Cleveland Cavaliers Lack Qualities of NBA's Elite

The Cleveland Cavaliers Are Simply Not An NBA Contender

10/29/09 in NBA   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

As different as the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers may be, they do all have some similar qualities.  It appears that these qualities tend to separate them from the rest of the league and make them the true "elite" teams of the NBA.  However, one prominent team is missing out on a number of these and its why they are not an elite team and will not be able to truly contend for the NBA title this year.  Of course, I am talking about the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Spurs, Magic, Celtics, and Lakers have three main qualities that they share.  First, they all have athletic bigs who can spread the court.  The Spurs have Tim Duncan, Celtics have KG and 'Sheed, the Magic have Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard (can't hit an outside shot, but can start his game further out than most bigs), and the Lakers have Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.  The Cavs have Zydrunas Illgauskus, however they have put him on the bench for Shaquille O'Neal and will greatly limit his playing time.  Another quality the big four share is they all have bigs who can be physical inside.  Andrew Bynum (Lakers), Kevin Garnett (Celtics), Kendrick Perkins (Celtics), Rasheed Wallace (Celtics), Tim Duncan (Spurs), DeJaun Blair (Spurs), Dwight Howard (Magic) Marcin Gortat (Magic) all fill these roles for the elite teams.  The Cavaliers actually come closest in this one quality with the other teams by having Shaq on their roster.  However, Shaq is clearly not the same and is ability to pound inside is hampered by the fact that he isn't surrounded by a power forward who can stretch the defense's bigs.  The last quality these teams share is having an athletic wing who can play defense keeping their team's elite perimeter scorer from having to play defense all game.  The Lakers have Ron Artest for Kobe Bryant, the Celtics have Marquis Daniels for Paul Pierce, the Magic have Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus for Vince Carter, and the Spurs have two wingmen who can score and play solid defense in Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson.  The Cavaliers have LeBron who is an elite offensive and defensive threat.  However, he has no one beside him to complement him on the wing.  Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon were brought in to attempt to be these guys, but unless you can somehow combine their talents into one player they'll both fall short.  Parker isn't a good enough defender and Moon isn't much of a shooter.

Ultimately, the Cavaliers just lack the qualities that other elite teams have.  Sure, they put out the best player in the league every night and that helps them cover up some of their weaknesses.  However, when playoff time comes around they'll once again be exposed for not being able to spread their floor with their bigs which will even further limit Shaq's already limited game and they'll have to depend on LeBron to create all their offense and be an elite defender to keep their defense going.  In other words, the Cavs are still LeBron and bunch of misfits.
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12/3/09   |   blackbrooklynbulldog   |   23 respect

 shaq is slowing them down....

12/3/09   |   PresEmart   |   18 respect

The cavs will be just fine, Sitting at 13-5 right now, were looking in great shape. Good Prediction though.. not.

10/30/09   |   sktempmn


Cant wait to see the unbeaten Wolves take take on Shaq, LeBron and the Cavs tonight. This will be a great lineup!

10/30/09   |   gabrielarenaslives

JAUtley25-----Remember Shaq did it in L.A.... ten year ago! Get a grip, he's old. It didn't work in Phoenix, it won't work in Cleveland. He's nothing but a caricature of what he once was. Cleveland has the two most immobile big men in the game. Makes no sense to team them up with the most dangerous person in the open floor. It was a desperate ill advised move that will become very apparent early in the season. Lebron will probably stay due to the new collective bargaining agreement, b/c ny won't pay the extra luxury tax. He might win one eventually, but not any time in the next few years, that's for certain.

10/30/09   |   JAUtley25

 Yeah, I agree. Adding a Hall of Fame Center who put up better numbers at 36 last year than 95% of the Centers in the League (averaging a double-double, in case no one watched) for two expiring contracts from guys that rode the Pined Pony most of the season was a terrible move. Especially considering that the Cavs Center (Z) has been such a difference-maker. Remember, Shaq couldn't do it in L.A. And then it was the Heat. Now it's the Cavs. Apparently we all forgot that Lebron "Atlas" James took the Cavs to the Finals in 2007. If it weren't for this trade, LJ would already be shopping condos in Manhattan. All I'm saying is, there is DEFINITELY no reason to rule out the Cavs just because of an 0-2 start to a proven team (which, if you actually watched the game, will truly be one of the greatest series of this decade come April) and a sleeper team in the Raptors (who have quietly been building the next Canadian Empire in the Toronto roster). I'm not making excuses for them losing...wait, yes I am, because it's 2 GAMES INTO THE SEASON! Give me a break. All those teams you listed and every team that has won a championship has done it with successful role players (Jordan, Pippen, Kerr, Longley; Duncan, Parker, Ginobil, Horry; Shaq, Kobe, Fisher, Horry; KG, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo; the list goes on and on). The Cavs are already talking about shopping for Stephen Jackson, a proven swingman, which is just what they need (and what they thought they had in Anthony Parker, before mistaking Parker with a bad high school guard). All they have to do is find a couple of good role players that will step in when they need to. Lebron will get 30+ points and Shaq will add 15-20 a night plus around 8-10 rebounds. Just add the swingmen, the role players...that's all. I think come February, just in time for All-Star break, you guys will be singing a different show tune.

