Since the holiday season is upon on, it seems appropriate to refer to the roster of the Cleveland Cavaliers as the island of misfit toys.
This isn’t to denigrate the talent of some of the players, and really, it is not to rip on GM Chris Grant for his selections in the draft.
Grant’s job is to draft the most talented player available when it is his turn to pick. So, if he thought Anthony Bennett was the best player last summer (and it is way too early to judge otherwise) then you have to take him.
The problem with the roster is it is too heavy in some areas and it needs help in others. Our thought was that Grant could deal from strength to shore up the weaknesses, and he may do that in time, but he can’t wait much longer.
Let’s look at the power forward position. Currently, the wine and gold have four players that are primarily “fours”: Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Earl Clark, and Bennett.
Mike Brown tries to alleviate the problem by playing Varejao at center and Clark at small forward, but they give up a lot (Varejao—size, Clark-quickness) at those spots.
Most NBA teams use two power forwards on the roster, so right now, there is an overload there.
At the small forward, the Cavs have Alonzo Gee, a defensive specialist, and they can play swingman C. J. Miles there as well, although in limited minutes.
Gee doesn’t shoot well enough to be considered a problem for the player assigned to guard him, and Miles doesn’t have the size to be able to guard the elite small forwards of the league, although he is the one Cleveland player who has knocked down open shots thus far.
In the backcourt, the Cavaliers have the centerpiece of the current roster, point guard Kyrie Irving. Irving can score and set up teammates, and if he has a weakness, it’s that he loves his dribble.
It would be one thing if he were moving with the dribble, but more often than not, he’s at the top of the key bouncing the ball and going nowhere.
That could be because of the simplistic offense the coaching staff runs.
The other players who get time in the backcourt (along with Miles) are Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack, both combo guards rather than true off guards. This means both are more effective with the ball in their hands.
However, the coaching staff probably wants the ball in Irving’s hands.
You could have plays where the ball starts in Waiters or Jack’s hands and they set up Irving, but you would have to have something set up for that, and right now that doesn’t look to be the case.
So, the three-headed backcourt doesn’t seem to fit well together right now.
So, the pressure is on Grant to convert his superfluous parts into ones that can help this basketball team win and win now, because although there is talent on the roster, it doesn’t fit together.
There are too many players who have similar games, which is fine if they play at different times, but when you have to play Waiters and Jack at the same time or have Thompson and Varejao on the floor at the same time, it’s a problem.
If this team is going to start winning, this roster may have to be fixed. Grant has to make some moves to get this team to start putting games in the win column.