Syracuse basketball has several intriguing lineup options

Girard Va Tech
Jan 8, 2020: Syracuse Orange guard Joe Girard III (11) looks to drive against the Virginia Tech Hokies during a 67-63 loss at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

Syracuse’s roster looks completely different from last year.

Three of five starters (Jimmy Boeheim, Cole Swider, Buddy Boeheim) have all moved on to professional careers, while the Orange added five incoming freshmen and a transfer.

That leaves only two starters (Jesse Edwards, Joe Girard) from last year’s team. What are some potential starting lineup combinations heading into 2022-23? We’ve got some interesting options below.

Option 1: Go with the talent.

PG: Judah Mintz
SG: Joe Girard
SF: Justin Taylor
PF: Benny Williams
C: Jesse Edwards

I find this to be the most balanced lineup of all of the options. It has good athleticism, with Mintz breaking down defenses and having the ability to kick to shooters (Girard/Taylor), and also has Williams and Edwards being able to navigate inside. On defense, the lineup would be more of the classic lanky limbed zone, though Taylor is a bit undersized for a wing at 6-foot-6. Another wrinkle to this lineup would be swapping out Taylor for Chris Bunch, who at 6-foot-7 is a bit more of a classic SU wing who is also known for his shooting stroke.

Option 2: Go with the experience.

PG: Symir Torrence
SG: Joe Girard
SF: Justin Taylor
PF: Benny Williams
C: Jesse Edwards

Torrence really came on in the ACC Tournament, averaging 8 points and 10 assists in two games. Against Duke in the ACC Quarterfinals, he played all 40 minutes and showed he could run Syracuse’s offense well. If he continues to develop his shot, this is also a credible lineup. That said, did Mintz, a top 40 recruit, come to Syracuse so he could come off the bench? Torrence spent most of last year as a key reserve, and he has shown he can thrive in it.

Option 3: The three-guard lineup.

PG: Symir Torrence
SG: Joe Girard
SF: Judah Mintz
PF: Benny Williams
C: Jesse Edwards

On the one hand, Syracuse would have plenty of offensive options with three ball handlers on the floor. But Mintz, at 6-foot-3, would really struggle to rebound on the back line. I could see Jim Boeheim going to this lineup in small stretches, but likely not as a starting lineup.

Option 4: The power lineup.

PG: Judah Mintz/Symir Torrence
SG: Joe Girard
SF: Benny Williams
PF: Maliq Brown
C: Jesse Edwards

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If Syracuse is really in need of interior defense and rebounding, this could be a viable lineup. Brown, at 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds, has a more college-ready body and developed a reputation for his rugged interior play in high school. The issue, of course, is where the scoring is going to come from at wing. Neither Brown or Williams is known for their shot-making ability. Again, I don’t see this as a starting lineup, but one that Boeheim may turn to for short bursts. The point guard is less of an issue here since the goal is interior defense and rebounding, so Mintz and Torrence are interchangeable.

Option 5: The shooting lineup.

PG: Judah Mintz
SG: Joe Girard
SF: Justin Taylor
PF: Chris Bunch
C: Jesse Edwards

This is an intriguing lineup that leans heavily on three freshmen. But it’s also one of the rare lineups that truly spread out the floor with SU’s three best shooters on the floor at the same time. The Orange would be sorely lacking in size on the back line in the zone, but Edwards could make up for a lot of that deficiency. I could see Boeheim using this lineup if he really needed his team to score in a hurry at the expense of rebounding.

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About Wes Cheng 2901 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]sujuiceonline.com.