What happened to the Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA - The Cleveland Cavaliers Crisis: The King Is Gone - Long Live the Polar Bear
Since the departure of LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers are once again one of the worst teams in the league. Meanwhile, there is also rumbling in Ohio. The veterans are dissatisfied - especially new coach John Beilein is controversial within the team. There is no clear direction, although a lot depends on Kevin Love's personality.
July 8, 2010 and July 1, 2018 are two dates that are likely to cause nightmares for any Cleveland Cavaliers supporter to this day. In 2010, LeBron James announced in a major TV production that he was leaving the Cavs to form the Big Three on South Beach with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Almost eight years later, the king's second and (probably) final farewell was due, this time the glittering Lakers franchise lured. Both farewells had one thing in common: As a result, the Cavs slipped completely - from the playoffs or finals to insignificance within a few months.
The first farewell was compensated for with incredible luck in the draft lottery, (sometimes) clever decisions in the front office and finally a motivated returnees James better than expected (keyword: Championship 2016).
Now the situation is completely different. The lottery luck seems to have been used up, LeBron will not return and the stars of the future are in vain. Actually the optimal time for the fundamental change - actually.
Cleveland Cavaliers missed the upheaval
"The Cleveland Cavaliers extend forward Kevin Love for four years and $ 120 million." This news caused astonishment in many places in the summer of 2018, as everyone assumed that there would be some changes in Cleveland. Instead, the Cavs wanted to prevent a scenario like 2010 and remain a playoff team. Love was chosen as the face for this, always with the ulterior motive that, if in doubt, the all-star could also be traded.
However, claim and reality quickly diverged, coach Ty Lue was sacked after six games and the first veterans like George Hill or Kyle Korver were sent away. Larry Drew took over on an interim basis, but couldn't save much either.
But Drew did the only right thing and gave his young players, especially Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman, as much playing and development time as possible. Also because Love, as so often in his career, had to struggle with injuries and only played 22 games. In the end, you had a balance of 19-63, just like in 2011.
Drew was subsequently replaced by John Beilein, who had made a name for himself over the years as an excellent college coach in Michigan, including cutting rough diamonds like Moritz Wagner. The idea behind it is clear: The old master should slowly build up the young Cavs players and form a competitive team again in the future. In theory completely correct, in practice there has been little progress so far, which is hardly surprising for the squad.
John Beilein treats the Cavs like a college team
It was clear to the franchise that the Cavs would have another year of transition ahead of them, that alone shows Beilein's commitment, but inside it is rumbling. "Our assistants are definitely better prepared for the NBA," an anonymous player recently etched to Joe Vardon (The Athletic).
What happened? The 66-year-old Beilein has taken a large part of his proven college ideas to the pro level - to the displeasure of many seasoned Cavs players. The sets for screens and cuts, for example, all have the names of wild animals, curl then means "polar bear" in Beilein's system. It might work in college, but it doesn't work in the NBA. "You don't become a professional to do things like that," said anonymous criticism from the league.
To make matters worse, players should turn to Assistant Coach J.B. Orient Bickerstaff, who already has a lot of experience as a head coach (Rocktes, Grizzlies). Both the young players and the veterans are apparently not happy. The offense is too unimaginative, the film sessions too long and Beilein simply lacks the basic understanding of an NBA game. Not a good basis for slowly getting a young team back on track.
Cleveland Cavaliers: the top scorers of the 2019/20 season
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Cleveland Cavaliers: A Homemade Problem
And despite all the criticism for Beilein, which is certainly justified in many respects, he should also be given time - like all the young players on this team. After all, some problems are homemade. Despite the sixth tone, the Cavs drew another point guard in Darius Garland who, to make matters worse, barely played a game at college due to a knee injury.
Both are not classic playmakers, but primarily players who create for themselves and who have massive difficulties defensively due to their lack of size. The same goes for Kevin Porter Jr., whom the Cavs grabbed with the 30th pick in the draft.
Accordingly, they have one of the worst odds out of the field this season (43.6 percent), they have one of the worst defensives, are blocked the most, are 29th (-10) in terms of net rating and play with one of the slowest paces in the league (25th place).
Despite all these factors, there is a small glimmer of hope for the Cavaliers, because the situation can only get better.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Where Are You Going?
In the summer the contracts of seven players expire (Tristan Thompson, Jordan Clarkson, Matthew Dellavedova, Ante Zizic, Brandon Knight, John Henson and Alfonzo McKinnie), for the 2020/21 season there are currently only 69 million dollars in the books - inclusive the 31.3 million entitled to Love. Then the franchise can reschedule through the Free Agency and get suitable veterans - in addition, a high draft pick should jump out again.
And then of course there is the Kevin Love personality. How does the Big Man fit into all of this? Not really at all, but the problem remains with his contract. According to The Athletic the Cavs want to get a first-round pick for the former All-Star, but this should remain wishful thinking given their advanced age and the length and volume of the working paper.
According to media reports, the former all-star would like to return to his native Oregon and play for the Portland Trail Blazers, but they recently signed another defensive power forward in Carmelo Anthony. If this doesn't work, Love would like to join a contender, whereby the question may be asked, firstly, who needs Love at all and, secondly, has enough interesting "assets" for the Cavs.
Rather, there are many indications that Cleveland gambled away massively in Love's extension in the summer of 2018. In his current condition, the Big Man is a good complementary player, but he is rewarded far too princely for it. It should therefore not surprise anyone if the Cavs would have to pay extra if they want to part with the walking double-double.
Still, love or not, the direction for the Cavs this season is clear. The team has to develop further, in the end a "reward" should jump out again. With a little luck, this will be the top pick in the 2020 draft - it wouldn't be the first time ...
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