It has now been a few days since the Cavaliers decided to make a change on the sidelines, replacing David Blatt with Tyronn Lue.
Much has been made about Lue wanting the team to play faster, getting up the court before the opposing defenses can get set up, and with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on the roster, that’s a wise move.
The new coach also talked about the team not being “in shape” to play faster, and the media took off with that one. You could tell they want to accuse Blatt of not having his team in shape, being too easy on them.
However, that’s not what Lue said.
Under Blatt, the Cavs started the season playing slower and emphasizing defense, the same style they used in the playoffs last year, a style that was successful in getting them to the sixth game of The NBA Finals.
You can’t fault the former coach with using that system, after all, it worked quite well for the wine and gold in May and June.
If you are used to walking the ball up the floor and controlling the pace, and then are asked to sprint on a regular basis, it’s going to take time to get used to that.
It doesn’t mean David Blatt didn’t get his basketball team in shape to play in the NBA.
And after last night’s win, the first for Lue, over Minnesota, the new coach talked about wanting to play fast with certain players on the floor, but also playing slower when James and Irving are not on the floor.
We were happy to hear that because there are certain times when it doesn’t benefit the Cavaliers to race up and down the court.
One thing that worries us is Cleveland’s obsession with Golden State, the team that beat them in the championship series last summer.
We hope they don’t alter the roster to compete with the Warriors, because doing that could be a problem if let’s say they face San Antonio at the end, which is very much a possibility.
What is strange is the narrative that the Warriors and Spurs play the same style. Yes, they both move the basketball, but the defending champs are more reliant on the three point shot, while the Spurs have a very strong presence in the paint with Tim Duncan, LeMarcus Aldridge, and David West.
So, GM David Griffin and Lue can’t get too Warrior-centric when putting together the roster and style of play for the team, even taking into account Golden State’s 30 point drilling of the Spurs last night.
You run the risk of doing what the Cavaliers did after they lost to Orlando in the conference finals in 2009. They constructed the roster to beat the Magic’s style with Dwight Howard in the middle and a bunch of three point shooters.
The problem was, they couldn’t get past Boston in the second round.
So, you have to stay flexible with the roster in order to beat teams like Chicago, Toronto, and Atlanta in the East. If you can’t beat those teams, you don’t have to worry about Golden State and San Antonio.
In Lue’s comments yesterday, he seems to understand that. Hopefully, Griffin does as well.
Not getting back to The Finals would be more of a failure than anyone can imagine right now.