wade into the starting point guard role if he fares well with the second unit during practices? This feels like it’d be the smartest play. Rose isn’t a good basketball player anymore, and Wade’s built-in chemistry with LeBron James mitigates the absence of a three-point shot. Rose doesn’t have that longstanding synergy, which makes the pairing with James a little wonky.
Might Lue start Wade at the 2-guard, beside Rose and LeBron, while benching J.R. Smith and then staggering minutes so Wade gets to soak up point guard duty with second-stringers? Possibly, but this doesn’t profile as ideal. Playing Rose and Wade will torpedo the Cavaliers’ spacing, particularly if LeBron goes through one of those years in which he doesn’t fire up too many three-balls.
Starting Wade at point remains the most sensible course of action. The Cavaliers will have to figure out what to do once Thomas is healthy, but they’ll have to do that even if Wade is at the 2. They might as well let James and Wade run together as starters, and then decide whether Thomas should spend a half-season coming off the bench, start at point guard while Wade displaces Smith at the 2 or start at point guard while relegating Wade to the second unit.
Basically, the Cavaliers have some interesting, albeit wildly tough, decisions to make before opening night, and also in the months that follow.