Because I never have any work on Thursdays, I want to try to do a running piece tracking my thoughts on the last week and on the team as a whole. These will mostly be disjointed thoughts, and I will try to cover more controversial subjects. Also, I will probably not do a whole lot of research on these; it will be entirely what I see and what I think of it. It goes without saying that I will be wrong a lot. If I am, disagree with me. I try to be open minded about the Cavs and will agree with a well-reasoned argument.
With that out of the way, thoughts. First, a tip of my cap to two players who I think have been playing well to start the season, CJ Miles and Dion Waiters. CJ has always been a loose cannon when it comes to shooting, and right now that's exactly what we need. His shot is falling and he knows it. When it seems like nobody else can or will create their own shot, Mas Fresco has. He's an absolute steal.
Dion, on the other hand, hasn't been so universally praised. He's still inconsistent, but when he's on his game, he's been doing everything that we want to see from him. So far, he's shooting well on catch-and-shoot opportunities, creating shots for other players on his drives, and playing defense. These were the three biggest concerns, right? The biggest things now are cutting out the fadeaway jumpers, which have declined noticeably but are still there, and finishing his drives. The latter I think comes down to him being tentative and not trying to go through his man ( I would be very happy if Dion took a few charging calls; this would show he's attacking rather than avoiding contact), and the former is most easily accomplished by having a other players in better positions around him. I don't see any reason for concern with him playing next to Kyrie right now.
Speaking of Kyrie, he needs to adjust to playing with Dion and Jack now. I think we all were pushing Dion to be a sidekick when Kyrie was eating planets last year, but now defenses are focused on Kyrie and he's struggling to adjust. For his part, he needs to know when others around him have hotter hands, particularly in the fourth quarter. I don't mind him taking shots to try and heat up, but if he isn't getting opportunities then someone, usually Dion, is. Kyrie should learn this quickly, but he needs to adjust for this team to play better offensively.
The third wheel in this scenario is Jarrett Jack. Let's leave him there. Remember how Dion played better when Kyrie was off the floor last year? That's Jack now. He makes a lot of sense in lineups that will have some trouble scoring and need shooting, but so far he doesn't fit with either Kyrie or Dion. CJ, Jack, and three rebounders is a fun lineup that plays to everybody's strengths. I want to see it more.
Alonzo Gee and Earl Clark should be one person. They are both D-no-Three guys, and both are considered to be offensive black holes. Earl has a niche because he is probably the only reliable stretch four on the roster, and Alonzo has a niche because he's a small forward who plays good defense and won't chuck up an awful shot. If we're going to carry a defense-only wing on the roster, then he should be able to play power forward in small-ball lineups. As it stands right now, Gee should only play in defensive lineups with two frontcourt players, and Earl should only play in small-ball lineups as a power forward. That means about five minutes for each player. One guy should be able to fill both roles, and if he could shoot the ball that would be nice...
Except we just drafted that guy! This is absolutely the ideal role for Bennett, but, to put it simply, Bennett has not looked capable of playing NBA basketball just yet, and he probably won't for quite some time. Bennett badly needs the Tristan treatment: play a ton of minutes on an AWFUL team just taking shots, learning what works and doesn't work, and getting better at basketball the old fashioned way, by playing a lot of it. My biggest concern is that I don't think we can offer that to him. There are too many players competing, and for the most part, winning, the time that Bennett needs. If he can't get time when Clark plays zero minutes, he's not going to get time at all. He's in a really crappy situation right now, and I don't know how to improve it without trading him. If I have any major concerns with the season so far, it's this.
There are a lot more things to discuss, but since I've already written too much I'll save it for the comment section or a later post. Respond if you have questions or comments; I'd rather be debating in the fanpost section than on the front page, and a good airing of thoughts might be helpful right now.