The ‘Backup’ Plan: Why the Cavaliers Need a Backup Point Guard
The Cleveland Cavaliers are rolling, and the defending champs look as if they’re poised to win it all again this year. Their Big 3 is hitting on all cylinders, and some of the other teams in the Eastern Conference that we originally thought might give the Cavs trouble are not living up to their expectations so far this year. Golden State is rolling as well, and the Kevin Durant experiment seems to be passing with flying colors so far. However, the Warriors lack of any interior presence and lackluster bench still bode well for the Cavs in future matchups. However, even if the team stays healthy, there’s still a huge crack in their armor that if not fixed, might spell the end to their championship run. The one glaring weakness that the Cavs still need to address is their backup point guard spot.
Now, I must admit, with or without a backup point guard, the Cavs should still easily get back to the Finals. The real issue is once they get there, the backup guard spot might cripple their chances of beating the Warriors or whoever else comes out of the Western Conference. Even though the Warriors bench is a shell of what they were a year ago, they still have backup point guard Shaun Livingston. If you remember, Livingston almost single handedly won Game 1 of the Finals last June for the Warriors, and if the Cavs don’t have a guard off the bench that can guard him, he’ll be an even bigger threat this time around.
Right now, the Cavs are taking a “backup by committee” approach, by letting shooting guard Iman Shumpert, rookie point guard Kay Felder, and second year guard Jordan McRae handle the backup guard spot. Neither Shump nor McRae have true point guard skills, as both are more two-guards by nature, and Felder is a rookie, who’s still adjusting to the NBA game. Felder is also only 5”9’ and is too small to run the position full-time.
It would behoove the Cavs to find a quality backup point guard to play behind starter Kyrie Irving. Even though Irving is young enough to shoulder the heavy minutes, he’s too vital of a piece to the team’s success to wear him down all year. The Cavs need a backup point guard who’s a veteran in the league that can run the offense with the rest of the second stringers. Felder can be a good player in a couple of years, but the Cavs are in win now mode, and don’t have time for him to learn on the fly. It’s the same reason why they never played Joe Harris (who’s been ballin’ for my Nets recently), when they drafted him a few years back. Felder is going to have to develop on his own time, while the Cavs get a veteran guard in the lineup.
If the Cavs want a cheap one year rental, guys like C.J. Watson, Andre Miller, and Jarrett Jack come to mind as guys that the Cavs could probably trade for without having to give too much up to get them. They don’t need an All-Star quality guard here, just a vet who can come off the bench, run the offense, and provide decent scoring when the Cavs want to spell Irving. The Cavs should look to get their backup sooner rather than later, to let whoever they get have plenty of time to learn the system and develop chemistry with the second unit. I believe the Cavs have what it takes to win it all again this year, but if they don’t come up with a ‘backup plan’ sooner rather than later, then they could be in world of trouble come the Finals.