Lue won't shuffle Cavs' lineup
The Cleveland Cavaliers are 4-10 since mid-December and whispers have begun regarding Tyronn Lue's job security. Neither of those things have prompted the head coach to consider lineup changes - not yet, anyway.
"I just didn't want to (alter the lineup)," Lue said Sunday, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "Looking at film and what we're trying to do, it's not the best thing right now."
Cleveland was blown out 148-124 by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday for the team's ninth loss in 12 games. For most of the season, Lue has gone with a starting lineup of Kevin Love at center and Jae Crowder at power forward. Crowder, however, has struggled on both sides of the ball, leading some to suggest Tristan Thompson should go back to the five and Love should slide back to the four.
J.R. Smith has also been guilty of subpar play in the backcourt. He returned to the starting lineup early in the season after Dwyane Wade asked to come off the bench. Wade has been solid as a sixth man, and is shooting a career-high 32.3 percent from beyond the arc.
"He's got a tough job," guard Kyle Korver said of Lue, offering an endorsement of his coach's substitution patterns. "He's trying to find lineups that are working, and he's trying to find minutes for everybody. I think he's doing a great job in that regard, as far as getting everybody in the game. Maybe not Channing (Frye), we'd like to get Channing out there a little more, but it's a numbers thing right now. It's tough. Cedi (Osman), we'd like to see Cedi out there more, too. It's tough."
Not unlike last season, the Cavs rank near the bottom of the league defensively, but things have been particularly bad this year. Key rotation players like Korver, Frye, and Smith are all a year older, and the addition of weak defenders like Thomas and Derrick Rose hasn't helped matters. Teams are scoring at will on Cleveland, and it's not just bench units: The current starting lineup of LeBron James, Crowder, Love, Smith, and Thomas is a minus-19 on the season.
"The year that I've been here, we've been really good and we've been really bad," Korver said. "It seems to come in waves, so hopefully there's a good wave coming soon."
- Report: Nuggets trade Barton, Morris to Wizards for KCP, Smith
- Report: NBA salary cap will jump to $123.6 million for 2022-23
- Report: Knicks trade Noel, Burks to Pistons, opening space for Brunson
- Report: Jazz finalizing deal to name Celtics assistant Hardy as head coach
- Top 25 NBA free agents: The biggest names potentially available this summer