Blogtable: Thoughts on Cavaliers at season’s halfway point?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Thoughts on Cavs? | Biggest surprise at season’s halfway mark? |
Rookie you enjoy watching most (and why)?



VIDEORelive the Warriors-Cavs matchup

> They lead the East, but in a five-day span they lost a close one to the Spurs on the road, then got blown out by the Warriors at home. What do you make of these Cleveland Cavaliers halfway through the season?

David Aldridge, TNT analyst: Something’s amiss in the Land. It’s a combination of things, I think, but at the base the issue is how to be the defensive-based team that blew through the Eastern Conference playoffs last spring and dismantled a 60-win Atlanta team in the conference finals while integrating the offense-first Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love into the mix. The Cavs played championship-level defense in the postseason, but couldn’t score enough, as evidenced by the load LeBron James had to carry in The Finals. They’re going to be very good offensively once Irving is back at full speed, but can he and Love defend their positions well enough to beat elite teams? Not putting Monday’s beatdown by the Warriors all on those two, but clearly, Cleveland had no concept as a team of how to stop Golden State. Who does Irving guard? Stephen Curry? Nope. Klay Thompson? Maybe David Blatt puts him on Andrew Bogut, and I’m not kidding. But it’s going to be a question against the best teams, and those are the teams the Cavs have struggled to beat this season.

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com The Cavaliers are good enough and not good enough. They’re good enough to get past any rough patches, good enough to essentially control the East and good enough to get back to the Finals without too much angst or sweat. But they’re not good enough to beat Golden State or San Antonio in seven games, not yet, not as currently constituted. J.R. Smith is too erratic on and off the court to be relied upon to the degree Cleveland does, they need more outside shooting as it is and they’re almost starting over in cracking the LeBron JamesKyrie IrvingKevin Love code. They have lots on their plates for the final three months.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: They’re fine. Not perfect. Not the team to beat. But the Cavaliers are still the favorite in the East and, if you want the real perspective, in much better shape than a year ago as doubt flew in every direction and coach David Blatt was supposedly on the hot seat. You know, before they got to The Finals and then to a Game 6 without two of their best players for most or all of the series.

Shaun Powell, NBA.comI think the Cavs are fortunate to play in the East, and that all they need to do is win the conference, which last I checked doesn’t go through Oakland or San Antonio. Unless my math is wrong, that puts them in The Finals, right? Look, past history has proven that whatever happens in the regular season (losses to certain teams) often carries little weight in the post-season. Cleveland is fine, in the big picture. There’s a lot of basketball left to find a groove and seek answers.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com They’ve improved defensively and rank in the top 10 on that end of the floor, which is where they need to be. But yeah, that top-10 defense obviously didn’t hold up against the league’s best offense (Golden State), and their offense struggled against the league’s best defense (San Antonio). The Cavs could probably win the East in their sleep, but the Warriors and Spurs are playing like two of the best teams of all-time. The Cavs could wait to flip the switch in the postseason, but now would be a good time to play with some urgency, not let bad teams hang around through three quarters, and see if they can’t match the Spurs’ and Warriors’ point differential for a few weeks.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: They strike me as a team that is well aware that they are ill-equipped to handle either the Spurs or Warriors in a seven-game series right now. That narrative about a healthy Cavaliers team surely being able to finish what they started in The Finals against the Warriors seems a bit hollow to me now. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love would have made a huge difference, but I don’t know that they would have been the difference between winning and losing. And the Spurs and Warriors have taken it up a few notches since last season while the Cavaliers clearly have not. I think it’s a good thing, actually, because now the Cavaliers can assess exactly what they are and make whatever adjustments, tweaks and or trades necessary.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: Let’s acknowledge that they’ve been without Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert for most of this season. But let’s also not dismiss the impression that they entered this year behaving as if they were de facto champs – as if convinced they would have won the NBA Finals if not for their injuries. If so, then they are learning is that it’s going to require more than talent and depth and potential. Instead of seeing them express the arrogance and indiscipline that led to their blowout loss to the real champions, maybe we’ll see the Cavs approach the second half of the year with humility – which is their only hope.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: I’m not sure what to make of them. Sure, they’re 28-11 and own the best record in the Eastern Conference. But LeBron’s wavering 3-point shooting numbers are at least mildly troubling to me, and while I know one game out of 82 can be viewed as an aberration, getting blown out at home by the Warriors is not ideal. I know the Cavs went all-in financially on this group of players, but I think they could still use an athletic 2/3 type who can hit 3-pointers and play defense. Things aren’t perfect right now, and the good news is that right now, they don’t have to be perfect. The question is whether things will get right by the time the playoffs roll around.

9 Comments

  1. HJ Glover says:

    Arrgghhh!!!
    It’s unimaginable how irritating this is: 12 secs of a 1:49 video replay, then nothing …a blank white screen!!! Nothing!!!!

    When are you going to fix a problem that is over 3 yrs old??!!!

    Anyway, I’m done. Gotta go to ESPN or CBS Sports and YouTube. Their video works, no problems.

    –HJ Glover

  2. taekayo says:

    Truth is, if you have LBJ on your team, you’d probably go deep in the playoffs. He is that good that he can carry any team through rough patches. However, there also lies the problem. He is too good, that the Cavs rely too much on him. And LBJ would always want most of the offense to run through him. They could win it all in a lesser league, of even beat “good enough” teams in the NBA. But still, this is the NBA, and there are some teams that utilizes the talents of their stars and roles players, but still are team-oriented.

    The problem lies on the Cavs being too LBJ-centric. And LBJ wouldn’t want anything else. If he sits, or is having a bad game, or is well-defended, the Cavs become an average team. The luxury he had with the Heat before was that he had Wade, who even had a time that he was better than James. Love + Kyrie ain’t Wade.

    Much like most of the great players of the game like MJ, Magic, Bird, TD, Russel, Wilt, etc., James should submit himself to a system that maximizes his skills, NOT build a team/system based on his skills. Bill bought Red’s system, as MJ did with PJ, and TD with Pop and so on. Blatt may not be the right coach, but still, no coach would be the RIGHT one unless James starts to listen to what they have to sell.

  3. shabam says:

    Cavs should pick up Ben Gordon.. jus sayin

  4. bodjee says:

    I am not sure if the Cav is a playoff team if you remove LJ from the equation. They would probably be a better team if they can find decent players to replace their starting 1, 4, & 5.

  5. Carrie Fox says:

    I think David Blatt has to find a consistent rotation and then figure out where every one else is effective. However, Blatt changes the starting line up to play matchups and that can sometimes hurt you, the starters need a consistent rotation. In the playoffs is when you worry more about matchup’s and switch your line up. Kyrie also needs to run the offense and see the matchups on the floor so that we can get points in the flow of the game.Stop forcing the shots that dont feel right.Know your teammates sweet spots.Just little things that come with time for Kyrie. More worried if Blatt will get “It”, in time.

  6. I never thought the coach or Kevin Love would ever be given a chance there. I don’t even know why Kevin Love re-signed. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Coach Blatt ends up back in Israel.

  7. Drago says:

    I think that this is the first year in a long time that Lebron James is not the best player of basketball in the world.The same goes for the Cavs,they are good but they are not excellent.Unless Golden State and San Antonio have their entire starting five break legs i don’t see them wining a championship the competition looks to good.

  8. Nihant says:

    lol Lang they have an “athletic 2/3 that can shoot and play defines….his name is Iman Shumpert

    • Antonio says:

      Shumpert can’t really shoot. He is streaky just like his boy JR. Can’t rely heavily on those types of guys if you want to win championships.