clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Buddy Ball: How to lose, Everyone Loves eachother, Kyrie's struggles

New, comments

Ruminations on Kyrie Irving's health, the way the Cavaliers lose and locker room harmony.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavaliers dropped to the Hornets on Thursday night and all of the sudden, it feels like the sky is falling. Let's take a deep breath. You can feel a pull to be optimistic about the team with Tyronn Lue installed as head coach, but the fanbase nor the team have proven to be particularly resilient or consistent with their newly turned over leaf.

Kyrie's Not Ready Yet

I think I was a little unfair in expecting Kyrie Irving to just consistently trend upward as he returned from a broken kneecap that ended his season in last year's Finals. Instead, he's been pretty inconsistent, and that's sort of fair. Each rehab is different, and very rarely are players performances predictable in the wake of them.

Irving has been tough to count on so far this year. His jumper has completely abandoned him, only making three of his last 20 attempts from distance. It's really cramping the spacing on the floor, with LeBron James' jumper on the lam as well.

Any lineup that doesn't feature Kevin Love at the four is just brutal for the Cavs spacing right now. and they've been forced to try high degree of difficulty finishes at the rim instead of firing away from distance. They're talented passers, dribblers and finishers at the rim, but they aren't getting many easy buckets the last two games.

You'd expect Kyrie to work his way back to 100 percent, but while he does, I'd really like it if he dribbled a bit less. I'm aware he's an incredible iso finisher, and that's part of his game you have to let flourish, but there are possessions where he's dribbling aimlessly for nearly half the shot clock. No matter how good you are, that's not great offense, and it's dragging down the pace the team is shooting for as well.

Everything is Fun!

A little note that might be a bit pessimistic: I know we're in the fluff stage of the Lue era, and the players-only meeting was a Festivus-esque airing of grievances that will bring the team to the closeness David Griffin felt it was missing, but you can consider me a bit skeptical.

This is a team that has, on multiple occasions, had negative reports leak once adversity hit that they had been "saying all the right things" in the midst of less-than-stellar working conditions. Maybe the Cavaliers have figured out how to fit their weird personalities into a cohesive locker room, but in the short term, I'll keep my guard up.

The Right Way to Lose

When the Cavs have lost games this season, it's really left a bad taste in people's mouth. They've been furious with the effort, slipping into bad habits and the general demeanor of the team.

Sure, teams lose games all the time, even to inferior competition, but for whatever reason, fans have really had a problem with how the Cavaliers lose their games.

My question is this: how should the Cavaliers be losing their games? Most of the time, when an NBA team loses, it's because they didn't play well. The Cavaliers, outside of competition against three or four teams, will be favored in nearly every game for the rest of the season. They will not win every game for the rest of the season, because teams have bad nights.

I know the Warriors are setting an unfair curve, but the Cavaliers are just going to have nights where they come out flat, or don't play the style that they should. This is not a Cavalier-centric problem. I'm not here to lead the moral victory brigade, but let's stop having every loss induce a panic attack. We won't survive the regular season.