Tyronn Lue is making a change to the Cleveland Cavaliers' starting lineup. And in doing so, a familiar face will once again be taking the opening tip.
According to Lue, the Cavs' big move will consist of moving Tristan Thompson back into the team's starting lineup. The adjustment will require Kevin Love to slide back to his natural position of power forward, with now-former starter Jae Crowder moving to the Cavs' bench.
After serving as Cleveland's starting center for the better part of the past two seasons, Thompson began the 2017-18 campaign in a reserve role following the addition of Crowder. In 26 appearances this season -- 21 of which have come off the bench -- Thompson has averaged 5.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in a career-low 19.1 minutes per game.
Without Thompson on the floor as often as usual, the Cavs' defense has struggled, ranking second-to-last in the league in defensive efficiency. That's one of the biggest reasons for Lue's lineup change, with Cleveland having lost 11 of its last 15 contests, including a 148-124 blowout defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder last Saturday.
J.R. Smith, who has struggled throughout the season, will remain a starter for the Cavs, as will LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas. Lue's new lineup will make its season debut on Friday, when the Cavs host the Indiana Pacers for a 7:30 p.m. ET tip.