Welcome to a new feature here at Fear the Sword! Each week we will look back at the week that was and decide which player for the Cleveland Cavaliers put in the best performances. It’s important to note, we will be doing this in comparison to expectations for the selected player. If we just did a straight-up “who is the best player on the Cavs this week”, I’d run out of creative ways to compliment LeBron James.
That being said, your week one player of the week is LeBron James.
LeBron averaged 25 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game over the past week. His efficiency has also been impressive, shooting 60 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from behind the arc.
In starting the season at power forward, James has been able to rest defensively on the worst offensive front court player for the opposition. With fewer one-on-one responsibilities defensively, James can roam and provide help on the weak-side.
The returns from this defensive change have been positive as well. Per basketball reference, the team has a DRTG of 104 with LeBron on the court this season, compared to 108 last year. It’s a small sample size, but considering two of the team’s best defenders in J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson have been coming off the bench, the effect LeBron can have alongside Jae Crowder is impressive.
While he did admit to being a little out of shape after missing most of the preseason, his play to open the year looks like classic LeBron. One of the best signs of this season has been even though the minutes are still high for LeBron, the actual workload seems dramatically less. The ball movement is improved, he is receiving passes while cutting off-ball and those changes have been reflected in his high field goal percentage.
With most of the defensive responsibilities being delegated to Crowder, James gets to quarterback the defense as a free safety. He appears to be more engaged on that end in calling out rotations and assignments, rather than just sticking to his man as he has in the past.
Plus he has made some outstanding individual plays on that end as well. Like this block on Giannis Antetokounmpo during a fastbreak.
LeBron stepped out of the way of a full-speed Giannis just so he could swat his ass damn pic.twitter.com/Xju9s2rtuD— Eric Wobsoe (@World_Wide_Wob) October 21, 2017
In the coming weeks, I’ll try to make an effort to seek out impressive performances from this Cavs roster. To look at who is making a difference and helping to contribute to the success of the team. However, it’s important to not take for granted just how special LeBron continues to be, even after all of these years. The Cavs have put great pieces around him and as long as the team does well in the regular season, he’ll be in the running for another MVP award.