Coming out of the All-Star break, things have been topsy-turvy for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sure, that's to be expected from any team after taking nearly a week off, especially when the Cavs opened up the second half of the season with five games in seven nights. But, it's been hard for them to find balance, especially when Darius Garland and Evan Mobley are still playing their way back into proper shape.

While Cleveland waits for Garland and Mobley to be 100%, they need their role players to step up and deliver. Thankfully, Isaac Okoro and Max Strus have done precisely that, giving the Cavs defense, energy and scoring whenever they're on the floor. But, when it comes to Caris LeVert and Georges Niang, two key rotation pieces for Cleveland, it hasn't been as easy.

Why the Cavs are leaning on Caris LeVert and Georges Niang

Caris LeVert with several question marks above his head

In the three games back from the All-Star break, LeVert has averaged 10.0 points on 29.0% shooting, 6.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 27.0 minutes per game. Niang, meanwhile, has put up 8.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game, lacking some of the scoring punch he's given Cleveland most nights. Unfortunately, the scoring woes LeVert and Niang are currently dealing with are part of the human nature of basketball. Neither player can be perfect every night and so the Cavs will keep riding with them until they can find their groove leading up to the postseason.

But, while LeVert and Niang struggle, Cleveland fans continue to grumble when Sam Merrill and Dean Wade, players who aren't on the same level as LeVert and Niang but provide similar things, are seldom seeing the floor now that the team's finding a clean bill of health. While it's fair to wonder what damage it would do some nights to give Merrill or Wade a little extra burn in place of either LeVert or Niang, it's not that simple. Sure, it could help the Cavs lock up another win and help maintain their grasp on the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. But, taking time away from LeVert and Niang is counterproductive to the real goal for Cleveland over this final stretch of the season: getting this squad ready for a deep playoff run.

Before their first game back after the All-Star break against the Orlando Magic, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the plan is to gradually start ramping up the intensity leading to the postseason. That means more minutes for certain players and overall tighter rotations, with Cleveland ultimately settling on the top eight players to win a playoff series. Of course, the star-studded quartet of Garland, Mobley, Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen are the center of it all. Outside of that group, it's become clear that Okoro, Strus, Niang and LeVert finalize Bickerstaff's top eight. It means that once the playoffs begin, that's the group that will see the lion's share of minutes every game.

With so few of games remaining in the regular season, it first and foremost matters to give Georges Niang and Caris LeVert as many chances to find their rhythm as the team ramps up their run to the playoffs. Moreover, it's even more important to have Garland and Mobley, who missed over a month mid-way into the season, to also find a rhythm and cadence when sharing the floor with either Niang or LeVert. There aren't many opportunities to practice left in the NBA's regular season and in the limited chances they have, it's chalked up to film review, rest and recovery.

So, while as tempting as Merrill and Wade might be in the interim to roll with, it could hamper the big picture and goals for the Cavs come playoff time. That's counterproductive to what matters most: a serious playoff run and possibly a championship. Besides, Merril, Wade, Niang or LeVert aren't going to be the ones who decide a playoff series. But, having the best supporting cast around your stars sure helps.