Alright, before I get ahead of myself, the following needs to be stated:
- The Chicago Bulls are a really good team and the Cavaliers still managed to hang close with them despite ultimately losing the game. That's not a terrible result.
- The Minnesota Timberwolves are a really, really, really good team and have blown out teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers this year, so getting blown out by them, ON THE ROAD, wasn't exactly a shocking turn of events.
- Andrew Bynum and Dion Waiters have both missed time this week.
So, with all of that said, from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to say the following to everyone flipping out and melting down about how Mike Brown needs to be fired before, during and after every game:
Now, with that said, there is an intelligent conversation that can be had about the problems this team is having. I'm not sure if it's a wise move trying to have this discussion while fighting a cold and the grasp of a NyQuil-induced medicine coma, but that state of mind is sure as hell better than that of half of Twitter at the moment, so why not give a shot?
Jarrett Jack has looked abysmal. Jarrett Jack hasn't looked very good since he's come to Cleveland. At the time I'm writing this, his FG% has dropped nearly seven whole points, he's averaging two less assists per game and his offensive rating is down 20 full points. TWENTY FULL POINTS! Jack has regressed on pretty much everything that made him a solid sixth man of the year candidate for the Golden State Warriors last year. He's dominating the ball, dribbling out the shot clock, and either driving into heavy coverage and turning the ball over, or settling for a garbage long two regardless of who's on the court. That includes when Kyrie Irving is on the court, which is another problem entirely, but for right now I want to focus on Bennett.
The Cavaliers bench is a toxic environment for Anthony Bennett. And a lot of that is on Jarrett Jack. I already talked about Bennett last week, so I don't want to rehash that tired argument all over again, but he's looking a little better. Yes, I know he blew a dunk against Minnesota, but basketball isn't just about one play and there's more to the game than one embarrassing mistake, regardless of how many people on Twitter tweet about a specific play in incredulous caps lock. Regardless, Bennett has looked slightly better this week, but something's beginning to really bother me. The bench doesn't integrate him into the game at all.
He'll set a pick and Jack will dribble right into a double team and jack a Jack Shot (I'm going to start calling them that from now on, so deal with it) or shove a crappy pass out to someone for a turnover. Or, C.J. Miles will get the ball in his hands and shoot a three or drive to the lane. That was cool and all when he was on fire and couldn't miss, but he's come back down to reality a little bit. There's also a chance that Earl Clark will derp a herp derp and turn the ball over or airball something awful. But Bennett? Nothing. The bench does absolutely nothing to help him on offense at all.
Yeah, his shot hasn't been falling but maybe, and this is a wild idea, they could draw up a play for Bennett to get a few easy buckets? Something to get help this dude get his confidence back? As it is, the guy's only been averaging 12 minutes and four attempts a game. He's considered a reach at the first overall pick and is clearly trying to play to prove that he belongs in the NBA. When those 12 minutes are being shared with Jarrett Jack and C.J. Miles, who are both averaging around nine shots a game, can you really blame the guy if his shots are forced and bad? I'm sure he's worried that if he doesn't take a shot and passes the ball he might not get it back for four games, so why not chuck a three?
But then again maybe this is just the NyQuil talking.
What a shock! That Dion Waiters stuff was totally blown out of proportion. You mean to tell me that Dion Waiters, a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, was involved in a players only meeting? And that players only meeting was maybe contentious and involved players being critical of each other? Woah. Totally surprising, mind-blowing stuff there.
That's sarcasm, by the way.
First of all, there was way too much information missing to make draw any conclusions about anything with this story. And I won't buy into this rumor that Dion wasn't actually sick until someone with any sliver of credibility reports on it. I suggest you do likewise. So with all the hyperbole and hand-wringing out of the way, this is what appears to have happened:
- Dion Waiters vented his frustrations with his performance with his agent, who gave him some advice which helped him to focus and tighten up his game. He may have also complained about his role on the team, but it was a conversation with his agent, so that would make complete and total sense.
- The team met after the blow-out loss to the Timberwolves to air their grievances and Dion, being a player on the team, participated. He may have even vented some frustrations with Kyrie. Who knows? Who cares? This shit happens. None of the details about this meeting suggest Dion doing anything out of the ordinary or uncool here.
- Mike Brown may or may not have contemplated tweaking the roster after the Cavs bench looked atrocious during the Minnesota game and decided to move Dion to the bench for a few games to bolster their offense.
- Dion may or may not have caught the flu and he needed to sit out some games because he was at home barfing. Or maybe he doesn't have the flu and is faking it because he found out Mike Brown may have been benching him and just stayed home.
Considering that this whole "Dion is being moved to the bench" thing was started by the same guy who jumped on Windhorst's report about the player's-only meeting to make it about Dion, I don't buy that. Also, if Dion just had a conversation with his agent and is trying to tighten up his role on the team, why would he fake an illness and go home instead of playing like he should be a starter? Doesn't make sense to me for a guy to go from complaining about his role on the team to acting like a big baby and pissing everyone off.
Also, yes I'm aware that Steve Aschburner reported on the whole "Dion punched Kyrie in the face" thing on NBA.com. However, his article states that there has been speculation of that happening. Not reports, speculation. Which is true, because people have been speculating about this on Twitter since Saturday despite it being fairly obvious that Kyrie broke his nose in the Minnesota game. Considering literally no one has reported anything about this happening, it's all stupid speculation. This didn't happen. Please don't jump on a ridiculous story without really thinking about it first.
And finally, to end this, I would like to invite a stupid discussion that's not about Anthony Bennett or Mike Brown or stupid Dion conspiracies. Stephen Jackson. Fills the "three and D" need. He overlapped with Mike Brown in both San Antonio and Indiana. Eh?