The Cleveland Cavaliers, just a few weeks ago, created excitement among the fan base that they may be able to pull off a miracle and improbable playoff run. Instead a loss to the Atlanta Hawks started the downward spiral that continued with a loss to the playoff bound Charlotte Bobcats. The Cavs destroyed the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday only to then have their playoff hopes killed later that night with a Hawks win.
Following their elimination the Cavs had games against 2 cellar dwellers in the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. They also would face the Brooklyn Nets in the final game of the season, a game that the Nets could decide to rest their starters. The Cavs could of ended this #SeasonOfHuh with a 4 game winning streak and hopes for the future.
Instead the Cavs laid 2 eggs, giving up 119 points to the Bucks and losing by 12 to the Celtics in a game that Mike Brown benched Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters for the 4th quarter. Hope for the last game, whether against backups or starters, should be low. Instead of ending with a bang and hope for next season, like the Washington Wizards did last year, the season ends with a splat. Should Cavs fans be concerned or not?
The Cavs should be concerned as a the young players seemed to have given up on playing defense, playing together as a team, taking pride in their play and may have tuned Mike Brown out. Long term these are character issues, not talent issues. The Cavs team is far more talented then either the Bucks or Celtics, in fact more talented then many teams they lost to this year. Yet talent can only take you so far in the NBA. Playing together, within a system and buying in to a team concept is vital.
Unlike golf, a individual sport, basketball is far more then talent. Even in golf the mental side of the game is high level priority. In the NBA how a player thinks and reacts often dictates his success or failure. For the Cavaliers, full of young players, it is this area that needs to be developed, and quickly. It is true that winning begets winning and covers a multitude of sins. Yet without the proper mental makeup the team is just a group of talent without cohesion, without the character it takes to learn and grow.
Not a Concern
The Cavs shouldn’t be concerned about young players being greatly impacted and let down when their playoff hopes were dashed. Instead it is a sign of how much they cared about that goal, even if it didn’t show throughout the season. Young players are far more emotional and need time to develop the stability in their lives to improve their mental makeup. This is true for young players, but also true in yours and my life. Adding a veteran or two with a winning history, and a vocal leader, should help.
The Cavs also shouldn’t be concerned as this is a team almost trained to lose. Once out of the playoff race often Cavs fans have rooted for the team to lose. The team also historically rested players who were only slightly injured, showing that the late games didn’t matter. The team hoped that culture would change with wins and playoff aspirations. This was seen when the team reeled off 5 of 6 wins straddling March and April. When the games seemed to matter the Cavs players seemed to step their game up. Playing winning basketball changes everything. Besides with 1 more loss the Cavs are no worse then tied for 8th worst record, and better lottery odds.
Which camp do you sit in? Concerned or Not Concerned? What will change the fortunes of the team? Another lottery pick? A solid veteran? A new coach?
Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers