It's an interesting time for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They're currently stuck between going full out every night vs. coasting game after game and are still waiting for Kyrie Irving to come back. As those two things play themselves out, the Cavs have a few other interesting developments that don't quite make sense yet but should soon. Let's explore.
Trying to figure out what Anderson Varejao's role is or should be
Anderson Varejao's second half boost on Thursday night was huge for the Cavs in their win over the Milwaukee Bucks. He only played 11 minutes, but scored nine points and adequately filled in for Timofey Mozgov after Mozgov didn't play at all in the second half due to a shoulder strain. 11 minutes isn't a ton, but a) it was in one half and b) Varejao isn't playing much this year.
Varejao's a tough player to judge. He looks somewhat shot every time he's on the floor but then he has moments like he did against the Bucks and you think maybe he can be something. The Cavs don't really need him to - Mozgov, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson are going to handle most of the minutes up front and James Jones offers more shooting as a four than Varejao does - but it's weird seeing him on the bench after he's been such a key player for the Cavs the past few years when healthy.
The Cavs are still figuring out their rotation, so there's still a chance Varejao will find a spot somewhere down the line. But for now, it looks like games like this for Varejao will be few and far between. And that's more than okay - it's almost better that way.
Some thoughts about Timofey Mozgov
From just watching Mozgov on TV, you can tell he's not quite right. Maybe it's the knee surgery, maybe he's just regressing after being so good last year or maybe its both. It really is hard to say exactly what's plaguing Mozgov. After he left Thursday's game with a shoulder strain and didn't return, things got a little more cloudy for Mozgov.
He's not having the same impact he did a year ago and in this case, the numbers paint a largely negative picture. It's hard to know without being there, but maybe some time off will help Mozgov. The Cavs don't need anyone else on the sidelines, but don't have a set of back-to-back games until next Friday and Saturday. Even if the Cavs just need to sit him Saturday vs. Atlanta and then again on Monday vs. Orlando, that's okay. Give him a longer stretch off if it means he'll get healthy. Maybe then we'll see a better, fresher Mozgov.
Cavs vs. Warriors
So the Warriors are really, really good. There's not a team in the league right now besides the Warriors that can be down by as many as 30 points to a team as good as the Clippers and have the general consensus be that they'll come back at some point. And that did happen. In a way, it's similar to the Cavs getting out of the gate slow and then rebounding in the second half. It's just on another level.
This isn't to say that the Cavs are what the Warriors are or could be them. The team's constructions are very different, the mood around the teams are very different. Both teams are in very different spot right now too, as the Dubs (sans Steve Kerr) are basically at full strength while the Cavs have injury problems. It's just a fact.
But the Cavs are behind the Warriors right now. And that's okay. It just speaks to how good Golden State really is. But the Warriors are locked in right now where the Cavs go in and out of being locked in. It'd be nice to see Cleveland locked in a bit more right now, even if they don't necessarily need to be.
- Although it sucks that Timofey Mozgov is dealing with injuries, maybe a little bit of rest will do him good. On top of that, it'll be interesting to see what Tristan Thompson looks like as a starter, at least for a game or two.
- The Cavs' uniforms from last night are the second best uniforms in their current rotation behind the navy blue alternates. The side stripes are really my only issue with them.
- It's honestly cool to see Jared Cunningham bonding with this team. He's been wearing a lot of different LeBron's and it seems like LeBron is taking him under his wing a little bit. It's not guaranteed that he'll be around all year because of how his contract is structured, but here's hoping he does. It's a good story.
- When Kyrie Irving returns - and that feels like it'll be soon-ish - how the Cavs handle their point guards should be interesting. It gets even a little more cramped - which is definitely a good problem to have - when Iman Shumpert comes back to because Matthew Dellavedova plays a lot of two guard.
- Stats about the Cavs I find interesting for various reasons; the Cavs are taking the third most threes in the NBA in terms of frequency and are fourth in terms of three-point attempts per game, Dellavedova is shooting just 31.3 percent on threes and Cleveland is the third worst free throw shooting team in the league.