LeBron And The Cavs
March 3, 2016
You have to think LeBron James is getting a little concerned about the chances of his Cleveland Cavaliers team winning a championship. He spoke of expecting a title by year two (this year) and that he left the Miami Heat to bring the city of Cleveland a championship. It was thought that the Cavs were a little bit ahead of schedule when they reached the Finals last season. Cleveland did not fare well against Golden State but felt some solace as it fought hard without two, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, of the Big Three.
The Cavaliers are winning games this season but there has been turmoil. Head coach David Blatt was fired despite having his team off to a 30-11 start. Assistant coach Tyronn Lue took over the reins.
There was a brief winning spurt under Lue but Cleveland were losers of three out of four as I write this including a 14-point loss to struggling Washington. The Cavs were actually down 30 in the contest.
This is the time of year when contenders for the title gear things up for a playoff run. We are not seeing that in Cleveland.
Coach Tyronn Lue
Lue was supposed to create a more productive offense centering around pushing the ball on the court. James and Irving both excel on the open floor, but the Cavs offense has actually dropped in efficiency since Lue took the helm. Under Blatt, Cleveland was a half-court-oriented team that preferred to run pick-and-rolls involving James and Kyrie Irving. He wanted his playmakers to make plays.
Lue’s up-tempo style of play has not exactly worked out in the manner he expected. I already pointed out that the offense productivity is decreasing. Well, so is the defense and Cleveland has fallen from fifth in the league to 14th in defensive rating. Lue is 11-6 thus far including losses to both Toronto and Boston, the second and third seeds in the Eastern Conference, respectively.
Personally, I would not count Cleveland out. LeBron’s presence cannot be overstated. He still very well may be the best player in the game. James commands double-teams and he commands the best out of his teammates. I say the Cavaliers will always be a contender if he is on the floor. But changes have to be made if Cleveland wants to threaten the likes of Golden State and San Antonio.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry is having another MVP season and we are starting to hear claims that he is arguably the greatest basketball player in the world right now.
Since Curry is somewhat of a local product, having played college ball at nearby Davidson College, I remember the NBA draft quite clearly when Curry entered the it. A very high majority of the media pundits thought he was too small and fragile to excel at the professional level. As is often the case, the pundits were wrong.
While it is not unusual for an all-time great to slip past the first pick in the NBA Draft, it is strange to see a talent like Curry not be drafted until six other players have come off the board. I thought it would be interesting to see who was drafted ahead of Curry.
Golden State’s golden Stephen Curry
The Los Angeles Clippers, with the first pick in the draft, took Blake Griffin. The Clippers have to be happy with the selection as Griffin is a five-time all star. At least during the regular season. Griffin and the Clippers always come up short come playoff time while Curry has a championship.
Fans in Memphis have to wish the Grizzlies took Curry with the second pick instead of Hasheem Thabeet. This guy is out of the league now after playing for four NBA teams in five years.
James Harden was the third pick. A perennial all star now after a few years as an outstanding sixth man for the team that drafted him, Oklahoma City. Still, he is not Curry though he did finish second behind Curry in last year’s MVP voting. And again, no championships.
Tyreke Evans was the fourth pick by the Sacramento Kings. The shooting guard has not made an all-star game appearance. Evans made a splash early as he was the Rookie of the Year over Curry thanks to averaging over 20 points a game as a rookie. He scores 15 points a game now for the New Orleans Pelicans. Curry scores 30 a night.
Ricky Rubio was another guard taken before Curry. The Minnesota Timberwolves took Rubio with the fifth pick in the draft. No all star game appearances and he is averaging 9.7 points and 8.8 assists a game. Rubio can play some defense and is an excellent passer. But he cannot shoot.
Minnesota doubled down on its mistake with the sixth pick when it selected another guard in Jonny Flynn. He has not played in the NBA since the 2011-2012 season.
Curry was the next pick at No. 7 and the rest has been and will be history.
Dukies Stick Together
J.J. Redick came to the rescue of fellow Dukie Grayson Allen this week. Redick, who was also a controversial Blue Devil, discussed the allegations of Allen being a dirty player.
The allegations are out there as Allen has had two recent incidents that appear he purposefully tripped an opponent.
Redick asked why there’s always seems to be a national backlash on disliking someone annually on the Duke roster. He named himself along with Greg Paulus, Steve Wojciechowski, Chris Collins, Mike Dunleavy, and Jon Scheyer.
Redick went on to say that the players I just mentioned are some of the nicest people he has ever met. He spoke of how there seems to be a national conspiracy. What do you think?