Why Are There Issues?
A year ago at this time the Cavaliers were surging in the East. They were beating teams like Golden State, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City, while crushing the lesser teams in the Eastern Conference. Adding JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timofey Mozgov brought a fresh look to the team.
The cohesiveness was growing, the selfish play was behind them, and their defense had become one of the best in the league. There was the sense that this team had finally achieved their potential. The Cleveland Cavaliers were playing their best basketball of the season. There was an influx of stories in the national media about how this team was finally coming together. It felt good and you could see the proof in the team’s play on the court.
Now flash forward again to 2016, and look at the media’s attention to this team. It’s not about the cohesiveness, the lack of selfish play, nor is it about the stellar defense. Instead, the Cleveland Cavaliers are finding themselves in a media firestorm. They are getting ripped for not being able to defend against the elite point guards in the NBA, being selfish with the ball, and rumors persist that players want out after the season (including breaking up the Big Three), and whether this team will even make it out of the Eastern Conference.
So what’s gone wrong? What happened to the team that had built such a rapport and made a run to the NBA Finals last season? Is it the pressure to repeat their success? Is it based on the success of the Golden State Warriors (54-5) and San Antonio Spurs (51-9) in comparison? Why is this team so different from the team that finished last year so strongly, with mostly of the same team in tact?
The answer? Guys are putting themselves before the team. The reason that the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs have the success that they have lies in the unselfishness of the players.
That unselfishness isn’t just on the court, it’s also off the court. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, too many players are showing their egos off and on the court. Whether it’s news that Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland and doesn’t like playing next to James, or that James is practicing with Dwyane Wade in Miami. The Cavaliers are adding fuel to their own fire.
What do they need to do to put out the flames?
Next: Keep Your Intentions In Check