Reporting Matt Loede
INDEPENDENCE, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Cavaliers coach Byron Scott gave his long awaited answer Monday to who he plans on starting Tuesday night when the Cavaliers open the season at home vs the Washington Wizards.
To the surprise of no one is Andy Varajeo at center, Tristian Thompson at the power forward, and Alonzo Gee at the small forward.
The surprise came when Scott named rookie Dion Waiters as the shooting guard, playing alongside last seasons rookie of the year, Kyrie Irving at the point guard.
“I just thought that starting lineup would give us a lot of energy,” Scott said. “I think it makes it a better balance for what we are trying to do.”
The insertion of Waiters in the lineup could be considered somewhat of a surprise, this considering just three weeks ago he was pulled in the fourth quarter of a game in Canton by Scott vs the Bucks after not knowing a play.
Waiters in the lineup means that C.J. Miles, who played well in the preseason, will come off the bench.
“(C.J.) and (Daniel Gibson) coming off the bench with (Tyler) Zeller that’s pretty good, those are three pretty good players right there,” Scott said. “It could be two weeks from now I might change my mind and change my lineup.”
Scott said that Waiters picked his game up recently enough to prove that he’s worthy of a starting role.
“I thought in the last week and a half he did enough in practice, enough things that I liked to see that he is growing,” Scott said of his rookie. “Friday in the scrimmage I thought he was fantastic, I just saw him getting more comfortable and getting more confident as each day goes on.”
Waiters averaged 8.6 points per game in the preseason, hitting 22-of-64 shots, good for 34 percent from the field.
“It was a learning process,” Waiters said of the camp and preseason. “I had to go through what I had to go through, I didn’t have a great preseason, I missed a lot of shots I normally would make, but I’m not worried about the preseason anymore.”
The Cavaliers will play two home games to start the season, Tuesday night vs the Wizards and then Friday vs the Bulls, then head out on a long road trip that will see them play six games in 10 days.
The team will play teams like the L.A. Clippers, Golden State, Oklahoma City and Brooklyn before returning home November 17th to play Dallas.
“We would love to get out to a fast start and win both games at home before you go out West,” Scott said. “That’s our goal. We got a tough opponent in Washington, and an even tougher opponent in Chicago.”