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Buddy Ball: Taking stock of Cavs struggles and the Warriors dominance

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

So the Cavaliers lost to the Wizards and I'm still a little steamed about it. It's one of those things that happens in the regular season, especially early on and you just have to live with it. But it doesn't mean I have to be happy with it. Whenever a team starts losing the issues seem so much more glaring and when a team comes out flat against a "rival" it leaves everybody feeling unsatisfied. When you look at the bigger picture, it's hard to get too upset about the Cavs and not be somewhat optimistic, but right now...

First off, Mr. Mozgov.

Timofey Mozgov is struggling this season. He's clearly still playing through a significant amount of pain and he doesn't appear to be in shape. Regression could also be a factor, especially as he approaches his 30th birthday. But beyond all of these factors, the way he is being used is bothering me the most. I wrote about this briefly in recapping the Nets game, but the Cavs are trying to force feed him the ball in ways he wasn't receiving the ball last season. They're clearly trying to get him going and build some confidence. But gathering bounce passes in traffic weren't a heavy dose of his diet last year when he was healthy and giving him post up opportunities seems like a waste when there are better post up options in the floor in Kevin Love and LeBron James. So many of his baskets came from lobs and backdoor cuts, but now it's as though they are trying to make him a focal point of the offense.

While I get the logic behind trying to get him going, keeping him in a role he's capable of executing should allow for him to stay on the floor longer, get some conditioning and hopefully some confidence. The way he's being used is very reminiscent of Anderson Varejao last season. They need to accept his limitations and stick to higher percentage options on offense to prevent the slow starts they've been having. The health aspect is tougher, clearly he's cleared to play otherwise he wouldn't be out there. I don't know if rest would help or if this is just something he's going to fight through. But either way, the Cavs need to make sure they aren't asking to much out of him, especially when things will get more normal in the near future with Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert.

Next up, Mo Williams. Mo overall has been a pleasant surprise this season, but the Washington game brought one of my biggest issues with him this season to the forefront of my mind. He needs to stop looking off Kevin Love. Too frequently he is looking for his own shot coming off the pick or misses Love battling off ball for position. The lack of post ups the Cavs ran against the Wizards was disturbing, especially with Washington trotting out Jared Dudley at center at times. Abandoning post ups contributed in allowing the pace of the game to get too quick for the Cavs and left them settling for bad shots and sloppy turnovers as they forced the action. Love and LeBron are both really good there, the Cavs can't forget that. Matthew Dellavedova has done a better job looking for Love and feeding players in the post. For how good Mo has been, it's one area that I would really like to see him change up a bit.

I can't really get upset at how LeBron or Love have played so far this season. LeBron has been a little more grouchy this season, and I actually like it. His leadership has seemed so organic this year and with the Cavs rallying from a slow first half of the season last year and turning it on, him getting on the team to help prevent bad habits from forming is probably a really good thing. With the Cavs shorthanded and the list of available bodies always changing, they have been two constants this season and allowed the team to still have a good amount of success. Except against the Wizards, damn the Wizards.

Quick thoughts:

  • I MISS KYRIE! Come back soon.
  • I'm pretty convinced that the Cavs will pursue another center this season. Both as Mozgov insurance for this season if his injuries don't get better and also as a tryout to see if there's a cheaper option than him for beyond this year. Who they'll target, I'm not sure. But I just feel that's the biggest position of need with this team.
  • This has been one of the strangest starts to the season I can remember. There's a lot of teams in both conferences that I thought would be much better than they have been so far, then there's other teams that seem to just pull wins out of thin air. I don't understand how Toronto is winning right now, Chicago got an impressive win against the Spurs. But it seems for every impressive win each team has an equally embarrassing loss. Except for the Warriors, they're terrifying.
  • That being said, I can't wait until Christmas and I hope the Cavs and Warriors are fully healthy by that point. It's the only upcoming Cavs game I really have on my radar at this point.