The fact that one off-season can completely destroy a team is one the reasons I love sports. Our current victim; the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s crazy that one player changed the entire course of a team’s season. With the departure of Lebron James, the Cavs went from title contenders to a team clawing to savior a victory.
Cleveland is currently riding a horrific 18-game losing streak (thank goodness I’m a Spurs fan). This team, at times, looked as if they had no business even competing in the NBA. Everything has gone completely wrong since this team has lost Lebron. Many Cavs fans must be absolutely disgusted right now, but in my opinion, Cleveland can be a few additions away from competing again. I’m not saying they can instantly turn into title contenders, but they do have a little talent among that roster. I believe Ramon Sessions needs to be unleashed. He has quietly always produced numbers whenever he is given minutes. Since Mo Williams has been inconsistent or injured through the season, Ramon is finally getting his shot. This month, he has averaged 14 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.4 rebounds. These aren’t mind-boggling numbers, but they are something you can build upon. Sessions is only 24 and can only get better. Regardless, I really like this kid’s game.
Another two players I like in Cleveland’s roster are Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson. It’s a shame that Varejao and Gibson are injured at the moment because they could really use them. The Cavs have been lacking a presence in the paint since his absence. Varejao isn’t the type of guy that’s going to light up the scoreboard, but he will defend and rebound. His energetic presence in the paint can give a team fits. With injuries, he still has averaged 9.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks. Not amazing, but solid for a center. Gibson, on the other hand, has always been a great shooter since he has entered the league. People tend to forget it was Gibson that helped Lebron and Cleveland make their first finals appearance in 2007. He has played in big playoff games before and has made big shots. In the month of December, when he was healthy, he put up 14.4 points and 2.4 assists. I’m not trying to say that Sessions, Varejao, and Gibson are going to become the next big three to reckon with, but I think they can be solid role players. The Cavs need a playmaker on their squad, one who can take over a game, which they are currently lacking; as the Cavs rank, 27th in scoring.
The biggest problems I see on this team are Mo Williams and Antwan Jamison. Both of these players are ineffective and overpaid. Williams can’t step up in big games to save his soul. On many occasions his playoff averages regressed compared to his regular season averages. He was simply outplayed by his counterpart point guards. As for Jamison, I am not a fan of his style of basketball. I am never a big fan of a power forward settling for jumpers. In my opinion, to win championships, you must win the battle in the paint. Jamison isn’t getting it done. I hate the fact that he settles for jumpers instead of backing an opponent in the post. Back in his days at Dallas, he was really effective with his post up. He has a quick turn hook in his arsenal, use it! I’ve seen Jamison effectively play the post which is something I want to see him do more. Either way, both of these players are beginning to move past their prime and need to be moved somehow, someway. Between the two of them, they are scheduled to make over $22 mil. Time for a change in scenery, don’t you think?
The Cavs are still a long way from even being in the same sentence as NBA Championship, but with a few smart additions, they can be competitors. With a great draft pick, they can get lucky and get the right player into their system. Perhaps, moving Mo and Antwan can open up some cap space in order to acquire someone else. Even though the Cavs are having a sickening season, they have something to build upon. You can even throw in J.J. Hickson into the mix. Hickson has been inconsistent this season, but is still only 22 years of age. With a little bit of growth, he can improve his game drastically. At times in his career, he has actually played great basketball. In about five years, Cleveland will make another playoff appearance in the Post-Lebron Era.