No clear favorite in jostle for Cavs' small forward spot
OCT 14, 2013 5:03p ET
The bad? Coach Mike Brown said no one has established himself as the obvious favorite.
Actually, that's not really bad news.
In reality, the Cavs have three players they like, three players who Brown feels are capable of starting.
Perhaps better than that is the fact all three, regardless of who starts, are likely to see plenty of minutes.
The candidates: Last season's starter Alonzo Gee, free-agent find Earl Clark, and reserve swingman C.J. Miles.
Each brings a different dynamic.
Gee is considered by many as the best position defender -- and that probably counts for a lot when you're talking about Brown.
But at 6-10, Clark has plenty of length at that spot. And Miles, no shabby defender himself, is arguably the best scorer.
So, does anyone jump out?
"Not yet," Brown said. "They've all shown flashes, that, 'hey, this guy can do it. I'm going to run with this guy for a few games.'"
Clark started the first two preseason games (both wins), but Gee was sidelined with a sore hamstring. Gee returns to the lineup for Tuesday's preseason game, and will start, according to Brown.
But that's not a major development. Far from it. Brown's plan all along has been to rotate Gee, Clark and Miles during the preseason.
And while the coach doesn't know yet who will start when it counts, he does have a firm grasp of what he's looking for from the position.
"I'm looking for someone who brings some grittiness defensively," Brown said. "When you think about it, most of the teams in the NBA have (small forwards) that score at a high clip. They have long guys that can play inside and out, that can handle the ball in pick-and-roll situations.
"I'm looking for the guy who rebounds first, rebounds second and make the simple play."
Brown continued to define the role.
"If you're not open, move the basketball," he said. "We need someone who can bring something to the table defensively, because we have guys on the floor who can create shots for themselves and others."
That's not all.
"When you talk about the small forwards on your team, they've got to be tough," he said. "They have to use their length, athleticism and bring a physicality to the table that's higher than other positions on the floor."
Sounds like a plan. Now all the Cavs need to do is figure out who that guy is, who best fits that description, by the end of the month.
Jack, others out
Cavs backup guard Jarrett Jack has inflammation of his left knee and will miss approximately 10 days, the team said Monday.
Rookie swingmen Sergey Karasev and Carrick Felix will also miss Tuesday's preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats in Canton.
Felix was evaluated for groin pain Monday. An MRI revealed he is suffering from a mild sports hernia. He is unofficially day-to-day.
Meanwhile, Karasev departed for Russia to obtain his work visa. He is expected to return in time for Thursday's preseason game against the Detroit Pistons at The Q.
According to a Cavs press release, Jack has chondromalacia in his left knee -- or inflammation/irritation of cartilage on the underside of the patella.
Centers Andrew Bynum (knees) and Tyler Zeller (appendectomy) are also out Tuesday.
-- SportsTime Ohio will broadcast its first-ever Cavs game Tuesday, when the Cavs play the Bobcats at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. Tip-off is 7 p.m., with Fred McLeod on play-by-play and Austin Carr as analyst. It will be the first of three straight preseason games carried by STO.
-- Cavs center/forward Anderson Varejao said he's feeling better after missing the majority of last season following knee surgery and a blood clot. "I'll be fine come November," Varejao said Monday. "But I'm not there yet."
-- Center Andrew Bynum is still not taking part in 5-on-5 drills, Brown said Monday. Bynum was spotted after practice Monday in workout clothes, ice bags on both knees.
-- Also after practice, point guard Kyrie Irving stuck around to put in extra work on his jump shot.
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