Two weeks ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers traded a suspended Andrew Bynum for two-time all-star Luol Deng and basketball fans on the north coast were optimistic.
Deng started playing with the wine and gold at the beginning of a five game trip to the west coast, and although they took a horrible blowout loss at the hands of the Sacramento Kings, they went 3-2 on the road (despite going into the trek with just two wins away from The Q), and basketball fans here were optimistic.
Then the Cavs came home for a five game homestand, and promptly lost the first two games, both with disappointing efforts.
That slapped fans of the wine and gold back into reality.
Why this basketball feels it can just show up and win games despite the fact they are 15-27 on the season is baffling. Yet, night after night, they appear to be lackadaisical, fall behind, and then lose to teams they should beat, especially at home.
Something needs to change and quickly, because the season is more than halfway complete.
If the Browns are considered a mess, the Cavs aren’t very far behind.
The playoffs can still be attained, but it is very clear at this point that the roster GM Chris Grant put together and the coach Grant hired do not mix well.
And since the Cavs had the same problems last year under Byron Scott, it looks to be a more player related issue. Although we didn’t like the Brown rehire when it was made, and his offensive concepts are deplorable, it doesn’t seem to be on the coach.
The ridiculous notion that it would be more beneficial to miss the playoffs and re-enter the draft lottery makes you shake your head. It is typical of the “we’ll be good in the future” attitude that surrounds the Browns and permeates the city.
What you will get in the lottery is another player who will need time to develop his game. Yes, it’s a deeper draft, but how many players projected to come out can be expected to start on an NBA team, particularly the Cavaliers, next season?
There will be a couple for sure, so you could make the comment that unless you get a top three pick, you will get another project. And isn’t the Cleveland roster full of guys who need to develop and play better?
That’s another reason Grant should have considered another coach, because Brown has no track record of developing and finishing off players. Have any of the young Cavs improved over last season?
You can’t make a case for any of them.
And the young players don’t seem to be showing a great deal of respect for Brown either, because they clearly aren’t working hard, particularly on the defensive end, which is the coach’s forte.
Look at the way Cleveland’s opponent last night, the Bulls, played. Granted, their roster isn’t filled with young players like the Cavs, but they went out and played hard, played defense, and won even though they were without two starters, and had traded Deng here two weeks ago.
Grant and Brown need to take a good look at the roster and see who fits what they are trying to do, and who doesn’t.
The players who don’t should be moved elsewhere for players who will fit the system. And this needs to be done quickly.
The Cavs aren’t playing any rookies this season. Everyone has been in the league now for at least a year and a half, so the front office should be able to identify whom they can build with.
We understand that with young teams comes inconsistency. But that shouldn’t pertain to effort and defense.
That message isn’t getting through to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Something has to change to make sure it does.