Jan 14, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters (3), center Anderson Varejao (17), small forward Luol Deng (9) and point guard Kyrie Irving (2) walk off the court in the fourth quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Cleveland Cavaliers won 120-118. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Power of Three


After last night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors the Cleveland Cavaliers are on a 3 game losing streak, following a 6 game winning streak. Spencer Hawes, the big trade deadline acquisition, has played well providing scoring, rebounding and spacing for the team yet the loses are still real. Luol Deng seems earth bound due to his Achilles, Jarrett Jack looks like he should of been shipped out for a sack of socks (used would of been okay) and the players are putting in hard long minutes with nothing to show for it. Today we look at the Power of 3 and the role it may be playing.

Psychologically

Three is often a big psychological number. Someone who is on their third marriage tends to try to make it work more then someone on their first or second. Getting divorced 3 times is a far bigger deal then twice. Most people find their first long term success in their third job. The third child often is a good time to stop for most families. Three years into a job, a church, a organization tends to be the deciding time of being invested or moving on. NFL Drafts are evaluated best after 3 years, and wide receivers tend to blossom in their third year. In the NBA 3 game winning and losing streaks tend to be the norm and players tend to hit their stride in year 3. For teams after 3 wins they have a unconscious expectation of returning to the norm as well as a general let down. After 3 loses the opposite takes place and there is a higher likelihood of a victory.

Dion Waiters

#3 Dion Waiters plays an important role for the Cavs. Anyone who wanted him traded this year should now be back tracking. Not that he is an amazing player who has turned the corner, its possible, but the team has a dire need of him. His creativity, his aggressiveness and his talent are missing greatly right now on offense. The team has struggled to create a shot and to get the other team on its heals. Shooting percentages have been low, both as a team and individuals, which comes mostly from a team taking jumpers or contested shots. Waiters creativity helps combat this. #3 also takes pressure off of Kyrie Irving. While both Waiters and Irving like the ball in their hands, having each other lessens the load physically and emotionally. When one is having an off night they can set each other up. Without #3 in the lineup Irving’s minutes are high and Jack gets more time on the floor. Both are bad things.

3 of 8/9

The Cavaliers are missing 3 of their top 8 or 9 players in Waiters, Anderson Varejao and CJ Miles. While Varejao’s minutes have been sopped up by Hawes, his activity, defense and leadership has been missing. Andy has knack for cutting, getting in position and hitting shots from the foul line. While we touched on Waiters in the second point, Miles is another guard missing who contributes regularly to the backcourt production. Miles has games that he can’t miss from the 3 point line, and the threat of him opens up the offense often. Miles is also adept at taking the ball to the rim, though his inability or unwillingness to pass cause problems, he is an aggressive offensive player. Take 3 of the top 8 or 9 players off any team and the team will suffer. Take 1 of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh plus Mario Chalmers and Birdman Anderson off the floor and the Heat are sure to drop some games. Same for the Pacers, Spurs and the rest of the NBA. To expect the Cavs to continue to succeed with these 3 out is unrealistic.

Which power of 3 is most problematic? This writer guesses many choose either the 2nd or 3rd reason, minimizing the strength of players minds. As a counselor I’ve seen how powerful the mind can be, both for good and bad. 

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