The NBA Finals are surprisingly noncompetitive, especially over the last 2 games. In a series of what was assumed to be the 2 best teams in the league the San Antonio Spurs are dominating the Miami Heat in a way highly unexpected. Many believed that if the Spurs were to win the series it would be a hard fought, back and forth series. A 3-1 lead was only expected if it was the Heat, with their Big 3, including the best player in the league in LeBron James, imposed their will on the aging Spurs. That has not played out.
For the Cleveland Cavaliers that leads to the question of how the results of the Finals could impact them? Most professional sports league are copycat leagues. The Seahawks won with big corners and good safety play, so Jarius Byrd gets a huge contract in the off-season. The Heat put together a Super Team so Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and others try to force their way to another team. So lets take a look 3 ways how the NBA Finals may impact the Cavaliers:
The Cavs have been linked to a number of coaches, including recent reports that they have reached out to Mark Jackson. As Dan Gilbert and David Griffin see the success of the Spurs could they look for a coach who fits more of that mold? Could they have interest in another young Spurs assistant? Does the lack of success impact the reported interest in Heat assistant David Fizdale? Do some of the comments Jackson has made on the Finals coverage, some of which are laughable, some that are deep, impact his candidacy for the good or the bad?
The one thing that should be clear to the Cavs front office is that a coach who will put in a system that is sustainable over time, not dependent on certain players, should be a priority. The Spurs have made Patty Mills, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner and the like threats in their offense and have covered up their inadequacies on defense. A coach needs to have the ability to do all of that. Unlike in the NFL with the 53 man roster, an NBA coach is responsible for 12 players and should be able to run the entire team on both sides of the ball.
The Spurs have a bunch of role players that, when put in the right system, can make an impact. The type of player they have all have 1 specific skill: Passing. Obviously the system they run is important but having players who can and will pass are vital to a successful team. Isolation players, like Carmelo Anthony, allow a defense to get set, turn their attention and stay aggressive. When players and the ball are moving defenses are on the heels and have to be responsive. Similar to a cornerback in the NFL, who always has to respond to the receiver, NBA defenses struggle when they have to constantly move.
Whether it is in the draft, free agency or trades the Cavs need to find some players who feel comfortable with the ball in their hands and willing and able to pass the ball. Of the 3 players the Cavs could target in the NBA Draft at #1, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, Embiid shows a keen ability to pass for his position. Wiggins has some ability but his struggles dribbling doesn’t denotes that he needs to work on his ball handling overall. Parker’s style hasn’t been one of ball movement and would probably rank last in passing. The second trait noted from the Spurs is one we know Griffin has emphasized, shooting. Finding shooters who can and will pass will be huge.
It would be remiss if we didn’t mention James here. If the Heat go down in 5 or 6 games and his supporting cast continues to look similar to those he had in Cleveland, James will have more reason to look to move on. The Cavs are an obvious spot for him to look to move on to. Could he see Kyrie Irving in Tony Parker‘s role, Dion Waiters in the Manu Ginobli role, himself as himself and Joel Embiid as a young Tim Duncan? Those players, along with the youth and depth on the bench, could make for a young team for James to join with and take the burden off of his shoulders. Take a look at the comparison of James’ old Cavs team and his current Heat team:
An interesting subplot is the Heat still owe the Cavs a pick. Starting next year the Cavs can get the Heat’s pick if it falls out of the Top 10. If James leaves and comes to Cleveland, and the Heat struggle in their first year without him, James could help the Cavs get to the post-season while helping the Cavs also get a Lottery pick from the Heat. Talk about a Win-Win.
How do you think the NBA Finals should impact the Cavs?