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Today, Syracuse.com’s Donna Ditota published a Q&A with versatile postgrad Michael Gbinije, who enters his final year of eligibility in 2015-2016. One of the interesting takeaways was that Gbinije is heading into the new year with at least some expectation that he might challenge for the starting point guard job. That brings up the question, what might the starting lineup look like for Jim Boeheim next year?

Option 1

  1. Kaleb Joseph
  2. Trevor Cooney
  3. Michael Gbinije
  4. Tyler Roberson
  5. Dajuan Coleman

Prior to Gbinije’s comments to Ditota, this probably would have been the obvious guess for most Syracuse fans. Kaleb Joseph obviously had his ups and downs last season, and there are going to be lingering questions about Coleman’s health until he shows he can stay on the court, but otherwise this seems like the safest bet heading into the year. Gbinije is at his best when he’s playing off the ball and looking to score, but a concern with this lineup could be that it lacks size in the zone. Still, right now this is the most likely lineup.

Option 2

  1. Michael Gbinije
  2. Trevor Cooney
  3. Malachi Richardson
  4. Tyler Roberson
  5. Dajuan Coleman

If Gbinije does slide over to the starting point guard slot, we get into figuring out which freshman is most likely to slide into the starting lineup. Most people will look at Malachi Richardson as the obvious choice, since he’s a McDonald’s All-American and prolific shooter. But this would still be a small lineup that could give up a lot defensively, as Richardson doesn’t have a particularly strong reputation as a defender and learning the ropes of Boeheim’s 2-3 zone is infamously tricky for some freshmen.

Option 3

  1. Michael Gbinije
  2. Trevor Cooney
  3. Tyler Lydon
  4. Tyler Roberson
  5. Dajuan Coleman

I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that, if Kaleb Joseph is bumped from the starting lineup, by the time ACC play starts it’ll be Tyler Lydon, and not Malachi Richardson, inserted into the rotation. Lydon, quite simply, brings a little more to the table than Richardson at this stage in their careers. That’s not taking anything away from Richardson, whose shooting and scoring prowess cannot be discounted, but Lydon gives the Orange more size and rebounding, in addition to being able to stretch the floor. He also allows Boeheim to keep Gbinije at the top of the zone, where he’d be much more effective (particularly from a rebounding perspective, as he struggled a bit rebounding from the wing last season).

Those seem like the three most likely options this season, though things could get shaken further if Coleman is unable to stay healthy. Should that happen, suddenly we’re looking at Moustapha Diagne being forced into action. Diagne is certainly a talented kid, but it would be less than ideal for him to wind up starting considering at this stage he’s a little too small to play center, and there’s already a lack of depth in the post as is.

Right now the smart money is on Option 1, though if I were on the sidelines I’d be taking a long, hard look at Option 3 should Joseph falter. People are sleeping on Lydon, and while he’s still skinny, he’s going to be ready to contribute a lot faster than people probably realize.

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