Despite Loss, Cleveland Cavaliers' Bench Looks Much Improved Over Last Season

By Zach Morrison
C.J. Miles
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Through two games, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves at 1-1 with a home win against the Brooklyn Nets and a road loss on Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats. Star point guard Kyrie Irving hasn’t exactly had any huge scoring games so far and center Andrew Bynum has played very sparingly early in the year, so why are the Cavaliers so competitive?

One big reason for the Cavs beating the Nets and keeping it close against the Bobcats is the bench. Jarrett Jack and C.J. Miles have been impact players so far. In the first two games, Jack has averaged 13.5 points per game and provided good leadership with some nice defensive players. In the final quarter of the game on Friday night against the Bobcats, he made a very nice defensive play against Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson. Miles played with the Cavs last season and showed flashes of being able to score in bunches, and he has done that this season as well. Through two games, Miles is averaging 16 points per game. He scored 22 points against the Bobcats on Friday. He is shooting just below 50 percent from three-point range as well.

The Cavs’ lack of depth has hurt them in the past, but with a deeper bench, that shouldn’t be a problem in 2013-14. Depth is better at every position this season compared to last. At point guard, the Cavs have Irving and Jack. At shooting guard, they have Dion Waiters and Miles. Small forward is the Cavs’ weakest position, with Earl Clark and Alonzo Gee the only two options. Tristan Thompson has been huge this season at power forward, taking a lot of pressure off of rookie Anthony Bennett. At center, the Cavs have last season’s leading rebounder Anderson Varejao and All-Star caliber big man Bynum with Tyler Zeller at third string. The Cavaliers are still trying to get Bynum into game-shape, so he isn’t playing many minutes at this point. When he is capable of playing major minutes, the Cavs will be extremely dangerous.

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