INDEPENDENCE — While the approach to the position may be changing, how to handle the Cavaliers’ big men will not be a big dilemma.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said Saturday that Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. will share the starting center job. Thompson will get the call against bigger, more physical foes, and Nance will be in the lineup against smaller opponents.
"Last year it kind of wore Larry down trying to guard those big guys the whole game," Lue said after practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts. "That’s a lot to ask for him to guard Dwight [Howard] and [Andre] Drummond and all those big guys, it’s not fair to him, DeAndre Jordan ... I talked to those guys before camp started and kind of told them what the situation was. Larry loved it."
Kevin Love will be back where’s he’s comfortable at power forward, but will factor into Lue’s defensive game plan at center. Lue said Love will have to do some switching, a new wrinkle.
"He’s been doing a great job," Lue said of Love switching. "It never hurts to have somebody do something different.
"When Tristan’s starting, that means there’s a dominant 5, a physical 5, so Kevin wouldn’t guard those guys, Tristan would. When we start Larry at the 5, we can put Kevin on those centers and Larry can guard the 4s and we can switch it. We’ve got a couple different things we want to look at."
Love started 59 games last season, 48 at center. Although that won’t be the case this season, Love could find himself at the 5 in crunch time.
"At the end of games when we need scoring and spacing, we could play Kevin at the 5 some," Lue said. "It just all depends on how the flow of the game goes."
Lue said Ante Zizic, 21, may also be in the mix as the Cavs try to capitalize on their inside game.
"The movement is good, he understands what we’re looking for, what we’re trying to do," Lue said of Zizic. "When teams put smaller guys on Tristan and Larry and Big Z, when they’re switching we want to punish ‘em. We want to throw the ball into the post. We don’t want to shoot jump hooks and fades — we want to get into the paint and get to the basket. When they put smaller guys on our guys this year, we have to be able to take advantage of it."