Mercifully the weekend has ended for the Cavaliers, with their schedule now pointed towards two winnable games on a quest to get back to even before Thanksgiving. At Indiana on Tuesday, and Milwaukee on Wednesday down at the Q in case you hadn’t heard.
With a dozen regular contests in the books, I imagine it would be time too for Byron Scott to start tinkering some with his line-up card. By tinker I mean it’s time Jamario Moon stops starting, and somebody else get a crack at those minutes. For me, that somebody is Joey Graham.
Photo Credit: AP via Cleveland.com
Part of my reason is I don’t want to mess much with the top two reserves right now. Jamison and Gibson have arguably been the two best players overall on this team so far, and while they probably do deserve to have the credentials of “starter” after their names, that’s been too much of a bright spot for this club to mess with at this point.
But I do think the starting 2 and the 3 spots have just been too unproductive to continue as it has through these first twelve games. So the second part of my reason is I simply think Joey Graham can’t possibly be worse than Jamario Moon has been as the starting SF. The next move after that – though I’m not there yet – is Ramon Sessions for Parker. Don’t ask why I’m not there yet, it’s a long story that revolves around not being sure how Parker fits in with the bench group, but I’ll explain that more when I get to that there…I imagine I’ll be there shortly.
For now though, Graham for Moon is no-brainer. I think Jamario Moon frankly does better as an energy guy, reserve type player off the bench anyways, and I’m not sure he actually embraces the role of “starter” in his heart of NBA hearts. Pure speculation, but I do think he’d rather come off the bench than assume the responsibilities of a starter, and his numbers as a starting SF would certainly support that argument.
But while I don’t know about Moon’s preference for sure, I do know Joey Graham wants to be a starter. I was standing directly in front of him at media day when he said as much.
Graham said, in reference to coming to Cleveland to play for these Cavaliers, his “goal is to be a starter.” Pretty clear, right? I say let him.
He also went on to say that he viewed this opportunity as “being a chance for [him] to be the franchise type player” that some thought he could be when he was drafted early in the 2005 draft.
Now I’m pretty sure the franchise player goal won’t come true in this Association, but I do fully support the fruition of his first stated goal. I think he should start based on his production over the last few in the minutes he’s earned, and I was encouraged to read the tweet from TJ Zuppe who posted the following both from and regarding Graham earlier today on twitter:
“Coach Byron Scott is seriously considering starting lineup changes. Would not mention which spots could be changing…Joey Graham said he wouldn’t be shocked if he got the call to start at the 3. Looking forward to facing Danny Granger.”
I wouldn’t be shocked either. Hope he does. But more than that, I hope he makes the most of the opportunity. He could be a guy that does more for this team than just average numbers around 10 and 5 too if all goes well. He does play hard when he’s out there, and that physicality could go a long way towards setting the bar for effort and intensity on a nightly basis.
Something this team can never lose sight of, because if they do happen to forget one night that they need to play harder than whoever it is they’re matched-up with, they will get drilled by everybody.