10/30/09   |   Asertiv808   |   19 respect

Shaq clogs the lane, the Cavs need another spread the floor guy, or a Birdman energy guy who doesnt realize he is supposed to watch the The King and Shaqalier, but will make his own opportunities. Agreed Mike Brown relies on King James way too much, overrated coach imo.

10/30/09   |   dwyermaker   |   39 respect

kantwistaye wrote:

Until someone can explain how they'll defend a Rondo/Allen/Pierce/KG/Sheed lineup at the end of a game, I cannot see how they have any shot of winning a title. They also still have no one who can defend Rashard Lewis when they play the Magic. They are one of the most flawed good teams ever and that's a testament to the greatness of LeBron James. 

As far as the Celtics go, I am guessing that of their top 5 players, 3-4 will actually be playing in the playoffs and probably only Rondo is still going to be 100% because of injuries/age.  Even without injury look at how inconsistent Ray Allen has been in the playoffs over the last two years     

As for the Magic, a significant aspect of Rashard Lewis success against the Cavs was because of Turkoglu being so effective as another 6'9 anomaly shooter against that Cavs team.  Vince Carter is a huge question mark filling that role but he is nothing if not a conventional 2 or 3 compared to Turkoglu, especially at this point in his career.

Regardless, it should be fun to see play out...


   

10/30/09   |   aos035   |   68 respect

(Edited by aos035)

I love how the Spurs are consideredc an elite team, although our backups were ab out even with the Hornets' starters.

We got upset by the Bulls, though, so that isn't good.

10/30/09   |   blackbrooklynbulldog   |   23 respect

 Lebron is leaving cleveland...look at this team?....tired and it's time to move on and change zip codes lebron

10/29/09   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

(Edited by WBKsports)

 But the CAVS are a team that won 66 games last season...That's only 6 wins away from MJ's Bulls in 1995-96. I'm not sure the roster has changed much other than the addition of SHAQ-DADDY. The Cavs have a nasty Road Back 2 Backer vs. the Magic and Heat on Nov. 11/12.  After 10 games this season, the CAVS could have 4 losses. I'm not saying the CAVS are done, but they may not win 60....The Celtics and Magic will though, so Cleveland may not be a contender for the NBA Championship this season unless they get their "stuff" together real quick..."REAL QUICK!!!"

10/29/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

dwyermaker wrote:
Let's not forget the Cavs lost a close one to a Celtics team that is very strong and will not get better as the year goes along given their age.  Then they had a typical let-down game versus an underrated Raptors team on the road the very next night after traveling.  And Delonte West, probably the team's second best player during the playoffs, is still out with his personal problems. 

Give them a chance to gel with the new pieces and they are definitely still an elite team although I would be very surprised if they won it all given the strength of the Lakers and Spurs...

Until someone can explain how they'll defend a Rondo/Allen/Pierce/KG/Sheed lineup at the end of a game, I cannot see how they have any shot of winning a title. They also still have no one who can defend Rashard Lewis when they play the Magic. They are one of the most flawed good teams ever and that's a testament to the greatness of LeBron James. 

10/29/09   |   dwyermaker   |   39 respect

Let's not forget the Cavs lost a close one to a Celtics team that is very strong and will not get better as the year goes along given their age.  Then they had a typical let-down game versus an underrated Raptors team on the road the very next night after traveling.  And Delonte West, probably the team's second best player during the playoffs, is still out with his personal problems. 

Give them a chance to gel with the new pieces and they are definitely still an elite team although I would be very surprised if they won it all given the strength of the Lakers and Spurs...

10/29/09   |   Heyhey1970   |   194 respect

Even 2 games in, I agree with this.  I feel horribly for LeBron.  The Shaq trade had a lot of sizzle, but no substance.  It was a silly basketball move. 

10/29/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

(Edited by kantwistaye)

You got me on the spelling and I'd agree they'll probably be a top three seed.  But there is no way that the Cavaliers can match up with KG and 'Sheed at the end of games or Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis.  They're too slow and unathletic up front to win games.  They'll be torn apart defensively in the playoffs again.  That and Mike Brown is offensively inept and the addition of Shaq has made that even more difficult because he can't help spread the court for LeBron to drive and create the offense the Cavaliers need.

10/29/09   |   mk_donley   |   2554 respect

It pains me to be a Cleveland sports fan.

10/29/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

aerockyulhim wrote:
I can't believe we're getting doom predictions two games into the season

In my defense, I've been saying this all offseason.  They'll make the playoffs and have a good regular season, but in the playoffs they'll be exposed.  Adding Shaq made them a worse team.  He clogs the lane offensively, meanwhile Big Z was able to spread the floor.

10/29/09   |   jackso6331

I love what Charles Barkley said last year after the defeat of the Cavs to Orlando. He said that the Cavs play run too much halfcourt offense with Lebron having to make EVERYTHING happen. They should play a slightly better version of the Phoenix Suns brand of ball. By this, I mean, just make Lebron the fastest player on the court. He is the most dangerous in the NBA in the frontcourt. They should fast break at each chance they get. They were a good defensive team last year so don't change that. I think that Shaq could be an enforcer in the paint defensively, but they will be fine if he can just give them a few points in the paint on offense. I don't think that the Shaq acquisition makes them an immediate contender until early next year. They just need someone to pick up the slack so Lebron doesn't have to have a triple double for them to win. However, I think Lebron is seasoned enough to get the Cavs to the playoffs.

10/29/09   |   aerockyulhim

I can't believe we're getting doom predictions two games into the season