INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Tyronn Lue isn't ready to reveal the Cleveland Cavaliers' starting lineup for the NBA Playoffs just yet. But he does know how many players his team will play in its Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup against the Indiana Pacers.
"I will play 10," Lue revealed following a practice session at Cleveland Clinic Courts on Thursday afternoon. "Just see how it looks and if one guy's not great this round, then it might be nine."
The Cavs head coach is admittedly in a tough spot.
Thanks to the combination of injuries and trades that came to define the Cavs' 2017-18 season, Cleveland's roster currently contains no fewer than 12 players who logged regular minutes in the team's rotation at one point or another this year. Typically, an NBA team trims its rotation to eight -- maybe nine -- players for its playoff run. But while Lue acknowledges he's already had to make some tough choices, a 10-man rotation is currently where he's willing to draw his line.
"I talked to the guys that aren't going to play right now and they know that," Lue said. "The 10 guys that are going to play, just making sure they're ready to go."
Drawing up which 10 Cavs will play could prove difficult.
Obviously, there are the mainstays of the rotation -- LeBron James, Kevin Love, George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Korver, which would put Lue at six. The Cleveland head coach has also already revealed that Jeff Green will serve as one of the team's starting forwards, which gets him to seven players, with J.R. Smith and Larry Nance Jr. likely making nine.
That leaves Tristan Thompson, Cedi Osman and Jose Calderon for one last spot. And based on Lue's line of thinking, which he said was a combination of matchup-based and who's playing well, it will be Calderon who gets the nod.
"I like Clarkson on the floor with a point guard, which makes us play 10. Jose's going to play," Lue revealed. "I just want to make sure we have a point guard on the floor with him, knowing [Pacers guard] Corey Joseph likes to pick up fullcourt and try to disrupt the point guard of the opposing team."
That's not to say Lue's plans won't change -- especially from round to round. Even within a series teams make adjustments on a game-to-game basis, which opponents often attempt to counteract.
For the Cavs, a 10-man rotation also comes out of a bit of necessity, and even, experimentation. For the first time since overhauling its roster at the NBA Trade Deadline, Cleveland has a full complement of players, creating a unique situation for a team that has already laid claim to 29 different starting lineups this season.
"The challenge is everyone's healthy now, at the start of the playoffs. They wasn't healthy halfway through the season. That's probably the biggest challenge is trying to find the right combinations," Lue said. "But I feel good about what we have."