Shawn Marion Gives Cleveland Cavaliers Edge in Eastern Conference

Cleveland Cavaliers Sign Shawn Marion Now Best East Team

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like the Miami Heat have struck out again in regards to adding legitimate bench depth at the wing. Free agent SF Shawn Marion has made a commitment to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, so he will travel east to join Mike Miller and James Jones on Cleveland’s ever-strengthening bench. Marion was not short of NBA suitors as the Heat, Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Clippers were all after his services, but it’s clear that the opportunity to play with LeBron James was an offer that he just could not pass up.

In Miami, general manager Pat Riley was given way too much credit for the Heat’s four-year successful run for using his “silver tongue” when it came to negotiating down salaries with veteran players of value. By that reasoning, one should conclude that Cavs GM David Griffin is on a whole other level, as Cleveland has clearly been the destination of choice for the best FA “got game geezers” and All-Star power forwards in this 2014 offseason.

I think the clear lesson here is that James is the common denominator in any scenario, and today’s NBA is definitely a players’ league where relationships from player-to-player and world-class talent are what builds dynasties — not smooth-talking, fan-worshiped GMs with a championship pedigree.

Marion’s impending signing will take Cleveland over the top in their quest for Eastern Conference supremacy. The Cavs desperately needed to help James out on the perimeter by strengthening their defense with a veteran bench player who could guard wing players and power forwards in a far more effective manner than what Shane Battier put out for the Heat over his final two seasons as a pro.

They just solved that problem with Marion’s addition, and now the Chicago Bulls should be on red alert. In regards to their bench, the Bulls only have second-year player Tony Snell as a perimeter defensive weapon, but Snell’s pitiful offensive game and inexperience in the league will nullify his presence on the court against elite opposition this season.

Snell played 16 MPG last year for Chicago and appeared in 77 games, but his woeful 38.4 field goal percentage and his paltry 4.5 PPG will have to drastically improve with a lot of hard work this summer. Otherwise, the Bulls will have to continue to keep SG Jimmy Butler on the floor for an absurd amount of minutes. Which unfortunately, has been all too often the case for their starting wings over the past few years, and SF Luol Deng wasn’t taking “less” money in Chicago to log those types of minutes anymore.

Marion may be 36 years old, but he can still contribute on the offensive end with his ability to get up and down the floor in transition, knock down threes and clean up missed shots on the offensive glass. Defensively, he proved that he could still guard PFs and rebound on the Dallas Mavericks last season, as he averaged as many RPG as Chris Bosh did for the Heat last year (6.5 RPG). He really is a Swiss Army knife of all sorts, and if Dion Waiters, Mike Miller or Tristan Thompson struggle with their defensive assignments, Marion will slide right in to get the job done properly.

Don’t call the Cavaliers Miami 2.0. This is Cleveland 2.0, and James’ commitment to excellence is the only bargaining chip that seems to successfully lure in the veteran talent.

Walton Yeboah-Amoako is an NBA writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on Twitter @WaltYeboah, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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  • crygdyllyn

    “Marion’s impending signing will take Cleveland over the top in their quest for Eastern Conference supremacy.”…..What stupidity. This writer obviously knows little of basketball.
    1. I cannot think of one time where a bench player puts a team “over the top”. Marion is good addition, but does not solve Cavs biggest weakness.
    2. Snell was one of the best shooters in summer league, shooting 50% from 3 pt land. He is 10 lbs heavier, and is a supreme defender. Butler/Snell will drag LBJ down.
    3. The Bulls have no big flaws. The Cavs have a HUGE flaw. The Cavs have no interior defense. Love and Varejao are the worst defending starting big men in the league. They could not defend in the WNBA or a high school team. They are that bad. Noah, Gasol, Taj, Mirotic will eat them alive. Oh, you have Erik Murphy. We drafted him. We fired him. Fired John Lucas III. Fired Malcolm Thomas. The Cavs are playing with Bulls rejects. LOL

    Being a flawed team, the Cavs will not win 50 games this year. The Bulls will win over 60, and be top seed.
    By the All-Star bream, everyone will be wondering “What happened to the Cavs?, “Has LeBron lost his magic?”, “Why isn’t the “big 3″ of Kyrie, LBJ, and Love working?”
    When it happens, I will tell you why it didn’t work, and will never work.

  • crygdyllyn

    Continuing…
    How is LeBron going to react when he realizes that the other members of his “big 3″ don’t know how or want to defend?
    Bosh and Wade were great defenders. Love is horrible at defending. Kyrie is so-so. Kyrie is young and may improve with the new coach. Love, though, is a veteran, and he will not be getting better. He is what he is.

    Now, if the Cavs could get a great defending center to play next to him, like Tyson Chandler (also ex-Bull), then the Cavs may have a chance.
    Love needs great defenders at C and SF spots to hide his shortcomings. LeBron is great defender. So, if the Cavs got a defending center, then all my criticism will be negated. I do not see that happening, though.

    I respect LeBron as a talent, and as a player. I don’t like him, though, and I want to see him lose. I cheer for each team he plays against.

  • Mick McMickenson

    “They just solved that problem with Marion’s addition, and now the Chicago Bulls should be on red alert. In regards to their bench, the Bulls only have second-year player Tony Snell as a perimeter defensive weapon, but Snell’s pitiful offensive game and inexperience in the league will nullify his presence on the court against elite opposition this season.”

    I’m sorry, but I didn’t realize Shawn Marion is an elite player.

    • Mick McMickenson

      No offense to The Matrix…