Amico: For new Cavs, hope begins with the pass

Publish date:

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue took a seat in front of the media and smiled.

"Good practice, man," he said. "Intensity was high for a full 2 1/2 hours."

Lue and the Cavs had just wrapped up their first day of training camp, their first camp without LeBron James since 2013.

There was a lot of talking, a lot cheering and even some hearty laughs when the Cavs huddled at the end to break for the day.

According to Lue, there was also a lot of getting to know one another, a lot of moving the ball and a lot of energy. All of that and more is how these Cavs intend to survive, and yes, even compete.

"I want the pace to be faster," Lue said. "That's what we're looking forward to doing."

Lue wants the Cavs to play as a team first, second and last, and find ways to create shots off the pass. Makes sense. Without megastars such as James and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs' days of creating shots off the dribble are likely done.

But that's just fine by Lue and the players.

"I could see it on the first day," said Kevin Love, the lone remaining All-Star. "There's a lot of movement. You have to be ready for every option. It's just a different look at things, because everybody is touching the ball. Everybody is facilitating. We have to be ready for a lot of different combinations of lineups, as well as a lot of different combinations of plays."

The Cavs spent the final stretch of practice getting up and down the court, then doing it some more.

"You'll need to be in great shape, I'll tell you that," he said. "It's gonna be really fast-paced."

Speaking of lineups, Lue indicated there are some camp battles going on for both starting jobs and minutes. The starters have not been determined.

"I'm just gonna let it play out," he said.

Lue didn't name names and probably isn't going to anytime soon. But someone needs to start at the small forward spot vacated by James, with Rodney Hood and Cedi Osman as the likely top candidates. Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. may also be vying for the main job at center.

Perhaps no one will be watched as closely as rookie Collin Sexton, though. It doesn't seem likely that a 19-year old can beat out a solid veteran such as George Hill to start the season, but the Cavs did concede they like what they see in Sexton.

"He only knows one speed," Love said, smiling.

These new Cavs overall? Well, they too hope to know just one speed -- the speed of an offense that is predicated on passing, and passing a lot.