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TNIAAM roundtable: Who starts for Syracuse men’s basketball in 2020-21?

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The TNIAAM staff weights in on a hot offseason topic: Who starts for Syracuse basketball this season?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 25 Pitt at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While we’re still five months away from the start of the college basketball season and there are plenty of decisions that still need to be made on how college sports will be conducted this year, it’s never too early (or late) to be talking about Syracuse Orange men’s basketball.

As has become somewhat of an annual tradition around here, the TNIAAM staff weighs in on a topic that usually generates plenty of discussion: who starts for Syracuse basketball this upcoming season? With four starters returning, the 2020-21 starting five might be more obvious than in other years, but it’s still worth the exercise.

Some might suggest it’s more about the five that finish the game rather than start the game and reasonable minds would agree. But that’s beside the point, so let’s opine on the subject at hand.

Christian De Guzman

Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Quincy Guerrier, Marek Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe

Even if Alan Griffin gets a wavier to play this upcoming season, it’s hard to see any player that breaks into this lineup barring injuries or other unforeseen circumstances. No one else on the 2020-21 roster comes close to the playing time of these five. As such, backcourt depth becomes the biggest question mark of this team. If Griffin has to sit, the only player that could back up Girard and Boeheim at the top of the zone is probably Kadary Richmond. But who are we kidding? Knowing Coach Boeheim, his son and the Glens Falls superstar are probably set to play 40 minutes for the majority of the season.

Kevin Wall

PG- Joe Girard, SG-Buddy Boeheim, SF- Alan Griffin, PF- Marek Dolezaj, C- Bourama Sidibe

I think the backcourt is set and the only question will be at SF. I’m assuming Griffin gets the waiver and that his skill set combined with Guerrier’s summer surgery will give him the edge at the beginning of the season. Based on the last few seasons I think Jim Boeheim will want another shooter on the floor with the starters but Guerrier will see plenty of time as the 6th man.

John Cassillo

Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Alan Griffin, Marek Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe

I’m unintentionally in the same boat as Kevin — we’re assuming Griffin’s playing, and while Guerrier could make a leap as a sophomore, he may be better served to do that as a sixth man. We also know that “starter” is a designation that Jim Boeheim has used lightly at times, and that actual minutes can fluctuate significantly. SU could go small and put Marek at the five and put Quincy at the four. Could also go bigger and put Guerrier at small forward and maybe even put Griffin into one of the guard spots. But I think the lineup you see when game begin (and most often on the floor together) is the one above.

James Szuba

Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Quincy Guerrier, Marek Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe

The four returning starters are obvious here. It’s hard to envision a scenario where Girard, Boeheim, Dolezaj and Sidibe don’t start. But I’m with Christian here. I think even if Griffin is granted a waiver that he’ll be coming off the bench as sixth man. He was solid in that role at Illinois and can play either the off guard or forward spot in the zone.

Syracuse might have the cliché six starters this season and regardless of which forward is in that role (Griffin/Guerrier/Dolezaj), all of them have played off the bench at one point. I’ll give the edge to Guerrier — who could very well lead Syracuse in rebounding this season — for the starting job given he has one year under his belt at Syracuse.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

What do you think though? Who starts for Syracuse this year? Feel free to join in on the discussion in the comment section below.