Last night, the Cavs suffered an embarrassing loss to the Brooklyn Nets in their fifth game of the season. While this is a bad loss and one that shouldn’t happen, there is no reason for any fan to panic or worry. The Cavs still have LeBron James, they still have the best team in the Eastern Conference and they will still be in the finals this June.
There are two major reasons why the Cavs have come out of the gate slowly. New pieces and guys playing new roles. We’ll start with the new pieces and the Cavs have a lot of them. After an offseason that was expected to be quiet for the Cavs, they ended up having the most turbulent. It began with a few signings of Derrick Rose, Jeff Green and Jose Calderon. Then, the Kyrie Irving trade happened, bringing in Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder Finally, Lebron’s longtime friend Dwyane Wade signed before the season began.
This is so many new pieces and guys that have never played before. Wade and LeBron are the only two of the new pieces to have played together before. This will, of course, take some time for everyone to get a feel for their new teammates. The first month of the NBA season is usually a little sloppy for most teams as they are still beginning to make adjustments and learn their new teammate’s tendencies.
The other reason that the Cavs have struggled so far is that a lot of guys are playing in new roles. We’ve seen changes to the Cavs starting lineup several times through only five games. Kevin Love has made the move from power forward to center then back to power forward. JR Smith has made the move from starter to the sixth man to back to a starter. LeBron has made the move from small forward to power forward to now point guard. Tristan Thompson, like Smith, made the move from starter to bench player and back to a starter. These are not easy adjustments that work on the fly.
Players like Love, Thompson and Smith had been playing the same role for the last few seasons. Making changes to different positions and spots in the rotation is not always easy and usually, takes some time for players to get adjusted. We’ve seen the Cavs play sloppy and at times look lost, but that all comes with major roster changes. When LeBron first came back to Cleveland, the Cavs started 19-20, but once that team finally figured everything out, they coasted to the NBA Finals.
The Cavs are going to have their problems in October, nearly every team will, but they will have it all figured it come April. Adjustments will be made and trades may even happen, but the Cavs are going to get back to the form we all know, once it really matters. This team will only get better. We have to remember that Isaiah Thomas hasn’t even played for the Cavs yet, once he does, this team will really get rolling.
Wednesday night’s loss was a bad loss for the Cavs, but if we fans have learned anything watching these Cavs teams the past few seasons, we know that how you play in October has no effect on how you play in June and that is all that truly matters.
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