Cavs' Lue: Thompson still starting center, but Love's role will increase
Head coach Tyronn Lue, however, isn't ready (yet) to make such a change.
"Right now we're just trying to get all of our pieces together and right now Tristan is our starter," Lue told Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon. "I'm just thinking we're going to run a lot more stuff through Kevin, more at the elbows (2.8 elbow touches in 2016-17 compared to Thompson's three), like we've done the last year and a half. Just trying to figure out with our new pieces and our new players and just see what works best for us."
The idea was originally brought up by ESPN's Zach Lowe, who suggested that playing Love at center could help exploit opposing bigs who aren't equipped to step out and defend the perimeter against shooters like the four-time All-Star. Thompson isn't much of a threat to put the ball in the hoop anyway, and is not as adept at passing in and out of the paint area.
Love immediately becomes Cleveland's No. 2 option on offense with Kyrie Irving now in Boston and Isaiah Thomas sidelined with a bad hip. Lue will look to him even more so out of necessity, and because it will ultimately benefit a Cavaliers team that outscored opponents by 14.5 points per 100 possessions when Love and LeBron James were on the floor together last season.
Crowder, on the other hand, could still garner a fair chunk of minutes off the bench, especially in crunch time as a 6-foot-6 wing and elite defender who can guard multiple positions. He averaged 13.9 points and shot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range in what wound up being his final year in Beantown, so while his best value comes as an on-ball defender, he's certainly no slouch on offense either.
"Got a lot of different combinations we can throw out on the floor," Lue added. "So with Bron and Crowder playing the three and the four, that doesn't necessarily mean that Kevin will be at the five. It can be Tristan, it can be Channing (Frye)."