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TNIAAM Roundtable: Who starts for Syracuse basketball in 2019-20?

The annual starting 5 roundtable.

Louisville v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Earlier this week we learned that Syracuse Orange forward Oshae Brissett would forego his junior season and remain in this summer’s NBA Draft. With his departure, that means Syracuse will return just one starter next season in Elijah Hughes. It marks the second time in three seasons that Jim Boeheim will look to replace four starters with a crop of new faces.

As has become somewhat of a tradition around these parts, we as a staff took a stab at who we think will start for Syracuse basketball in 2019-20. The answers were mixed, by and large just speculation six months away from the season. We’ll have more clarity on the subject in August when the team begins its preseason Italy tour, but this exercise usually leads to fruitful discussion nonetheless.

So without further ado, let’s dive in.

Kevin Wall

PG: Carey

SG: Boeheim

SF: Hughes

PF: Guerrier

C: Dolezaj

Until we hear Sidibe is healthy I think Boeheim goes with a starting five which isn’t as small as you think.

Brandon Ross

PG: Jalen/Buddy

SG: Elijah Hughes

SF: Quincy Guerrier

PF: Marek Dolezaj

C: Jesse Edwards

Point guard is hardest to decipher. Does Coach Boeheim trust Buddy to run the offense? Is Carey still in the doghouse? More time needs to pass before we have solid answers to those questions. Hughes is probably the only player right now who’s a guarantee to be in the starting five. There will have to be at least one freshman in the starting lineup and to me Edwards is the safest bet. The center position could only realistically be played by him, fellow freshman John Bol Ajak, and Dolezaj, who is definitely a better fit at forward. The 6-foot-11 Netherlands native shows offensive prowess SU hasn’t had out of a center since Rakeem Christmas and I think that puts him out on the floor early and often.

Baylor v Syracuse Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

James Szuba

PG: Jalen Carey

SG: Buddy Boeheim

SF: Elijah Hugh3s

PF: Quincy Guerrier

C: Bourama Sidibe

I think Buddy and Elijah are pretty much a shoo-in as far as starters go next season. If Guerrier can shoot and handle the ball as good as advertised, I like his prospects to start so long as he’s interested in rebounding and playing defense. Admittedly in my early season preview for 2019-20 I pegged Dolezaj as the starting center but after further review I like Sidibe at the five and prime candidate for the Jim Boeheim Quick Hook™️.

Carey has the most college experience playing point guard and should have the inside track at the one. That will be the most interesting position from my perspective given Howard Washington and Brycen Goodine are both capable of playing lead guard, but the last time Jim played three point guards was 2011-12 and the third guard in rotation barely earned minutes.

Off the bench I look for Joe Girard to back up Buddy, Dolezaj to play a mix of center and forward while Jesse Edwards could vie for playing time in the middle, too. Big Bad Bobby Bras looks to be on the James Southerland plan.

John Cassillo

PG: Jalen Carey

SG: Buddy Boeheim

SF: Elijah Hughes

PF: Quincy Guerrier

C: Marek Dolezaj

Admittedly, you’ll see Marek spend time at both the 4 and 5 since I don’t expect Bourama Sidibe to play more than 20 minutes or so per night and Jesse Edwards may need a little more time. Still, this small-ball lineup that was once a dream could wind up the norm for a Syracuse team that’s probably going to launch a lot of threes, and would probably benefit from running a bit more. Add in Joe Girard in the ceremonial “three-point sniper off the bench” role and you’re looking at an interesting team that’s long on range even if short on experience.

Colgate v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

What’s usually brought up in the comment section every year is not the importance of who starts the game, but rather who finishes. It’s a fair point and in the past at Syracuse the starting and closing lineup has differed at times.

This topic usually generates a large discussion, so opine in the comment section below and let us know who you think will start and finish games for Syracuse in 2019-20.

For Syracuse basketball stories and updates, follow Nunes and James on twitter @NunesMagician and @JamesSzuba