LeBron James, Iman Shumpert and Kay Felder are all capable of backing up Kyrie Irving at point guard. But that doesn’t mean the Cavaliers want them to.
At least, maybe not for an entire season.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue and the whole NBA-loving universe know it’s a good idea to keep LeBron’s minutes in check. That’s hard to do if LeBron is filling in for Irving.
Shumpert is capable of bringing the ball up the floor, but he’s not really a point guard. It’s doubtful he’s the long-term answer.
And Felder is just a rookie, a second-round pick who’s still adjusting to the pro game. He looked good in his season debut against Orlando on Saturday — but the sample size was smaller than Felder’s 5-foot-9 frame.
He played five minutes, scored a basket, passed for an assist and grabbed a rebound. He has many positives. But he’s young and the Cavs are looking to win another title. You typically do that with experience.
The Cavs could go the distance with this lineup. It really is possible. But they reportedly are hoping to add a point guard, or at least have been considering it.
If that’s truly case, here are four free agents who may be worth a look:
1. Jarrett Jack, 6-3, 33 years old
Yes, he’s coming off a major knee injury. Yes, the Atlanta Hawks dumped him because he’s not completely recovered.
And yes, the last thing the Cavs probably need is another guy on the wrong side of 30.
But Jack loves the game, has a reputation for accepting whatever role is requested and is said to be a big fan of Lue.
He plays hard, plays smart and can start (if needed), score and distribute.
Jack played for the Cavs in the final year of the dark non-LeBron era (2013-?14), and embraced the city and fans. He averaged 12.8 points and 7.4 assists before the injury last season with Brooklyn.
2. Mario Chalmers, 6-2, 30 years old
According to Cleveland.com, the Cavs had an interest in Chalmers earlier this month. They still may be thinking about it. But like Jack, Chalmers is coming off a major injury.
In Chalmers’ case, it was an Achilles tear that ruined his brief run in Memphis. That happened in March and he hasn’t played in the NBA since.
Chalmers will never be accused of being a great ball-handler, distributor or defender. But you can call him a champion, as he was a starter on those Miami teams that featured James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Chalmers is a spot-up shooter first and last. But he is smart, and again, a winner who’s familiar with LeBron.
3. Tony Wroten, 6-6, 23 years old
Wroten has size and youth, and is a former first-round pick of the Grizzlies. He lacks big-game experience, but is a hustler and defender who can handle the ball.
Granted, Wroten would be more of an experiment than the likes of Jack or Chalmers, but if it gets late in the season … and Wroten is still around … and the Cavs are still looking … they could probably do worse.
4. Kendall Marshall, 6-4, 25 years old
A former lottery pick, Marshall has turned into a disappointment and journeyman.
Some coaches around the NBA will tell you he needs an attitude adjustment, that he’s not nearly as good as he thinks he is — that he often struggles to accept his role.
But they will also tell you the guy would make a nice backup on a good team if he ever pulls it together.
The Cavs are a winning organization, with lots of star power and strong leaders along the lines of LeBron, Richard Jefferson and James Jones.
Marshall is a point guard in the truest sense, and considering he’d come cheaply, may be worth the risk.
Others available: Will Bynum, Ronnie Price, Ray McCallum, Marcus Paige, Quinn Cook, Bryce Cotton, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jordan Farmar, Erick Green, Jorge Gutierrez, Kirk Hinrich, Toure’ Murray, Phil Pressey, Pablo Prigioni, Andre Miller.