LeBron James had sat out for 8 games with a knee injury before returning this week, and in those eight games the Cleveland Cavaliers were a nauseating 1-7 record. This was some of the worst basketball I’ve ever watched. During this stretch, the Cavs suffered a 19 point loss to the Kings, a 3 point loss to the putrid, gross 76ers, and a 16 point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Going into this 2014-2015 season many predicted that the Cavs would be nearly indestructible, but the team looked lost without His Majesty on the court–a lot more lost than the Heat used to be without James, too. Sitting at 19-19 record and in 6th place in the (try not to laugh) Eastern Conference, the Cavs are not living up to their lofty preseason expectations, with or without James. So what’s going on in Cleveland?
Unfortunately, poor bench play and immaturity have doomed the Cavs thus far. Cleveland is ranked 2nd to last in bench points per game this season with just 24.7 and 4th to last in bench rebounds per game. Many have been comparing this Cleveland team to the 2010-2014 Miami Heat team(s), but the difference here is maturity– or lack thereof. The big three of the Miami Heat were significantly older than this Cav’s big three, which may have made winning more of a pressing issue amongst players other than Lebron. Maturity also paid off the most in Miami because the Big Three accepted that winning was more important than individual glory. Kevin Love could learn from Chris Bosh’s successful transition from being the young star of a bad team to being his new team’s third best player.
So let’s call it what it is: the Cav’s organization is down-right dysfunctional. They were handed 2 #1 overall picks and 2 #4 overall picks in a 3 year span, and failed to make a winning team out of that in 2013-2014. Now, being handed the most dominant talent the NBA and snatching Kevin Love from the Timberwolves, they still can’t do it. Needless to say, these Cavs need to get their act together before Lebron opts out. There, I said it.