Proof that the Cleveland Cavaliers have become out-and-out dysfunctional is that you can make a case that the problems lie with GM Chris Grant, coach Mike Brown, and the players.
If it were just a matter of not having talent, then you can blame the GM. However, there is talent, but it is duplicated at certain positions. For the Cavs, it seems to be centered at the point guard and power forward spots.
While Grant may have picked the most talented players that were available at the slots they were taken, and you can make that argument at the time of the draft, he didn’t follow through on dealing the excess of talent at one spot to fix a hole at another position.
There is no question that Kyrie Irving, Luol Deng, Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson can play in this league. Unfortunately, they clearly do not fit together on the court, and dealing one of them for a shooter would be in the best interests of the wine and gold.
When Byron Scott was fired as Cleveland’s head coach after last season, Grant brought back his friend, Mike Brown to handle the reins.
Brown got the job despite having no real track record of developing young talent. The teams he coached in Cleveland and Los Angeles were veteran laden squads.
He returned to the north coast based on his reputation as a defensive minded coach. His offensive schemes were poor in his first go-round here and there is no evidence that anything has changed.
So, predictably, none of the Cavalier young players, most of the roster is made up of second and third year players, have shown any progress from last season. Even Irving, rookie of the year and an all-star in his second season, has seemed to have plateaued this year.
And remember, the Cavs had the first overall pick in last summer’s draft. Brown has never showed any inclination to play rookies, so Anthony Bennett has been anchored to the bench for much of the season.
Brown’s offensive set is for players to take their man off the dribble and force the opposing defense to help. That worked when the best player on the team is LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, both of whom are significantly bigger than Irving.
There is little screening away from the ball and virtually no movement away from the ball on many possessions.
This morning, The Plain Dealer’s Bud Shaw opined that the front office needs to show Brown is in charge. While that’s true, it would also help if Brown showed he was in charge.
We wrote earlier in the season, that with the coach being fired twice, he should have come in with a “doing it my way” approach. He seems too nice of a man to be the hammer the young Cavs need.
Which brings us to the players. Yes, they are young and inexperienced for the most part, but it doesn’t appear they are all that upset with all of the losing. It has come to light that this upsets newcomer Deng, who must be shaking his head at the lack of interest his teammates show from night-to-night.
The players are feuding in the locker room, and there seems to be an individualistic approach to the game for many of the young players.
Shouldn’t that have been thought of when they were drafted?
That brings us back to Grant, the beginning point of this vicious circle.
There is plenty of blame to go around for this edition of the Cleveland Cavaliers. How it gets fixed will be very important for the future of this franchise.
There will probably be changes in all three phases of the organization.