The Cleveland Cavalier have been playing sluggish and dropped their third straight loss in a tough schedule. Is it time to panic?
Iggy Gonzales – The Cavaliers will make a finals appearance, that’s 90 percent sure. Admit it or not, no other team in the East can beat the Cavs in a 7-game series come playoff time. Personally, I think one reason the Cavs aren’t performing like they were when they came back from a 3-1 Finals deficit is that they take it slow during the regular season. Sure, Golden State had the best record in history last year, but we all know what happened next. Now, assuming that the Cavs make it back to the Finals for the 3rd straight year against the Warriors, I’m not really sure of their chances considering the mere fact that GSW have Kevin Durant this time around. I’m not saying Durant is a better player than LeBron but, it’s hard to predict the Cavs winning the title. Best guess would be a 4-2 in favor of the Warriors.
The Cavs front office shouldn’t be alarmed or worried in any way. The Cavs are doing just fine. They only need to ensure the core of the 2016 champs remain intact and HEALTHY because one injured player can affect a team’s performance. Is there really a need to shake up the roster? Not really. Kevin Love is healthy and is playing probably the best season of his career (so far). In fact, he’s shooting better than Stephen Curry from the 3-point line. I don’t really think the Cavs need a trade thus far.
Kyle Curry – The Cavaliers have a very different team compared to the rest of the NBA. The way I look at the team, there are three types of players: craving a championship, contributing, and just being there. The “craving a championship” players can go without saying (LeBron, Kyrie, Thompson). It is easy to tell that each and every game they are putting everything they have out onto the floor. The “contributing” players (Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson, J.R. Smith) will get you anywhere from five to ten points a game. The “just there” players (Kay Felder, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Anderson) are more or less out to make sure that the Cavs have the mandatory five men on the court.
One of the key differences between this season and last season is the spread at the top of the statistics. Last season (2015-16), only three players lead the Cavs in the major five categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game. Those three players were LeBron James (who led in points, assists and steals), Kevin Love (lead the team in rebounds), and Timofey Mozgov (lead in blocks). This year, there are five different players that are leading those categories. Kyrie leads points, Kevin leads rebounds, LeBron leads assists, J.R. leads steals, and Tristan leads rebounds. Instead of having LeBron carry the team like he practically did all of the last season it seems as the Cavs are spreading the responsibility.
Personally, if I were in the front office for the Cavs, I would attempt to get rid of some of the players that either do not see much playing time or are not performing as they should. I would dangle Dunleavy, Andersen, and even J.R. as all three of those players combine for less than 15 points per game. The Cavs are not going to be playing the same teams that they played last year. It seems like every team has made major changes to their culture in the off-season. Between the Draft and Free Agency, the Cavs are going to get every teams best every night. The Warriors added Kevin Durant which will aid them in defense as well as their offense. Toronto is only a game and a half out of the lead for the top team in the Eastern Conference and the Bulls are not far behind them.
The Cavs need something exciting to happen to get team morale boosted. It seems as though the Cavs are “coasting” through the beginning quarter of the season which is not something I think anyone would have expected. It is difficult to say what the front office of the Cavs should do with their current situation. I do not think anyone would blame them or call them crazy if they decided to do nothing and see if things will pick up or if they decided to shake up the roster and make some moves.
As far as their Finals hopes, I do not think this will be a repeat performance. The tenth place Indiana Pacers are only 5 games behind the Cavs for first place in the Eastern Conference. That should give you an idea as to how close the race in the east actually is. That could and will more than likely change and there could be a significant gap that shows itself when we get past the All-star Break. I predict that the Cavs will lose in either the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals or Finals and not make it to the NBA Finals period.
It is weird to see the Cavaliers struggle after having such an emotional end to their season last year. When the Warriors made their repeat bid, they started the next season winning their first 24 games. Unless the Cavs take their seasons off of cruise control, there will be no trophies for them this year.
Cam Beattie – Many are starting to speculate as whether or not to panic about the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers during their recent woes. I’m here to tell you these concerns can be put to rest, the Cavs are going to be just fine. First of all LeBron is still LeBron, and is putting together yet another dominant season refusing to show any sign of aging, even at 31. The stats speak for themselves as he is averaging 23.1 points, 9.1 assists, and 7.9 boards a game. The nine assists is probably the biggest stat to look at as LeBron is taking complete control of the offense, looking like a point guard. This has had a wonderful effect on co-star Kyrie Irving who really only has to worry about scoring this season which is what he does best.
At just 24 years young, Kyrie is emerging as a dominant scorer in the NBA averaging 24.7 points a night. With both of these stars clicking together the Cavs have a chance to win back to back titles, but this season there is another star coming into play. Many thought his 5 year, 110 million dollar deal was going to haunt the Cavaliers with his sub-par play over the past two season but it appears as though the Kevin Love of old is back. He finally looks comfortable in red and gold and is back to putting up great numbers. Love is scoring at a rate we haven’t seen since his final campaign with the Timberwolves back in 2015, averaging 21.4 a night to go along with a team leading 10.5 rebounds.
Don’t forget about players like J.R Smith, Tristan Thompson, Channing Frye, and Iman Shumpert who are all continuing to make major contributions to the team in their specific roles. The Cavaliers are a complete team, which is why we do not need to panic after back after three consecutive losses against very good teams in the Bucks, Bulls, and Clippers. The King is still the King and he will find a way to get his troops to the promise land come playoff time en route to playing in his 7th consecutive NBA Finals.