Hope everyone had a merry christmas.
The Cavaliers came into the season with numerous unknowns. Plenty of optimism, but more unknowns than anything. From what Bynum would be capable of to what Bennett would bring to the table. I believe playoff expectation was not a good goal for the season. In my opinion, this season the FO should be focused on development and analysis of our future.
First off, I want to say this. I loved the Bynum signing and hated the JJ contract. To me, the Bynum signing was so low risk high reward considering how huge of an impact Bynum COULD be if he ever regains his all star form (hang in there fans, it still can happen). Jack is simply not the type of back up point guard ( ball dominant, "scorer") I feel fits this team and I also believe that back up PG is a position the Cavs cannot afford to pay 6.3 million a year for four years. Since we have A great backcourt duo of Kyrie/Dion, who we'll need to pay to keep around, I hate seeing 6 mil a year going to either of their back ups. Especially for 4 years considering the draft picks we have stockpiled over that course of time. No doubt in my mind we could draft a solid back PG in that span, or even sign one (DELLAVEDOVA!). My apologies to those who would disagree but I had to voice my opinion because watching the rather selfish play from JJ (that isn't beneficial to our younger players development) has just made me more bitter towards him, his contract, and the fact that we signed him for so long. At this point I'm asking myself what JJ gives us that Boobie didn't. I seriously would have rather kept Boobie to play pack up pg/sg considering one of either Kyrie or Dion would be playing alongside him the majority of the time he's on the court so they could act the primary ball handler/facilitator. JJ is too ball dominant, hence why Delly is a much better fit for both the back up PG spot and a piece of the 3 guard rotation. I just hate feeling stuck with JJ on the team because I'd rather see his minutes over the course of his contract go towards the development of a younger player in his place. Once again my apologies for the rant but I had to get my feelings on JJ out there.
That being said, I'd like to consider the big picture for the Cavs. As of now, I see the earliest they could be a legitimate TITLE contender being 2-3 years away (with the exception to that being LBJ's return but that's something I've never put any stock in). I believe IF Kyrie gets back to shooting 45%+ and around 40% from deep, Dion continues to find consistency, TT continues to average a double double, Bynum can A: stop playing from mid-range, and B: stay healthy, and the rest of the young guys can continue to develop towards the potential we see in them (Zeller, Bennett, Delly, Karasev) this team is only a legitimate above average 3 man away from contention. I know thats a lot but it is my honest opinion. By pointing out the earliest I see them competing for a title, I want to also point out that although I disagree with the mindstate that the Cavs need to make the playoffs this season, I do not think that goal is out of reach (as the team is OR if they make the adjustments mentioned below) and I agree that making the playoffs, even if bumped round one, would also be extremely beneficial to our young core. This team still needs and has time to develop its players but we need to be making the most of the time we have now to do so before the expectations of playoffs are heavier.
That being said, one of my main concerns is how our two first round draft picks this year are going to develop under Mike Brown. I believe that both Bennett and Karasev have huge potential and are going to surprise a lot of people during their time in the NBA. Bennett has a higher ceiling, but there's no doubt in my mind that both players with be role players on this team in the years to come. The way I see it, there is no better way for a player to develop than to get meaningful game experience. Mike Brown NEEDS to give these two more minutes. To be blunt, I don't even care how much better or worse record-wise it makes us right now this season, but I want Bennett and Karasev to be playing 20 minutes a piece every night. In order to make this happen, you cut Gee out of the rotation all together, and cut AV and Clarks minutes by 5 per game giving you enough minutes to disperse to SK and AB. Confidence is extremely important for young developing players and giving our 2 1st round draft picks time is crucial for them to become confident in their game at the NBA level.
The reasons I have for cutting Gee out of the rotation are very simple. First, he doesn't give you much of anything at all. Secondly, he is not part of this team moving forward. No more defending his PT by saying he's a defender. He's only marginally better defensively than CJ or Clark if at all. Giving all of his minutes to Karasev is investing in our future as well as making Karasev better, sooner. Bennett needs to be getting real time at the 4. I see him becoming a more powerful styled Thad Young but he needs to be playing way more minutes. These guys aren't getting much better or much experience playing less than 10 minutes a game. Make no mistake about it, even with the weak eastern conference this season, the Cavs are still a young, developing team. They should be playing the players who they've invested in for the future, in the roles that they want them to fill. Look I love AV but in my opinion, to better this team in the future, AV's minutes should be cut back to let Bennett get more run at the 4 alongside AV,Zeller, or Bynum. I'm curious to hear opinions on how much better or worse the Cavs would be taking Gee out of the rotation to play Karasev 20 mpg (with Ky,Dion,CJ,TT,Bynum starting) taking 5-7 mins from AV to give to Bennett, and taking 5-7 from clark to give Zeller? I believe that giving those three young guys significant minutes benefits us more than the added wins for playing the other guys (how many more games do we win with the lineup as is vs. with my minutes adjustments)?
I suppose that my point here is simply that we need to work on developing our team into the team we've drafted it to be. I'm looking at the final product here. When things finally get to where we want them to be. We drafted the Kyrie Dion backcourt ! I think these two can be the best backcourt in the NBA as soon as next season. Sergey can become a serviceable SF off of the bench who can give you scoring from beyond the arc. We drafted two PF's both who I believe are or will become starting level players. At the Center, we drafted TZ, who once again is a player i believe can become a starting caliber player. Its just going to take some time. Those six players, along with Andrew Bynum (if he stays healthy and moves his game back into the deep post), are the young players that I see as part of our CORE going forward. Look I'd love to AV to be a part of that, but my concern is his PT taking away from valuable on court development and chemistry built between the young players. Guys like JJ, Gee,Miles, and Clark are expendable and easily replaced. Which is why I see move value in playing guys who we know can improve with time versus guys who've been in the league for 5+ years and are what they are...
Well, if you made it through all of that, thanks for reading. I've been following fts for a year or so now and figured I could pitch in my 2 cents. Please share your opinions. GO CAVS.