By: Opinionated MJ
Yeah I said it. The Cleveland Cavaliers WILL NOT make it to this years NBA Finals. I don’t see it right now. Of course, I’m human, I could be wrong but I’m believing what I’m seeing right now from their team and that isn’t much. My thoughts all stem from their behavior with the media and from their leader, LeBron James. It isn’t the behaviors of a contending team. This team is doomed to fail unless they hit a hot streak over the last 15 games of the season and win their last 13 of 15 games on the way to the playoffs. Even if that happens, there is still a level of trust and chemistry that has to be built in order to be able to execute precise plans on teams in the playoffs where every game becomes a chess match.
There’s not enough time to fix this and I’ve been watching some of the Cavs games this season and I must admit that I don’t “feel” their presence when they play other teams. Last year they were very imposing when I watched them play other teams. This season, those same teams have certainly grown and aren’t scared of LeBron or playing like they believe the Cavs are the superior team. It’s not going to take much to knock Cleveland off in my honest opinion but there’s still dealing with LeBron James at the head of this monster. HE can operate WITHOUT Kevin Love & Kyrie Irving. I’ll talk about that in another post. Right now, I’ll speak in respect to what I think could get Cleveland back. Sorry Coach Lue, but here’s my plan.
- Make LeBron the primary PG (not point-forward) and put Kyrie at the 2, ASAP! Let LeBron set the pace and let Kyrie be a somewhat 1st option scoring.
- Have Kevin Love as a facilitator/scorer type like Pau Gasol was on the Lakers. Place him at the elbows like they planned but let the offense RUN THROUGH HIM! This puts him in position to move into post position and kick to a slashing LeBron or Kyrie, drop in to Mozgov/Thompson, or pass to one of those old shooters they’ve got sitting around on their bench. This would also allow Kevin to work with the bench unit. He’d help them succeed often.
- Play LeBron off the ball more to begin sets because he’s a bigger threat off the ball. He can bring it up the floor and look for a quick score or get it to Kevin. I just think of how the Spurs play him when he’s handling the ball. When the playoffs come around, he’ll see more teams honing in on him to try to destroy anything the Cavs can do.
- Make Kyrie pass the ball more times than not OR make him run with the second unit more often. Again, LeBron can run this team alone.
The Cavs are more defensive without Kevin & Kyrie. I highly doubt they would’ve held a slower burning candle to the Warriors in the playoffs with those two on the floor. Maybe the focus of last year and momentum would’ve upheld them and forced a game 7, but we still would’ve had the same outcome. I think there are a few REAL threats and a few darkhorse threats to the Cavs in the postseason. ALL of 2-8 is a threat. The REAL threats are the Heat, Raptors and Celtics. The darkhorse threats are Chicago, Detroit, Indiana, and Charlotte. I won’t put Atlanta in this conversation cause they have yet to honestly be a true threat without having a defensive wing like Demarre Carroll there any longer, he’s a Raptor now. I’ll keep this short, if the playoffs started today, the Cavs would be bounced in round 2 by the Heat. Yeah, I said that too!