It’s been one week into the NBA season, the Cavs are 3-2, and I am ready to fire out some takes on what I have seen so far from the Cavs this season.
Is it early? Yes. But, what is more fun than some early NBA overreactions?
1. Lebron James is still really good at basketball.
I know, crazy hot take. But, this is important to remember when the Cavs drop a few games in a row in February and everyone acts like the sky is falling. LeBron came into the season with a nagging ankle injury, which concerned some people thinking this injury may slow him down at the beginning of the season.
Those people couldn’t be more wrong. Here are LeBron’s numbers through five games so far this season.
Celtics: 29 points, 16 assists, 9 rebounds.
Bucks: 24 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds.
Magic: 22 points, 2 assists, 4 rebounds.
Bulls: 34 points, 13 assists, 2 rebounds.
Nets: 29 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds.
Season average: 27 ppg, 8 assists, 6.8 rebounds.
With the thought of LeBron leaving this upcoming summer looming over everyone, it is important to enjoy this greatness while we have it. There is a good chance Cleveland will never have an athlete like this in most of our lifetimes.
2. Kyle Korver is making it rain!
You couldn’t ask Kyle Korver to get off to a hotter start. Despite his poor showing in the opener against the Celtics, where Marcus Smart abused him in the post, Korver has done exactly what has been asked of him since he came to Cleveland in the middle of last year.
Last Friday night versus the Bucks, Korver shot 5-6 from three with 17 points, Tuesday against the Bulls, he was 3-6 from three with 11 points and just was 5-11 from three with 22 points.
Korver took a lot of heat for his missed three-pointer in Game 3 of last year’s NBA finals that would have clinched the game in favor of the Cavs. It is important to remember that this guy can still shoot and will most likely be the eighth even ninth guy off the bench once everyone is healthy.
No team in the NBA, maybe with the exception of the Warriors, can match that talent that deep into their bench. Look for Korver to play more relaxed with the team this season and give the Cavs big numbers off the bench.
3. New is OK.
This Cavs team is practically brand new. Two new point guards, new shooting guard, new positions, new uniforms, new GM; it all just seems new to me.
The Cavs have already put out three different starting lineups so far. It first started when Derrick Rose went down with an injury last Friday, meaning Jose Calderon was in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Magic. That went about as well as you would expect with Jose Calderon starting at point guard. I am guessing we won’t see much of that in the future unless injuries become a huge issue.
Tuesday, Dwyane Wade approached Coach Lue himself to put JR Smith in the starting lineup and have himself come off the bench. This was a smart move. We all know you have to keep Smith engaged and putting him in the lineup should do just that. Our own Jake Harris said it best in his periscope session on Tuesday night following the Cavs win over the Bulls, when he said something along the lines where Wade can be more of himself. With Wade coming off the bench, he can be the primary scorer, something he has done his whole career and something he can’t do being on the floor with LeBron AND Love at the same time.
My guess is Lue is going to try everything to get this group comfortable and to find the lineups and rotations that work. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see multiple different lineups to begin the season and that is ok.
New just takes time.
4. Iman Shumpert
I am going to say this as nice as possible. The less Shumpert the better. I will admit, I was early to jump off the Shump wagon. I thought he played terribly in last year’s playoffs and I didn’t think much would change coming into this year and so far it hasn’t.
Will it change? Unfortunately, I don’t think it will. Every time Shumpert has the ball in his hands, my heart beats a little faster. The Cavs were rumored that they were trying to trade Shumpert and Shumpert was also rumored that he wanted to be traded. Ironically, they were never able to get a deal done.
Could the Cavs trade Shumpert? Yeah, they could, but they won’t get much in return and they could even lose more than they would gain. Here is how:
Shumpert has a very unfriendly contract. He is owed over $10 million this year and over $11 million next year. His production has gone down since the Cavs traded for him three years ago. My guess is to get rid of Shumpert, they would have to give up an asset themselves that they don’t necessarily want to give up.
For example, this past offseason, the Lakers traded Timofey Mozgov and D’Angelo Russell to the Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in last year’s draft. Don’t pay attention to the return, pay attention to the Mozgov AND Russell part.
Mozgov had one of the worst contracts in the NBA and for the Lakers to have any chance to sign any big-time free agents this upcoming summer, they had to find a way to unload that contract. So the Lakers gave up Russell, who they did like and didn’t necessarily want to give up, to lure the Nets into taking on Mozgov’s contract. That wasn’t the only reason the trade went down, but it was an important factor.
Again, just guessing here that the Cavs would have to find a way to lure a team into taking on Shumpert’s contract. Whether it be giving up an asset (which the Cavs don’t have much of) or taking on a bad contract themselves.
My point is I think the Shump train has detoured to the bench and I don’t think there is much you can do about it. Unless of course he just starts playing better.
5. Struggles on Back to Backs
Breaking news guys, the Cavs are terrible on back to backs. Whether they are tired or they just seem to lack effort, it always happens. They clearly seemed to have lacked interest in losses versus the Magic and Nets. No reason in trying to defend the Cavs’ play because it was awful. Even in the Chicago gam, they came out slow. No reason to get upset or panic because this team will figure it out. They always seem bored through stretches in the regular season.
Also worth mentioning that the Magic, Bulls and Nets each hit 17 threes against the Cavs which is totally unheard of.
Everyone take a deep breath and relax because it is only October.
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