So things are not going super well right now. After a respectable 5-3 start to the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers have lost four games in a row. The last two have been by an average of 15 points. They're out of synch on offense, bad on defense, and just frustrating to watch in general. It wasn't supposed to be like this.
But there's no reason to panic. LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving didn't all forget how to play basketball over the summer, they just haven't figured out how to play together yet. It's going to take some time -- perhaps a little more than we realized.
Kirk Goldsberry looked at the team's interior defensive struggles:
Cleveland ranks 26th in defensive efficiency and gives up a whopping 108 points per 100 possessions. They've been an absolute sieve in the paint, ranking 28th in the league with opponents converting 61 percent of attempts inside of eight feet. Simply put, if this doesn't improve, the Cavaliers won't win the championship.
Chris Fedor had some criticism of LeBron:
It's time for James to play better. Perhaps he's disgusted with a lack of ball movement, poor shot selection or players being in the wrong spots, but he can't show that. Not as the leader of a young and impressionable roster.
The Cavs' issues have not yet impacted their marketability:
As part of the new multiyear deal, "Uncle Drew" now will be attached to the greater Pepsi brand, and the company is expected to further leverage the character in retail, such as on point-of-purchase displays.
Jason Lloyd is still talking about lineup changes:
Swapping Tristan Thompson for Anderson Varejao solves nothing except maybe creating more pick-and-roll opportunities for Kevin Love. It would be headline-grabbing drastic to bench either Love or Kyrie Irving, which leaves only the shooting guard spot. His options there are limited since going back to Dion Waiters at this point seems unlikely.
He also wrote a column on David Blatt, and I'm choosing to pull out this part of it:
It's at that moment Blatt should've called a timeout and chastised James. Instead, he doesn't dare say a cross word toward his superstar publicly or privately. Nobody right now is telling LeBron what he can or can't do.
Cavs: the blog's Cory Hughey wrote positively about Dan Gilbert:
The relationship between a fan and the owner of a team rarely has a grey area. You either canonize them for the investment they've made towards your sublime subterfuge, or you resent them because you're more invested in something they own than they are. Gilbert is invested. He paid a 37-year-old Shaq $20 million, to guard Dwight Howard in a playoff series that never happened. He took on $16 million in basically dead money for the 8th best lottery odds in a weak draft. Of the three Cleveland sports teams, I see the Cavs as the least likely to ever move because of Gilbert's marriage to the city through his numerous business enterprises and investments within the 216.
And finally, a little defiance is always good:
Cavs official, smiling, on large & loud pro-Raptors contingent in Cleveland: "We'll see who's still cheering in April, May & probably June."— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) November 23, 2014