If it isn’t one team in Cleveland, it is always sure to be another. The Cleveland Cavaliers were supposed to be a much improved team and possibly contend for a playoff spot this year. However, they have looked like the complete opposite. In a conference that has looked atrocious all year, they have not taken advantage of any of the opportunities put before them.
Going three overtimes with the Philadelphia 76ers, along with an overtime against the Milwaukee Bucks is not the formula to becoming a contender. With the acquired talent on this team, those should be easy wins. Some fans will blame it on coaching, but as it the adage goes, the coach can only do so much in certain situations. There has also been turmoil amongst the team within the past few months. It has been said that Dion Waiters got into an altercation with players, during a “team” meeting, called by Kyrie Irving.
Waiters complained about not getting the ball enough on offense, and pointed at different players, one which included Tristan Thompson. Thompson took exception to it, and got into Waiters’ face because of it. No punches were thrown, but both had to be separated from each other. This is the main reason trade rumors have been involving Waiters all season thus far. Incidents like these are what divide a team, and stirs them away from the top task, which is win games and play as a cohesive unit.
The Cavaliers are 10-17. They are only two games of the final eighth spot for the playoffs. The eighth spot in the Western Conference is occupied by Golden State, and they are 17-13. Yes, that is how bad the East is this year. They have had chances to close the gap, and even grab a top seed, but alwas seem to fail to do so. Irving has been playing much better since the beginning of the season, however, it has not rubbed off on all of his teammates. Waiters and Thompson are the only players who have played with any type of consistency.
The third spot has been a revolving door all season long. One game it’s Alonzo Gee, then some games its ineffective Earl Clark. There has not been any stability at the position since Lebron James was on the team in 2010. Anthony Bennett is not even playing on the same court as everybody else. He is lost and looks out of place. He is only averaging 2.4 points per game in 21 games played. That is atrocious.
Jarrett Jack off the bench has even taken a few steps back. He was held to a goose egg in the last game against the Detroit Pistons. Anderson Varejao just hasn’t been the same, since suffering knee injuries the last few years. He doesn’t have the energy or hustle that he had in the past, and it painfully shows with each game. Matthew Dellevdova has been a hidden gem for the Cavaliers all season. He is known as the “Mini Varejao,” with his energy, and his ability to play defense in clutch moments.
Andrew Bynum is showing burst of his old self, but then in some games, it is a stuggle for him to get up and down the court. If anything, it is a process with him. However, the team just cannot seem to implement him in the offense effectively, which is hindering his progress. Defensively, it has also been a struggle. With Mike Brown being a defensive minded coach, most would think the players would comprehend his system, but they haven’t. Opposing teams are comfortable getting anything inside, and outside by making the extra pass on cuts. They have to buy into Brown’s concept and become tougher on that end as a unit
Coming into tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, they must be able to defend the wings, especially with Kyle Korver and contain Al Horford and Paul Millsap on the inside, to have a chance to win. They have to get things turned around to keep pace in the terrible playoff race in the East. The “mess,” can easily be turned around with one game. This team has too much talent to be so bad and streaky. There are still numerous games to go, but if the Cavaliers do not get it together soon, it could be too late.