This year the Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the biggest disappointments of the 2013-2014 NBA season. This is a very young team with little experience. But this team has a lot of potential and should be playing better then their 19-33 record. The team is performing so poorly because of many reasons. These reasons consist of mainly poor playing of the players themselves, poor coaching, and also poor management. As you could have realized, the Cavs organization is not looking good, but this can change, and it seems like they might be in the right direction.
There is always a main reason for something not to be working ideally. For the Cleveland Cavaliers the main reason for this season being a complete bust is the players not playing to their potential. It is almost that simple. It is not the only reason but it is a big reason. The Cavaliers are one of the youngest teams in the NBA. They also have one of the most electric players in the NBA in Kyrie Irving. Kyrie Irving this season has been named the Eastern All-Star starter at point guard in only his third year. Just from that alone, this should be enough for you to be confident that this is not Irving’s fault. But this is not necessarily true. Kyrie Irving is a great player and is clearly the Cavs centerpiece of their organization, but he could be taking this role better. Here is how:
Irving is the point guard of this team. Point Guards are supposed to run the offense and are supposed to be an extension of the coach on the floor. Neither of these things Irving does very well. While he is on the floor, the ball movement of the entire team seems to stop. Kyrie seems to just want to make highlight plays and dribble to get himself open. Yes this is great for the NBA because this is what fans want to see, but this doesn’t make a team win. Without good ball movement, it will be hard for a team to take good open look shots. The easier the shot is, the more likely the shot will go in the basket, which is the main objective in basketball. Kyrie is great at doing all of these things for himself. But if he wants to see improvement of this team, he needs to start getting the entire team involved in the offense. Now Irving is not the only problem of this team either. Many others share the blame as well.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were able to attract decent players during the past offseason and the season to Cleveland because they are able to see the potential in this team. Some of these players include Jarrett Jack, Earl Clark, and Luol Deng (midseason pickup via trade). All of these players since joining the Cavaliers have been disappointing. Jarrett Jack was brought to the Cavs to help Kyrie Irving develop, produce off the bench, and also be a locker room leader to the team. Basically none of these things have happened with Jack this year. Irving hasn’t developed into the player people thought he would be this year. Jack has almost been non-existent in the Cavs offense this season. And finally, he doesn’t to be the same leader he has shown in the recent years of his career. It seems that the Cavaliers locker room is a mess because of the lack of veteran locker room presence, which Jack was supposed to introduce to this team this season and the next few to come. Earl Clark was brought to this team this season because he was productive off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Clark has almost done nothing for this team. There isn’t much to say about a player only averaging five points a game. You can just see that he doesn’t contribute to this team much. The other main piece that was added this year for the Cavaliers was Luol Deng. Deng was brought to the Cavs during the season in a trade with the Chicago Bulls. The main piece the Cavs sent to the Bulls was Andrew Bynum. Which if you followed the NBA season this year, you know how that worked out (Bynum was cut days after the trade was executed by the Bulls and Cavs). Deng is known for his great two-way play in the NBA. This is still the fact when he is on the Cavs, but he just seems to not be apart of the offense like he was in Chicago. Deng has been playing better in recent games and seems to be getting used to Cleveland, but it doesn’t seem to be helping too much. Since joining the Cavs, their record with Deng is around .500 or a little bit lower. Now you cannot put this on Deng, but everyone thought him being on this team would have helped them a little more than he actually has been. Many Cavaliers haven’t been progressing like everyone thought. Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett are also other examples. They are both young players that still have room to grow, but these two players would have thought to have more impact in their careers at this point since they were both top five picks in the draft classes. Now all this blame cannot be put on the players because there are many more factors that go into a NBA franchise.
A coach is another big part of a NBA franchise. This is the man in charge to run plays, keep the players under control, and help the progress in their respective games. The only thing Mike Brown seems to know what to do out of those points is call plays. And it seems to be possible he can’t even do that part right based off their record. With the players on this roster, the Cavs should in no way be as bad as they are. This team has potential and Mike Brown seems to not be able to bring this potential out and produce wins. Mike Brown is known to be a defensive minded coach. But the Cavaliers are one of the worst defensive teams this year. Since he is a defensive coach with a team that isn’t good at defense, there offense will obviously not be good. And that is also true about the Cavaliers. It seems to be that every game the Cavs are able to play competitive for three quarters and then will eventually collapse in one of those quarters and blow the game. Now this could be because of the players, but the coach is a good reason for this. His job is to get these players to play hard every play and execute plays to score points and make stops on defense. Those two things seem to be the biggest problems for the Cavs. Some factors that lead to this is player’s not hustling, playing team basketball, and committing to the style of play needed to win. As a coach you need your players to do these things, but it seems Mike Brown cannot do this since these things are a reoccurring problem for the Cavs game in and game out. I am not sure if a new coach would help the Cavaliers at this point but I would think about it if I were apart of the team’s management, which is another problem.
The Cleveland Cavaliers franchise management might be the main reason to the Cavaliers problems. They have made some recent moves that did not make sense to many people around the league. Most of these problems start with the players they have recently drafted. In the last three years they have drafted Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, Dion Waiters, and Anthony Bennett (all of the players just listed are the main players they have selected). The only pick that the Cavs have hit on was the pick of Kyrie Irving. All the other selections they have made are very confusing to most people. The players they have picked are not necessarily bad, but from the players they could have picked, people aren’t sure why the players they picked were actually selected. This is all on the management team. They should be more responsible for these picks. The Cavaliers have had many lottery picks over the years and only one is a sure thing. With that many chances, you should have at least solid NBA players to start a franchise team with. And the way things are going this season; it looks like they will have another shot at picking a player in the lottery. In the recent days, the Cavaliers have actually fired their old General Manager Chris Grant. The new GM of David Griffin replaced Grant. Nobody knows if this move will help the Cavs in the long run. But it seems to be that the Cavs want a change and are willing to do something to change the direction of the franchise. Since the move the Cavaliers are actually on a three game win streak. Is that a coincidence? Or is everyone afraid they might be next so everyone is trying their best to make sure they aren’t next? I feel like it is a little bit of both. It seems like the Cavs will make more moves to their front office before the draft because they don’t want to screw this lottery pick up like they have in the past. They also want to be able to have LeBron James return this offseason. So all of this can possibly be solved with a new front office.
Now luckily for the Cavs is the season is only half way over. They can turn the season around and make the playoffs since the Eastern Conference is that bad. But at this point I think the Cavs should try and rebuild and work on the team for next season. It will be interesting to see what the Cavs do while the trade deadline approaches. I feel like they will make a few moves to open up room for LeBron and other possible pieces. The Cleveland Cavaliers have potential and it will be interesting to see how this team develops in the next few years.