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Buddy Ball: The Big 3's roles, Matthew Dellavedoa and some Kyrie Irving appreciation

It's been an interesting two weeks. Here's some odds and ends about it.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Want to know what I've been thinking about the last two weeks? No? Too bad, here's two weeks worth of Cavs thoughts since we skipped last week:

  • I never thought I'd ever, ever, ever say this, but I miss Delly. His defense was overrated, but he always tried on that end. He also had good chemistry with Waiters, who could use all the help he can get about now. I don't miss how much Blatt played him, but there's also something to be said for turning to guys who are going to try to play the way the coach says. If only to set an example for the other players.
  • Love has been about as bad (or maybe even worse) on defense as everyone expected. There are plenty of articles out there in the early season that touch on it, but I'll link to the one Justin did here because I have a FTS bias. It may surprise you that his below average defense doesn't bother me all that much. It bothers me with everyone else -- especially those who I think are more physically capable of playing defense well (LeBron) -- but not Love. We knew what we were getting with him as far as defense is concerned.
  • What bothers me is how much Love's offensive talents are being squandered. It is early in the season and big men usually take longer to be incorporated seamlessly into offenses, but he's basically being used for his passing skills (good) and as a decoy behind the three point line. He provides floor spacing because he's a good three point shooter, but his actual actual scoring has been mostly a myth until the last two games.
  • Nothing in those last two points is news. It's just that I assumed for this version of the Cavs to be successful, different players would have to live in a star niche. I thought LeBron would have to focus mostly on defense because we would need him to do that for this team to be good enough defensively. I thought Kyrie and LeBron would trade off as playmakers/distributors for their teammates. Most importantly, I thought Love would take on the role of the primary scorer because other than rebounding, that's his elite skill. If he wasn't going to be good defensively (and he wasn't), he would have to make up for it by being a monster on offense. What I was imagining was some alternate dimension version of how the 2007-2008 Celtics split up their responsibilities to mesh as quickly as possible.
  • What has happened instead is LeBron is still the primary scorer. Kyrie is the second option, which I thought would be the case either way. Love is an afterthought. And worst of all, LeBron isn't playing the defense I thought he would have to play. There's time for things to change, but unless Love is going to suddenly become a two way player, he's not going to make his maximum impact unless things skew closer to what I imagined. That sort of happened in Saturday night's game. We'll see if that trend continues.
  • Of course, if the Cavs just defend and share the ball like they have the last few games, they'll be pretty okay.
  • I cannot say enough how much Kyrie has surpassed my expectations. He's not perfect on defense or offense, sure, but a lot of his imperfections should work themselves out as he learns Blatt's system. He's been at his best this season when he's played as some kind of unholy combination of Westbrook's relentless attack and Chris Paul's handles and court vision. Is he as good at attacking as Westbrook is? No. Is he as good at playmaking as Chris Paul is? Well, no. But the combination of those skills makes him his own unique and frightening player. He'll be the exact point guard this team needs when he finds the balance between when he should set up other players and when he should attack. He's on his way, and I've loved his improvement in finding that balance as the season has gone on.
  • Even with the loss, I think the Spurs game was the Cavs best game all season. The Cavs don't have any truly quality wins yet, and no, I don't count a win against the Bulls where Derrick Rose sat out most of the fourth quarter and all of overtime as a quality win. I barely count a win against the Wizards where they were missing Nene and Beal is still coming back from an injury as a quality win. That Spurs game was as close as it got, and I'm sad they didn't pull it off.
  • I think the best chance Dion has to stay on this team for the rest of the season is if he keeps playing how he's been playing. He's killing his trade value so far this season. I believe in Dion's genius enough to believe this is all part of his master plan. Maybe I'll write an article full of Dion-related conspiracy theories.
  • If LeBron's back has been an issue in this early season, that's something that may come back now and again during the season. That's the nature of back injuries. Of course, the Cavs are pretending nothing is wrong (maybe nothing is), so we don't know the nature of this injury is (if it even exists). I guess we will have to wait and see if he can be more consistent throughout the season and if he gets more lift on dunks and layups. That's when I'll believe for certain his back is okay. At least it seems he's starting to cope to playing without the same lift he's had in previous years.
  • Tristan is going to get paid, and he probably deserves it if he proves he can really play center.
  • Lastly, I feel like I should hate Lou Amundson, but he looks like he's trying so very hard out there. It's difficult to hate him completely even when he doesn't do a whole lot other than try hard.