With the win last night on the road against the Detroit Pistons the Cavs evened out their early season record to 1-1. Thanks to the free trial of NBA League Pass I was able to watch the game in full again, so for the next two weeks I will get to watch all the games. I’m excited about that, and after last night I feel a little more excitement for the team this season.
I know the Pistons are a bad team, really bad actually, maybe even worse than the Cavs. Given that fact, you can’t put too much stock into the victory. Regardless of the fact that it was the Pistons, it is still a road victory and wins are wins. The team showed quite a bit of good things, things that can be built upon. There were a lot of negatives as well, lots of sloppy stretches that were hard to watch. That first Quarter was tough to stomach, but by the half both teams were playing pretty well. Byron Scott’s offense had good rythm. The defense looked like they coulsd actually communicate and rotate properly.
That was the biggest thing that caught my eye. There was an effort and understanding of the game that just wasn’t there last year. On defense the team tries to get set, they rotate and cover their guy. On offense there was some very nice stretches where the movement off the ball was crisp and the movement of the ball was opening holes for guys and getting open chances. This is encouraging, this is what you want to see from this young team. It gives me hope that this season won’t be completely miserable to watch. Kyrie Irving looked much more in tune the 2nd time around than he did opening night, Ramon Sessions ran the offense very well and looks a lot better as a shooter than last year, already topping his 3-point total from last season.
Tristan Thompson has been the one to impress me the most. Everyone’s knock on him was his lack of an offensive game, but I haven’t seen that yet. He most likely won’t be a knock down shooter, but he works for rebounds on both ends of the court, moves well without the ball and sets good screens. He converts his opportunities with authority inside. He and Samardo Samuels will be a nice pairing at the #4 spot moving forward.
At first I was skeptical about the ten man rotation idea. I am still not fully sold on the idea, but it is growing on me. As you saw the fist two games there was a very even minutes split, which you would think would keep guys from getting into grooves. That hasn’t been a huge problem as of yet, as it seems not many of the players fall into that category of streaky players. The two units play primarily together and have a good chemistry so far, which I think creates a unique problem for most teams to defend. Each unit plays with the same philosophy but has different strengths, which causes a few matchup issues for opposing teams.
This isn’t to say I think the team
is destined for the playoffs, but I think it will be a fun season. There are many concerns moving forward, like how will the ten man rotation play out? Will guys get frustrated with minutes distribution? Can they fix the sloppy play with lots of turnovers? Can they defend bigger teams with better players? Will they be consistent? Stay tuned, I don’t think this will be a miserable team, but they are and will be far from good.