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Anderson Varejao says he expects Mike Brown to limit his minutes

Oct 28, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Anderson Varejao AP

The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be without Andrew Bynum until… I’m no even going to take a guess here. Theoretically someday he returns. Yes, he practiced with the team and has done some 5-on-5 work, until he suits up and walks on the court I’m not playing your game.

Until that magical day, at least the Cavaliers have Anderson Varejao… for a few minutes.

Coming off life threatening blood clots that kept him out much of last season, the latest of three injury-plagued seasons, the Brazilian center told the News Herald that he could be on a minutes limit.

The Cavs have made no announcement on whether they’ll restrict Varejao’s minutes. It might not be wise to play him 35 minutes a game, even though it might be tempting.

“(I’m) not sure yet,” Varejao said. “But knowing Coach Brown, (he) probably (will). It’s all him. I want to play. If he plays me five minutes, if he plays me 35, like I said, I will give 100 percent. My goal is to stay healthy. After these last three seasons of freak injuries, I want to go out there and just have a healthy season.”

This sounds less like a hard cap of minutes (ala Amar’e Stoudemire) and more a “let’s play it by ear and not burn the guy out” situation. If you can trust Mike Brown to do that.

Tyler Zeller will get minutes at center, while Tristan Thompson will soak up a lot of the minutes at the four (if Bynum gets healthy, Varejao likely slides to the four and Thompson could see his minutes drop). Expect Brown to keep tinkering with rotations for a while to see what works… and if he finds something that works, that’s when Bynum will return.

In the mean time, Cleveland just going to lean heavily on Kyrie Irving. He’s driving that bus.

  1. saint1997 - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    I feel like the Cavs, almost like the Wiz if you will, got impatient and went from cellar dweller to playoff team too fast. One more bad season and a high pick in 2014 (get a SF) then reload with free agents and start advancing up the East in my opinion. With Kyrie they had time to wait

    • Abel Ramírez - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      Their problems have more to do with bad drafting than with impatience. They could have Harrison Barnes and Victor Oladipo right now, but instead they have, Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett(creating a logjam at the 4), and glaring hole at SF. If they had picked those predictably good players, they’d be in a much better position now. If you can’t draft good players, there will never be a right time to try to win.

      • nathanielwade - Oct 29, 2013 at 5:53 PM

        Predictably good players? Compare Barnes and Waiters stats for me please. You think a couple of highlight reel dunks by Barnes makes him a better player with more upside?

        The FACTS (i.e., their only NBA stats)
        Barnes MIN 25.4-PPG 9.2- APG 1.2-RPG 4.1-PER 11.08
        WaitersMIN 28.8-PPG 14.7-APG 3.0-RPG 2.4-PER 13.77

        Also, do you think you can predict the future Nerdstrodamus?

        You sound exactly like the fools that panned Chris Grant for picking Kyrie over Derrick Williams.

        Oladipo and Bennett have yet to play a game that matters and you just KNOW that Vic will be better? Why? In college, Oladipo could not hold a candle to Bennett. One was a phenomenon as a freshman and the other, Oladipo, took three years to do anything of note and his last season at IU did not even come close to the season Bennett had in his one and only year in college.

        You seem like the ultimate Sportscenter lackey; impressed with athletic dunks but could not care less about the overall game of basketball.

  2. ljl2 - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Again, you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to the cavs. If Bynum gets back to full health, he won’t play more than 25mpg. I’d actually say closer to 20. He and Varejao will split all time at C when both are healthy, with Varejao getting limited PF minutes next to Bynum depending on matchup. But Tristan will be around 30-35 mpg at PF no matter if Bynum is healthy or not. You greatly misunderstand Thompson’s talent if you think he’ll be the one to lose minutes. Please, stop writing cavs articles. Stick to LeBron and the Lakers.

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 29, 2013 at 1:07 AM

      Just to be clear. Varejao is a much better player than Thompson. The only reason he takes a backseat in minutes is coaching stupidity or age, or both.

      • hbdbrowns33 - Oct 29, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        Just to be clear you know nothing about the Cavs. Thompson is a double double machine and will average over 12-14 points and 10 rebounds a game. He is going to have a great year.

      • ljl2 - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:54 PM

        Its funny, before last season you were probably one of the people who thought Varejao was just a flopper that had to be informed of his play. Career arcs are interesting. Speaking of which, Tristan’s is incredible. Just watch this season and enjoy.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:37 AM

        I certainly wasnt one of those people. I’m not an idiot. Offensive rebounds are pretty important.

  3. ryanrockzzz - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    And I suppose the Cavs aren’t going to play Bennett at all at the PF position? Or at all this season? I can’t imagine they just give him all minutes at the SF position, or keep him on the bench for almost the entire game. Couple that with Anderson being a crafty veteran who can play out at the PF position, and it’s not hard to see why Thompson would only get 30 mpg in a realistic scenario, especially if Bynum plays at all this year.

    • ljl2 - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      I’m assuming you were responding to me. I don’t think Bennett sees any minutes at the 3. He is a PF. But he’s also very out of shape and they aren’t rushing him into games. They don’t need to. He will play between 12-17mpg this year. I’m assuming you haven’t watched any cavs this preseason or the past few years (you need league pass to do so if outside of Cleveland market since they don’t have national games). Varejao is a center in today’s NBA who has injury issues and so does Bynum if he’s healthy. Neither will play a ton of minutes to protect their health. But hey, I just read people who actually cover the cavs and what they report the management saying and watch their games.

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