Having a healthy roster for the first time in more than a year is cutting into the playing time of some Cavaliers veterans, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon-Journal. It’s a situation that Anderson Varejao has been dealing with all year. Now Mo Williams is joining him and Richard Jefferson could be in the same situation, Lloyd speculates. Williams signed with the Cavs over the summer to handle the point guard duties while Kyrie Irving recovered from a fractured kneecap. Now that Irving is healthy, Williams’ playing time has plummeted. He was held out of a game against the Suns last week, then played just five minutes against the Warriors and 10 against the Blazers. Lloyd writes that it’s obvious Williams has fallen to third on the point guard depth chart behind Irving and Matthew Dellavedova. “Guys gotta understand and I’ve told them this, only so many guys can play,” said coach David Blatt. “That’s just the reality of the limitations of the game. Some guys may find themselves for no other reason other than that not playing many minutes or not playing at all.”
There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:
- Some veterans on the team weren’t happy with Blatt’s decision to not play Jefferson in the Christmas Day game against Golden State, Lloyd writes in the same piece. The writer believes Blatt will have to eventually decide between Jefferson and J.R. Smith for a rotation spot. Smith is currently a starter, but Lloyd expects Iman Shumpert to take over his role when Irving’s minutes restriction is lifted.
- Williams showed up at the locker room barely an hour before game time Saturday, then seemed to be a reluctant participant in cheering his teammates, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The writer sees the Cavs as primed for another run at the NBA Finals, but warns a counterproductive influence could help derail that.
- Cleveland’s renewed defensive prowess has coincided with Shumpert’s return to the lineup, Lloyd writes in a separate story. Since Shumpert came back from a wrist injury three weeks ago, the Cavs lead the league in defensive field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage and are behind only the Spurs in points allowed per 100 possessions.