Mark Stein is out with his weekly NBA Power Rankings and the Cleveland Cavaliers have rose 2 spots. The Cavaliers now rank 24th overall but the interesting thing about Stein’s Cavalier ranking is the comment section which states:
As much as you can with guys who play 34.5 and 28.3 minutes per game, respectively, Cleveland is trying to keep Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters from being thrown together in the same lineups. The effort seems to be working to some extent, too, judging by the Cavs’ 4-2 start to December.
A very interesting statement that a national media member believes the team is attempting to keep the two apart. Many can assume that Stein is working on old information, the supposed fight during a team meeting, in making inference that the two guards are being kept apart. It is very possible that the two don’t mix. Irving’s Duke polish and Waiters Philadelphia swagger may be like oil and water as personalities.
It is also possible that their actual on the court basketball games don’t always compliment each other, especially at this young stage of their careers. Both like to be ball dominant, drive to the hole and control the game. Being separated lets each take control during different stages of the game. This has been especially effective during stretches of the 3rd and 4th quarters when Irving needs a break. Unlike last year when the offense went into a coma, Waiters now aggressively has led the charge keeping the Cavs in the game, getting them back into the game or extending the lead.
As they grow and develop together, and their games age, the two should be able to find ways to work better together on the court. Learning how ball and player movement can open each other up. Seeing when one is hot and the other is struggling. Having awareness of where each likes to get on the floor. While not yet comparable in talent this is similar to the struggles Lebron James and Dwayne Wade had coming together in Miami, and we all know how that turned out.