Sep 28, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23), Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) during Cleveland Cavaliers media day at Cleveland Clinic Courts. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Down the Factory Lines with the Cleveland Cavaliers…
It’s Just Pre-Season, but Is 0-5 Reason to Panic?
The turnovers are piling up, the shooting percentages are falling, and big leads are being blown. No, it’s not the post-LeBron James era of Daniel “Boobie” Gibson or Anthony Bennett, but the Cavaliers aren’t showing championship pedigree thus far in the preseason. So should we panic? In the words of Aaron Rodgers and LeBron James last year “RELAX” should be thrown out there. Sure, the overall sloppy play isn’t encouraging, but the thing to remember from the preseason is that this team is trying to fit new parts with old parts. There is Richard Jefferson trying to mesh with Timofey Mozgov and Mo Williams trying to get comfortable with Sasha Kaun. Then there are the injuries. So the team is a work in progress, much like they were at the beginning of last season.
So will the team start 19-20 again? Fighting an uphill battle to return to the top of the Eastern Conference? No, I don’t think they will. I think the team is better prepared going forward with players like Mo Williams, Richard Jefferson, and having Timofey Mozgov to man the center position. The 2015-2016 Cavaliers are a more complete team than the 2014-2015 team. There are backups for starters and backups for the backups. Sure there are the injuries to Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert, but they will be minimized by a true Point Guard like Mo Williams who can play both Point and Off-Guard, while Richard Jefferson spells LeBron and provides depth at the 2-guard as well. There won’t be rotations filled with the likes of Matthew Dellavedova, Shawn Marion, and Joe Harris.
This team will be ready to go by the time they suit up on October 27th against the Chicago Bulls.
Jan 31, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) looks on during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Cavaliers defeated the Timberwolves 106-90. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Rejoice Cavs Fans, Kevin Love’s returning on Sunday
In perhaps the biggest news of the week, it looks like Kevin Love is ready to make his preseason debut on Sunday in Toronto. It feels like a lifetime ago when Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk ripped Love’s arm out of his socket in Game 4 of the first round. Now Love gets ready to make his debut and figure out his new role with the Cavaliers. After a poolside meeting with James in the off-season, and signing a new 5-year deal, it’ll be interesting to see how the Cavaliers incorporate Love back into their game plan. Will he continue to be a spread the floor 4? Or will LeBron and Coach David Blatt find ways to get him the ball inside and in other scoring positions?
Well, barring any setbacks, we should get an idea of what the Cavaliers have planned beginning on Sunday. I don’t expect that Love will play more than 15-20 minutes, but it’ll be interesting to see where he gets most of his shots. Without LeBron on the court, he should take advantage of being the guy the ball goes through on almost every play he’s out there for. So it’ll be up to Blatt and the players around him to get him the ball, let him get comfortable, and pray that his game goes to another level this season. If the Cavaliers are going to win the title, there’s a good chance it’s going to rely on a new offensive flow and what Love’s got to do with it.
Oct 8, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson (24) and head coach David Blatt react to an officials call during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers won 115-114. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Jefferson Is The Player We Need
If last season’s demise in the NBA Finals proved anything, it proved that the Cavaliers needed to get more versatile. The Golden State Warriors were able to throw different lineups and match-ups to off-set the Cavaliers biggest strengths. They could go small, they could go big, and they could go with a combo of the two that still managed to spread the floor. The Cavs had no options.
This year, they have Richard Jefferson. Okay, he’s not the player he was with the New Jersey Nets, averaging 20 points a game and delivering highlights every night, but he’s not Shawn Marion either. He’s more versatile. He’s got the height to be a match-up problem at shooting guard, or fill in for LeBron when he needs a breather. He shoots the 3 at a career 40% clip, and is still athletic enough to play high energy defense.
Do you want a comparison of the player he could be for the Cavaliers this season? How about Andre Iguodala? Just think of the impact Iggy had in the Finals. Richard Jefferson could be that kind of player for the Cavaliers this season.
Next: Ramblings and the Week to Come
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