Don’t let a couple of wins over the Houston Rockets fool you. The Cavaliers are a lowly bunch destined to find themselves in the basement of the Eastern Conference yet again. Across the past two weeks, they have shown an intense struggle to come within 15 points of winning a game, with the exception of the last two games. Make no mistake: the Cavs are going nowhere anytime soon.
The first thing that jumps off the screen when watching the Cavs recently is that they have no identity. It’s reflected in the construction of the roster by GM Koby Altman. They have an inordinate amount of centers at a time when the NBA has been long removed from dominant “big men.” Andre Drummond doesn’t play anymore despite showing promising signs in the first two weeks of the season. JaVale McGhee offers next to nothing of value. Larry Nance is currently injured. Kevin Love continues to make every penny of his $120 million contract for sitting on the bench. The lone bright spot is newly acquired Jarrett Allen, who has emerged as the Cavs second playmaker after Collin Sexton.
Allen possesses a long frame and can run the floor, pass the ball from the top, finish inside and protect the rim. He had 26 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks against Houston on Wednesday. At only 22 years old, the sky is the limit for Allen.
Unfortunately, the Cavs’ backcourt is just as chaotic as the frontcourt. Former number five overall pick Darius Garland looks overmatched at every level. Dean Wade and Cedi Osman shouldn’t be playing at a professional level. Sexton continues to improve every year and is the guy everyone looks to for a leading scorer. Second-year wing Dylan Windler has shown some promise but a bigger sample size is needed. Isaac Okoro doesn’t look to have a high ceiling at all as an NBA player, but again, a larger track record is needed.
JB Bickerstaff seems to have done enough to keep going as head coach. But the design of the roster needs to be completely overhauled. You have a hodge-podge of players with two exciting young playmakers to give fans some hope, but with no collective identity as a team. Random trades out of left field for aging centers like Andre Drummond should not be in the cards. Neither should be giving out $120 million contracts to injury-prone stars like Kevin Love. It’s time for Koby Altman to get serious about building a real team from the ground up. Luckily they don’t have to start from square one: Allen and Sexton should be built around. Trim the fat from the roster, pick one strategy for constructing a team and stick to it.