INDEPENDENCE: C.J. Miles will remain in the starting lineup and rookie Anthony Bennett is temporarily out of the rotation, coach Mike Brown intimated on Tuesday. While refusing to speak in absolutes, Brown seemed content to bring Dion Waiters off the bench and give Bennett a few days of practice to work through his struggles.
“Right now, Earl is going to play some 4, so that means limited backup minutes for A.B.,” Brown said. “But I tell you what, he’s probably had his best two practices of the year today and yesterday.”
Bennett has struggled terribly since the Cavaliers selected him first overall last summer. Bennett is averaging 1.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and shooting 14 percent in the first nine games of his pro career. But Brown said Bennett ripped off some impressive dunks in traffic during Tuesday’s practice, reminding everyone in the building why the Cavaliers liked him so much last June. They just haven’t seen much evidence yet in games, so Brown is balancing trying to win games while trying to develop a raw top pick.
“We have some guys that can come in and play for him, and he can continue to gain his confidence slowly, without it being force-fed,” Brown said. “But with social media today, everybody from inside to outside wants things to happen yesterday. It’s no different for AB. He was the No. 1 pick, everyone expects he should be averaging 20 and 15, right now. But there’s a patience factor that we’re gonna have, that I’m able to have with him. In time you guys will be able to see how good he is.”
As for Miles, Brown likes the way he can stretch the floor with Andrew Bynum playing inside and conceded, “I may leave him in the starting lineup.”
Both Brown and Miles agree he won’t be able to play as aggressively as a starter – he’s now no higher than the third offensive option behind Kyrie Irving and Bynum. As a reserve, Miles could fire at leisure.
“Once we get a little bit more rhythm, I think it will be even easier for me because I’ll see a lot of open shots,” Miles said. “It’s just getting used to how to be effective and not be in the way because I'm the new guy in the group now.”