Every offseason NBA teams have to navigate roster shakeups and personnel changes. These changes give reserve players the opportunity to prove themselves in an increased role. Some flourish and others find themselves back on the bench after hot starts.
How do you go about making these decisions though? Making the decisions out of necessity could uncover an unknown commodity or it could expose roster flaws. Striking a balance is key to finding the optimal lineups.
Here are the three reserves that could benefit most from a move to the starting lineup:
The 24-year-old has spawned some very polarized reaction during his short stint in the NBA. In Cleveland, he was an inefficient chucker that needed to get shots up because the team was dreadful for the most part. It wasn’t the greatest situation for a rookie to be placed into.
Waiters Island has become the moniker that people that still believe in the Syracuse product’s potential have rallied under. Last season in Oklahoma, the shooting guard played great minutes for the Thunder in their series against the Spurs and Warriors.
Now in Miami, he will have the opportunity to challenge for the starting job with Dwyane Wade gone. If he can control the few moments a game where he goes outside of the gameplan, then he can resemble the player he thinks he is in his head.
He has all the talent in the world, time to put it to good use.
Anyone watching the Eastern Conference Finals between Cleveland and Toronto this year surely noticed that Luis Scola was over-matched in a lot of his time on the floor. P-Pat is much more suited for today’s NBA game.
The power forward can stretch the floor and score at the rim when defences over-commit. He has good size which allows him to at least present a challenge when defending bigger players.
But, most of all he helps decongest an offense that struggles to score outside of their two All-Stars in Toronto. He is one of the players that could realistically help the Canadian club help reach the next level of an NBA Finals appearance if given a chance to crack the starting lineup.
Honestly, to get real adventurous, Dwayne Casey could tinker with playing him at center and taking advantage of extra offense. It would be something to consider if the raptors are serious about unseating the Cavaliers next summer.
Initially the move for Enes Kanter and his huge contract seemed like a head scratcher for Okahoma City. This past season, the big man proved that he could work alongside fellow big Steven Adams and provide an unreal rebounding advantage for his team.
Serge Ibaka was dealt to the Orlando Magic in the offseason which left many observers to wonder who would be the new power forward for the Thunder. I propose enlisting the dual big approach over the course of the season.
The kind of length and defence the dual big lineup posed for Golden State could strike down almost any team in the league. More practice with that setup could help the Thunder ready themselves for a potential matchup.
This move might be key in a decisive meeting with the Warriors down the line.