Last year, when all the hullabaloo from the national media was going on about the Golden State Warriors, we said we would escape the noise until if or when the Cavaliers had to play them in the NBA Finals.
Now that they have signed Kevin Durant as a free agent, we will comment about them now, and then ignore them again until if or when the wine and gold have to play them in a playoff situation, which, of course would be the rubber match between the two franchises for an NBA Championship.
Many national pundits are conceding the 2016-17 title to the Warriors while wondering if they can go 82-0.
Basketball doesn’t work that way. It will be interesting to see who’s game or shots are altered by Durant’s arrival, and how it affects the player who will get less looks.
Since Stephen Curry is the two time MVP, our guess is that Klay Thompson and Draymond Green will have to change the way they currently play, and how will that play out.
And to fit Durant’s salary in, the Warriors will have to sacrifice the roster depth they’ve had over the past two seasons. This means more minutes for the starters.
We saw how the extra playoff minutes took a toll on Curry during The Finals, and will it take a toll on the remaining squad if all of them have to play two to three minutes per game over an 82 game season.
And don’t forget, an injury could derail the best laid plans of Golden State too.
What should the Cavs do to combat the Warriors move?
There isn’t much they can do, because of salary cap constraints, but with the limited resources they do have, we would look for another wing defender (preferably someone 6’7″ or 6’8″) who can have shooting range.
Kind of a smaller version of Channing Frye.
Remember that there are players on bad teams, non-playoff teams that when used in the right situation can be a perfect fit on a club with championship aspirations.
Before LeBron James came back to Cleveland, people were upset with Tristan Thompson, because at that point, he was the second best player on the team, and was limited offensively.
But when the Cavs became a title contender, Thompson’s skills of being able to defend smaller players out on the floor, and his ability to get offensive rebounds were invaluable to the wine and gold.
So, now that Thompson is the fourth or fifth best player on the roster, he is regarded as a very good player.
The same is true with Matthew Dellavedova, who parlayed his contributions the last two seasons into a $38 million contract with Milwaukee.
When he was a rookie, we wondered aloud why Mike Brown kept putting him into games. He was a solid defender, but at that point didn’t have a reliable jump shot and wasn’t a particularly good ball handler.
However, on the James-led Cavs, Delly’s defensive skills and gritty play earned him minutes. He improved his jump shot too, and became a solid threat from beyond the arc.
It will be interesting to see how he plays with a team that will probably be in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference next season.
So, there are guys in the league who could come here and be very productive in the Cavaliers’ situation.
We trust in GM David Griffin’s ability to find those guys.
As for the Warriors, they will be the story in the regular season, much like they were this year.
We know how it all turned out in the end.