We continue our 2015 NBA playoffs series outlook with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team currently ranked No.2 in the Eastern Conference. In the wake of an injury plagued Chicago Bulls team and the struggling Washington Wizards, the Cavaliers have emerged as one of the clear favorites to reach the Eastern Conference finals. LeBron James, and Kyrie Irving have been the story for this team, both averaging better than 21 ppg, while Tristan Thompson has picked up the slack due to an injured Kevin Love.
The Cavs could head into the playoffs with a matchup versus the Brooklyn Nets– a team they have defeated in three out of four tries this season, but the Nets have been hot as of late winning five games in a row including a win at home versus the Cavs.
LeBron James will head into the postseason with the coach appointed ability to call offensive plays, but is this a good decision? Will a lack of playoff experience among Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love effect this team in the long run?
-Team S.U. debates.
Keith Rivas (Sports Unbiased Writer): Several outlets have confirmed that LeBron James has had the green light to call the offensive plays that the Cleveland Cavaliers run — not only is this not okay, it’s not going to work at all in the playoffs. Before you jump the gun, though, allow me to explain my position.
First off, it’s just wrong. No matter who your star is, they should not be allowed to run every single play that your team runs — where is the responsibility of the coach at that point in time? The duties of a head coach include collecting his/her team together, designing several plays, and then calling the shots.
In addition, this is extremely disrespectful to Coach Platt of the Cavs and shows that LeBron can’t help but be a diva — even back home. With powerhouses like Atlanta and Chicago along with dark horses like Milwaukee, Miami, and Brooklyn looking to run the Cavs into the ground, there’s no better time to strike than when they’re divided in the locker room. End of story.
Steve Turner (Sports Unbiased Writer): LeBron James has so much postseason experience that it’s actually a really good call that he has the green light on calling plays. He called plays in Miami and look at that team– they went to the NBA Finals four consecutive times and won two times. Cleveland shouldn’t worry at all about LeBron calling shots. Also, I don’t think that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love’s lack of playoff experience is going to effect them. Kyrie Irving is such an explosive scorer and can make the pass to the open man most of the time. Although Kevin Love isn’t having the best season of his career, he can still be a major contribution to this Cavs team in the playoffs. Love can space the floor, pull in rebounds. and drain the three ball.
Sauping R. Arguello (NBA Contributor): The Cleveland Cavaliers have heated up in the second half of the season. It is highly due to having a healthy/rested LeBron James and acquisitions to Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert. Mozgov gives the Cavs a much needed interior presence since losing Anderson Varejao to injury. A defensive, gritty, veteran big man in Kendrick Perkins was also added as a backup for size and depth.
The explosive scoring of All-Star Kyrie Irving, who is like a ticking time bomb that can go off at anytime, makes Cleveland a serious threat come postseason. However, Irving and All-Star power forward Kevin Love have never seen a minute of playoff action. It is yet to be determined how well they will handle that intense, heightened playoff atmosphere. Love does not seem to have found a comfort zone yet. He has primarily been relegated to a three-point shooter. I don’t feel Love is being utilized to his full capabilities but you also have to take into account the back issues he’s facing.
First year NBA coach David Blatt has gotten much scrutiny over their slow start and questions of cohesion within their team. I’m not sure how much control he has on the Cavs. It seems like James has more influence over his coach and I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing despite his high basketball I.Q. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cleveland reaches the finals but I still don’t have them over a healthy Chicago Bulls team or the east leading’ Atlanta Hawks.
Bobby Bourhis (NBA Contributor, If I Were a GM- Personal Blog): LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world, and is widely recognized as one of the best play-makers as well. Additionally, he is closing in on his 12th NBA season and is being coached by David Blatt, who has zero previous NBA coaching experience. These credentials should allow LeBron James the liberty to call some of the plays on the court over the course of a game. Kyrie Irving is a relatively young point guard with no playoff experience, and therefore James should be allowed an expanded roll in terms of initiating the offense once the playoffs come around.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will both be making their playoff debuts in a couple of weeks, and their inexperience should be no problem for the Cleveland Cavaliers. A team that is led by a veteran such as LeBron James is going to be mentally prepared for a deep playoff run, regardless of the inexperience to Irving and Love. Veterans Shawn Marion, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Mike Miller, and Timofey Mozgov have also had playoff experience in the past, which will help in mentoring the younger guys through the tough playoff atmosphere.