Thursday, February 3, 2011

In The Trenches; What is wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers?

By Sean Trench
As you know, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of the fourth-worst losing streak in the history of the National Basketball Association. They have now lost 22 games in a row. Last night was their shot at ending that streak. But in the end, they just couldn't put enough plays together to get it done. The team as it is constructed right now doesn't have the confidence to close out games like the one they played last night. So the losing streak just continues right now with no end in sight.

As a native Clevelander, sometimes it is hard to be an objective writer or fan. You always want to come to the defense of the home team when they are the subject of ridicule in the media. However, when the team goes from being on the cusp of an NBA championship to the worst in the league, you have to keep an open mind when it comes to the outside world of national writers and commentators that are just "kicking the dog when it is down". This team has had a multitude of key injuries this year that just couldn't afford to happen if they hoped to be competing for a playoff spot like a lot of people thought could happen. Whether you like it or not, Anderson Varejao is the heart and soul of this basketball team. He is out for the season. Without him, there is no toughness or heart on this roster.

With the trade deadline looming, the Cavaliers have to try and trade guys like Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. Jamison doesn't look like a player that wants to be here, and with Ramon Sessions stepping up in Mo's absence, it doesn't seem that Mo would be a fit here any longer. There is something very wrong with this team that goes beyond the game on the court. Ever since the horrible beating that came at Quicken Loans Arena on December 2 at the hands of the Miami Heat, this team looks like it has mentally checked out and will not ever come back from that loss. So I think you have to explore the opportunity to trade some of these guys and get some fresh players in here. Otherwise, this situation could get a whole lot worse, if that is indeed possible.

Now that brings me to something else that I want to touch on. Why in the world are the Cavaliers laughing and joking around with each other when they are 8-41?! Have some pride! If I was on a team that was the laughingstock of the league, I would be trying to get better instead of laughing and joking around. This league has changed. You would have never seen the stars in the past laughing and joking around with the opposing team. Now that's really all you see. What happened to the days of wanting to embarrass the player who was guarding you, or wanting to compete and be tougher than the opponent? I guess that has just gone away. As a fan, you want to see the guys have fun, but you also want to see them compete and be better than the opponent too. With this Cavaliers squad, you just don't see the fire in them that they want to be better.

Head Coach Byron Scott has a tough challenge in front of him. I think he knew that when he took the job, but probably not to the extent that it has come to this year. Another question has to be posed that has in other publications and blogs I'm sure already: where would this team be if Mike Brown was kept on as the coach? I'm not sure there would be that much of a difference, maybe 3-5 more wins? I mean this team has had to learn a new offense and defense. But these are grown men, right? They should have learned the system by now. It's almost 50 games into the season now. It's also interesting to think that we were talking about how many championships this team would win just a few years ago with Lebron James, to now talking about this team being possibly contracted or moved and not ever winning a title.

With how the NBA is constructed though, the Cavaliers need to look at the Oklahoma City Thunder's roster and see that is possible to have a winning team again. You have to build up through the draft and get lucky with a few picks and move forward from there. With a record of 8-41, the Cavaliers are well on their way. I know as Cavaliers fans that is not what you want to hear. But with players able to manipulate the system and create a "superteam" like the Miami Heat have done, this is the only way to win again. Tear it down and rebuild. So Cavs fans, start paying really close attention to the NCAA this year and see who might be coming to Cleveland next year. Jared Sullinger? Kyrie Irving? Perry Jones? Kemba Walker? Who would be a good fit here? That answer might come sooner than you think. But for now, GM Chris Grant, it's in your hands. Start dealing.

The Cleveland Cavaliers 2010-11 slogan should read: "It is what it is."

No comments: