July 22, 2014

On the Cavaliers and the Prospects of a Failed Rebuilding Process

Sometimes you think you know something. And then someone really smart says something that challenges what you think you know, and it makes you look at the subject from an entirely different point of view. And when the context changes, you can sometimes be surprised at what you learn.

I love the WFNY Podcasts that Craig is doing, and by far my two favorite episodes have been the two Brian Spaeth conversations. I don’t know Brian, save for a few Twitter interactions and one email interaction in which he sent me a promotional copy of his movie “Who Shot Mamba?” (which is genuinely funny and really stupid at the same time…it’s great). But I follow him on Twitter and read his website. He has a lot of interesting things to say and generally looks at things from a perspective different from my own.

But what I really remember the most about Brian is his old sports blog, Yay Sports!. Yes, a long time ago (in internet time) Brian wrote this really great basketball blog and I vividly remember reading it, laughing a lot, thinking about basketball from a different perspective, and just being happy that this guy was a fellow Cavs fan. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Shouldn’t Alter Rebuilding Path for the Sake of Making the Playoffs

The Cavaliers still should trade Sessions...for a first round pick

It’s funny to be sitting here a day before the NBA trade deadline and thinking about how a Cleveland trade would impact their own playoff hopes.

It’s true, though. That is the Cleveland Cavaliers’ reality. As of today, Cleveland is 1 game behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. I don’t think anyone ever thought this would be an issue for Cleveland this soon, yet here we are.

With Anderson Varejao now having been out for a month, how did the Cavaliers get here? It’s really a combination of things. First, getting the 8 seed in the East is nothing special. The Cavaliers are 8 games under .500 and yet are 1 game out of the playoffs. If anything, these playoff aspirations are more about the pathetic nature of the Eastern Conference than about any perceived quality of the Cavaliers.

Were they in the Western Conference, the Cavaliers would be in 14th position, five and a half games behind 8th seed Houston. Rather than talking about how exciting the season is and having all this hyperbole about how incredible it is that Cleveland is in the playoff hunt, the talk instead would be just how far the Cavaliers have to go to be competitive with their Western Conference peers. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Shouldn’t Fear the 8 Seed on the Road to Rebuilding

Sometimes it seems like there are a million different ways to analyze a rebuilding team such as the Cleveland Cavaliers. And in analyzing their progress, thoughts naturally turn to projecting future success and how to get there.

Reasonable minds can and do disagree on issues such as whether or not to trade Anderson Varejao. Some fans root for playoff appearances and wins every night.  Some fans root for draft picks. Should the Cavaliers have used amnesty on Baron Davis, or should they have kept Baron as a mentor, used amnesty on Jamison, and traded Sessions? What position should the Cavaliers draft next year? Should the Cavaliers have drafted Derrick Williams and Brandon Knight instead of Irving and Thompson?

The answers to some are more obvious than others, but the point here is that there is no true road map to rebuilding success. Pretty much the only constant is you probably need a very high draft pick, as in top 2 or 3, you better nail that pick, and that pick better turn into a superstar anchor that you can build around. From there, differing opinions prevail. If there was one right answer, everyone would build the same way and every team would be successful. There are no absolutes in this journey, only road bumps that you pray your team is able to handle the right way every time. [Read more...]

Rebuilding Assets: Byron Scott

It might seem somewhat unfair to keep talking about rebuilding and future seasons when we still haven’t yet hit the All-Star Break in the current NBA season. After all, there is still knowledge to be had and lessons to be learned from this season, even as the team sets all kinds of records for futility. It’s difficult when many had higher expectations for this team, but for the Cavaliers, the complete rebuilding process is under way now, whether that was the plan or not.

So it is in that spirit that we begin to find ways to bridge the present with the future, and one of the best ways to pull that off is to consider what rebuilding assets and/or tools the team currently has. We can only project so much without exceeding the margin of error for guessing. So this isn’t about guessing who the Cavs might try to trade for or sign through free agency or select in the upcoming draft. Rather, this is about evaluating what the Cavaliers currently have that the organization can feel good about as we move forward into the great unknown that is the future. [Read more...]

NBA’s Potential Talent Shift is Worthy of the Cavaliers’ Attention

It’s not even the All-Star break yet in the NBA. I’m not sure what exactly a fair expectation would have been for the Cleveland Cavaliers at this point in the season, but “full on rebuild” is something few people thought would set in so soon for this franchise.

Yet, as we mercifully draw ever closer to the end of the brutal December/January schedules and into the slightly more friendly February/March schedules, the discourse surrounding this team centers on one topic and one topic only, rebuilding. Some may have been hoping for talk of trade exceptions and playoff runs, but that scenario turned out to be a mere pipe dream. [Read more...]

Cleveland Cavaliers Can Find Rebuilding Direction in Face of Losing Streak

It’s hard to say if there’s really ever such a thing as a wasted season. I suppose fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers would think back to the 2002-03 season and consider that a wasted season. If you recall, that was the season the Cavaliers hit rock bottom and gained the fortune of winning the draft lottery and the right to draft LeBron James.

Of course, in retrospect, winning that lottery was akin to Hurley from the TV show “Lost” using cursed numbers to win the lottery. Hurley’s “good luck” initially gave him great fortune, ultimately brought him nothing but misery and heartbreak before leaving him stranded on a bizarre island where he had to search for his redemption. It would seem the Cavaliers can relate to that plight these days, as LeBron James brought the franchise nothing but ultimate misery and heartbreak before leaving the team stranded in an isolated wasteland. [Read more...]