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
Lots To Be Proud Of
While the feeling around the Cavaliers and the fans might be a bit of panic right now, the fact remains that the Cavaliers are 8-3. After a season opening loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Cavaliers won eight-straight games. There were blow-outs against teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, there were hard fought games against Indiana and Utah, and then there were the two most recent losses. For everything that fans can think of as going wrong in comparison to Golden State’s 11-0 start, the Cavaliers have some positives of their own.
For starters, Mo Williams looks a lot like the guy that ran alongside LeBron James a couple years ago. he’s shooting 3’s well, he’s leading the team from the point, and already has James trust again. The best part of all of it? Williams is proving he’s going be a weapon off the bench when Kyrie Irving returns to the starting lineup. That means that unlike last year, the Cavaliers will have options at not only point, but also at shooting guard. Just imagine an Irving and Williams backcourt to square off against the likes of Curry and Thompson? It could be a splash off against the “Splash Brothers.”
Then there’s the adjustment of getting Kevin Love more touches in the offense. Last season, it seemed like Love was only a 3-point threat. Too often he was left standing in the corners waiting for a shot attempt while Irving or James broke down the defense and looked to get inside. Now Love’s cutting to the hoop, getting the ball in the low post, and earning James’ trust as a go to player late in games. While last year’s criticism was that Love was out of shape, this season he seems to be back to the player he was in Minnesota. Seriously, find some YouTube highlights of Love’s game in Minnesota, and you’ll see that he’s more comfortable in being that player this season.
Thank LeBron’s poolside chat with Love this off-season for that. I think the two really hashed it out as to what they expected of each other this season.
Finally, this team is far from the team that was 19-20 last season. While this team has a few struggles to overcome, the fact that remains is that all of the pieces are here. The ones that aren’t quite ready to play yet are giving way to a deeper bench than last season. Players like Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson are much better players than Dellevadova playing full time back-up or Shawn Marion. Then have you noticed that Anderson Varejao rarely sees the floor anymore? While I find it curious, I think the end game is to keep him healthy for the stretch run. Most of his injuries in prior years occurred early in the season, and the Cavs don’t need him in November, they’ll need his versatility in April through June. The team is deeper, and they are an overall improved team from last season. I’d rather take stories about free throw shooting woes and defensive lapses over stories about LeBron James’ effort night in and night out along with Kevin Love’s struggles to fit in. It’s a bit better narrative to take, and 8-3 proves that.
This team isn’t there just yet, but they will be. They’re better, but they’re not the best they’ll be. The best is yet to come for this team.
Well, that’s all for this week’s edition of the Cleveland Cavaliers Factory Lines… Until next week, we’ll keep a close eye on what happens each and every night of what we hope is another run to the NBA Finals and a Championship caliber season!