It has been some time since we posted regularly, but life can get in the way sometimes, as can work and all sorts of other things. But none the less, here we are again, attempting to re-kindle our blog with a bit more energy. I may be writing this in the middle of an embarassing home loss to the LeBron’s but I’m going to try and keep it focused on games other than tonights. The timing of it is merely that some of the things I am seeing tonight in one my first chances to watch a full game have inspired me to talk about the team a bit. My brother will have a post going on more about the team’s first 20 games possibly over the weekend, but this is what I have come up with thus far.
7-10 is, well 7-11, is better than most people expected from the Cavaliers through the first 18 games. It is better than many writers and “experts” thought and the prediction they received of 12 wins seems like it is going to be way on the under side. So at least there is that to cling to. The opening night win against Boston after they decimated the Heat was and probably will be the high point of the season. Tonight’s destruction will be the low point. That is something that someone a lot more tactful and less bitter really needs to discuss though. There are however, a set of things that have jumped out at me throughout the first 18 games.
Consistency. Or lack there of. As one could expect the Cavaliers are clearly still reeling from the loss of their star, and the perhaps most importantly the loss of a consistent day in and day out offensive weapon. One the one hand, the Cavs have had the luxury of someone stepping up on different nights every game, but there are several games when no one steps up at all. The leading scorer is Mo Williams, at 15.9 points per game. Not exactly what you’d like to see your leading scorer put up. Perhaps the most consistently un-consistent person that frustrates me to no end is JJ Hickson. Hickson started the season off very well, putting up pretty big numbers, but that has quickly dropped off and led into a very inconsistent performance. He has gone off for as many as 31 points, but been stifled and struggled with a low of 1 point. What bothers me about Hickson’s play so far this year is his 5.8 rebounds per game. He is the Power Forward. He should be able to total more than 5 rebounds a game. It seems when Hickson scores he forgets to defend and rebound, and when he rebounds or defends well he forgets how to play on offense. Until he gets both sides of his game figured out, he, as well as the team, will continue to struggle. Whether the 22 year old is ready or not, it is time for him to step up and start becoming the well-rounded player that this team needs and he has the potential to become.
Ball movement. This is something that Coach Byron Scott’s team does well, and their passing and quickness certainly leads to some open shots and opportunities. On good nights though the team can really take advantage of it. On nights like tonight against a team like the Heat, the Cavs needed to take advantage of those open shots but they did not. Open shots went missed or didn’t even get taken, many times because the wing men or the center up on the block looks to make an extra pass or force one. The team was really thrown off early in the game when Miami came out with a trap defense and the Cavs didn’t know how to respond. What is encouraging about the good ball movement and the clear speed edge that the Cavs have against most teams is that they can, on any night, be competitive with almost any other team in the league. It is part of the reason that they were able to beat Boston, and part of the reason they are only a handful of games under . 500.
Defense. Something that really has been bothering me through the first month. I know that Coach Scott is preaching up tempo, movement offense and that can sometimes give the short end of the stick to the defense, but there is just such a tremendous drop off in how Coach Brown’s teams defended and how the team now defends. It is not that they are bad defensively, as a unit they are not bad, but when it comes to most individuals, they really struggle. Mo Williams is not a very good one-on-one defender, neither is Daniel Gibson or Ramon Sessions. Jamario Moon, Andy, Graham and Anthony Parker are all good defenders, but they are also good team defenders. Outside of those four there aren’t many plus defenders on the roster. There have been so many times that there are missed rotations, botched double teams, someone not stepping up in the lane to stop a driving offensive player. It is just one of the flaws that this team has that is getting under my skin.
Not that I didn’t expect this to be a long 82 game season, I just didn’t think it would bother me so much. I thought I had some closure on the whole LeBron thing, but then he came back to town tonight and it just reminded me how upset I was at the whole situation. I have come to terms with the fact that he is a dumbass, that he is gone, but I am just not used to seeing the Cavs without him yet, and without a star to lead the way. Clearly the Cavaliers have a long way to go to get back to a perennial playoff contender, but it will be fun to watch the team develop and change, hopefully draft well and maybe bring in a few fresh faces that can become the core of the team for years. David Lighty is one guy I would love to see the Cavs pick up in the draft, and how the fan base and the team would be better for it. But that is something to talk about next summer. For now, we all just need to wait and watch the Cavs as they are, and enjoy the ride that is a rebuilding team. Just like the Indians, we need to bear with them. You know what, one of the things I think I am the sickest of is that I can’t even google Cavaliers or Cleveland Sports anything any more without being bombarded with LeBron James crap. It’s getting old.