Healthy Mike Miller To Replace Shawn Marion In Starting Lineup For Cavs

Mike Miller has missed the last seven games with lingering effects of a concussion. He notched four DNP-CDs before that, and is averaging just 12.2 minutes per game. Fortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers, though, the sharp-shooting veteran is always ready when his name is called. Healthy enough to play for the first time since December 4, Miller will take the place of Shawn Marion as a starter in the Cavs’ game against the Brooklyn Nets tonight.

This surprising bit of news is courtesy of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. The consummate professional – like Miller – Marion reportedly took his benching in stride:

But not only will Miller be in uniform, sources say he will be inserted into the starting lineup at the two-guard position. Shawn Marion, who has been holding down the spot since the fourth game of the season, will come off the bench.

“I just do whatever it takes to win,” Marion told Northeast Ohio Media Group following the team’s morning shootaround. “Whatever coach needs me to do, I’ll do it.”

Marion was inserted as a starter for the fourth game of the season. The 36 year-old has been typically effective for Cleveland on defense this season, but is struggling to shoot from both the field and beyond the arc. The Cavaliers went 13-8 with him in the starting lineup.

Miller hasn’t played enough to glean any meaningful concerns from his dismal numbers – 30.4 percent shooting overall and 25 percent on three-pointers. He played at least 10 minutes in six consecutive games in early and mid-November, but fell out of favor a bit with David Blatt from there. It bears mentioning that Miller played 18 and 12 minutes, respectively, on the past two nights he was available – perhaps an increased role for the former Memphis Grizzly is something Blatt has had in mind for awhile.

There’s been no word from Cavs camp on the means of this decision. While Miller will afford LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love with more space to operate on offense, he’s not the defender that Marion is. On the flipside, shifting Marion to the bench could be in an effort to reduce James’ minutes load – something the nearly 30 year-old four-time MVP recently stressed is necessary.

This is a somewhat strange move on the surface, but there’s time to tinker for Cleveland. If Blatt has reason to believe that starting Miller and making Marion a reserve could help his team in the short and long runs, he should absolutely do so. We’ll see if he’s right against the Nets on Friday night.

What do you think?

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