The Cleveland Cavaliers are 1-3 to start the season. People that jumped on the Cavaliers to win the NBA title at favorite odds are turning queasy. Lets not jump the gun on proclaiming the Cavaliers are going to struggle the entire season. The NBA is a labyrinth sport like baseball that will be full of team momentum swings. Just take a look at the Indiana Pacers of a season ago.
LeBron James has been through this before in Miami. Superstar talent did not blend and mesh right away and took almost a full season to transpire. That team was molded similarly to the Cavaliers except for one area. Cleveland already had three top draft picks on their roster garnering starters minutes; Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and Kyrie Irving.
Through the first four games you’re seeing a clash of on court balance and consistency with the Cavs young draft picks and veterans in LeBron James, Kevin Love, Shawn Marion, etc.
For the Cavaliers to excel forward they need day in and day out consistency from Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. The two have clashed before and it appeared one or the other would exit Cleveland. Obviously they both rose above their issues for the benefit of winning on the court.
Still, both have huge gaps of inconsistencies in their games. Defensively neither has shown growth to be a premier starter in the NBA. Their bread and butter relies on the offensive end. When either is on their A-game on the offensive side of the floor it’s going to be a long night for the opposing team. That style of play worked for their first few NBA seasons in the league when winning was put on the back burner. Teammates than could care less about receiving enough shots or being involved in the offense.
For Kyrie Irving to not have an assist against the Utah Jazz is troubling. He is a point guard first with the luxury of playing with premier forwards in the league. He cannot be the Duke and young Cleveland Cavalier point guard anymore. He needs to transform his game and be the facilitator that he is capable of being.
The street ball mentality with Dion Waiters is what got him in trouble at Syracuse. He was a me-first player that ultimately almost led to his departure at Syracuse. His pure talent alone should have garnered him more minutes as a freshman at Syracuse. But his attitude kept his minutes reduced and in Jim Boeheim’s dog house. It was a move that bit Syracuse in the NCAA tournament when they lost in the round of 32 to Marquette.
Waiters, was clearly Syracuse’s best player on the court but his growth happened so late in the season that Syracuse couldn’t use him to his full potential. He was the only player that could score against Marquette in a low-scoring loss.
His sophomore season he came in with a new-attitude and accepted his role coming off the bench. Coming off the bench four minutes into a game and playing starter’s minutes obviously didn’t classify him as a true bench warmer.
In the NBA his minutes have always fluctuated as he consistently takes bad shots. Like Irving he needs to put aside his college basketball score, score, score mentality and realize he has the chance to be a part of something great.
This may take some time like LeBron penned in his coming home letter to Cleveland. Rest assured Dion and Kyrie hold the key to the Cavaliers on court growth or lack thereof.