The Cleveland Cavaliers lost the NBA Finals last night, dropping Game 5, 129-120, thus losing the series, four games to one.
Now, comes the silly season for the NBA and their fans. The draft, which the Cavaliers currently will not be part of, is in two weeks, and then the free agency period starts.
The first thing the Cavs’ front office will do, and we say the front office, because GM David Griffin is currently without a contract, is act without emotion, something fans cannot and will not do.
This particularly pertains to Kevin Love, who is consistently the team’s whipping boy for the fans. If the wine and gold do not win, it is obviously Love’s fault.
However, Love averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds, and two steals in The Finals, shooting 39% from behind the three point line. And he had the best defensive rating on the team.
This is not to say Love should not be traded. Our belief is anyone can be traded if the return in right.
For example, right now, no one would want to deal Kyrie Irving, correct? But if New Orleans called and offered Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, you’d make the trade.
Kevin Love is a top 25 player in the NBA, if you move him, you have to get somebody who’s a better player. And that’s not easy to do.
You would have to replace Love’s size (he’s the only other offensively skilled big man on the team besides LeBron James), his three point shooting, his rebounding (he led the Cavs), and his passing.
Good luck with that.
What the Cavaliers need to do is upgrade their bench to contend with the Warriors, because Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, and Deron Williams provided little in The Finals.
Those four contributed just 49 points combined in the five contests. Compare that to the 97 points supplied by Andre Iguodala, Shawn Livingston, and David West. You can make a very good argument that this is where the series was lost.
We believe Cleveland needs to get longer and more athletic on the bench. By longer, we mean players who are in the 6’6″ to 6’9″ range, with quickness and the ability to make an open shot.
Yes, they should be looking for “three and D” players.
Derrick Williams, who was missing against Golden State, would seem to be an ideal player. It is a little curious that Tyronn Lue didn’t find a role for him in The Finals.
When Cleveland had a great record in February, Williams was a key contributor.
This is not to hammer on Lue, who did a solid job considering he wasn’t getting anything from his non-starters.
We would guess some of the roster changes will come naturally. James Jones will probably retire, and he may be joined by Richard Jefferson, who hinted at doing so last season.
Will Deron Williams return, and what about Frye and Korver. The latter two provide shooting, so they would be useful, but they should be in a diminished role.
Also, Tristan Thompson needs to be more of an offensive player. He must develop a reliable shot from ten feet out so defenses have to pay attention to him.
As we said previously, the front office needs to step away for a few days, while the emotion of losing is still raw, and make decisions to get back to The Finals with a chance to win a title.
It could be an interesting summer at Quicken Loans Arena.