It’s the first month of the new year and once again there is drama and anxiousness regarding the city’s professional basketball team.
When you think about it, this has become an annual rite of passage.
In 2015, the team endured LeBron James missing two weeks to basically refresh his body. The Cavs actually dropped below the .500 mark at one point (19-20), and then GM David Griffin traded Dion Waiters and some draft picks for JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timofey Mozgov and the team took off.
Oh, and there was the team bonding bowling trip then coach David Blatt took his squad on.
That team went on to win the Eastern Conference and ultimately lose to Golden State in the NBA Finals.
2016 brought the blowout loss to the Warriors on Martin Luther King Day and the shocking firing of Blatt with the Cavs sitting at 30-11 for the season.
It was a bold move by Griffin, and it turned out to be the right move as well, as the wine and gold went on to win its first NBA title.
So why would you think 2017 would be any different? Apparently, the title doesn’t change everything.
The Cavaliers are going through their first rough patch of the season, losing three of six on a west coast trip and then losing to New Orleans and Sacramento.
The defense has been non-existent and the foul shooting deplorable.
And then LeBron James made comments about the roster and it has been reported that he and owner Dan Gilbert are at odds about the money being spent on improving the roster.
Yep, it’s January alright.
We understand James’ comment about the roster and we believe he is talking more to his teammates than he is to the front office. He is saying that the players can’t continuously look to himself, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love to get things done.
The rest of the team has the ability to make some things happen and they need to step it up.
James keeps talking about another point guard, or playmaker as Griffin says, and we feel another inside defensive presence is a more pressing need. Right now, Tristan Thompson is the only quality interior defender on the roster, and the team certainly could use another big man.
As for the discussion with the owner, we are sure James wants to make sure the luxury tax, of which the Cavs are paying a ton, isn’t a deterrent to defending the title.
James has to believe that the Warriors, Spurs, and any other contenders will add to their roster by the trade deadline, and to be sure, he wants assurances Griffin will not be hamstrung by tax concerns.
But the current roster has to play better too. It seems like a little complacency has set in and right now, the wine and gold have been playing sloppy–too many turnovers and laziness on the defensive end.
They are getting every team’s best shot as the defending champions, and they aren’t responding.
That’s not something Griffin and/or Gilbert can fix. It must come from within the locker room.
We would start by putting Kyle Korver in the starting lineup and putting everyone else back into the roles they were in before Smith went down with his injury.
We would also start giving some minutes to Kay Felder and Jordan McRae, thus cutting back on playing time for James, Irving, and Love.
We may see that as soon as tonight.
Right now isn’t the time to panic. It’s just a normal January for the Cavaliers.