There is no team this talented that’s so downright egregious. Where is the disconnect?
Right now, the Cavaliers are in the eye of the “shit-storm” as Jim Lahey would say.
Names are getting tossed around, people are asking for Chris Grant to be fired, and even more are asking for Mike Brown be fired.
But how did they get here? And who is right?
The biggest problem is nobody in the organization is fundamentally wrong. But the owner, general manager, and players are all going in completely different directions.
The biggest problem was that I don’t think Grant ever signed off on hiring Brown; Brown was 100% Dan Gilbert’s signing.
This whole fiasco is a perfect example of why general managers should make decisions, and all owners should do is give them goals and cut checks. Especially in the Cavs’ case.
You can call Grant a wild card, but that would be the understatement of the year. He’s always operating very meticulously and quietly; none of his draft picks were expected; his trades are always incredibly one-sided.
The attention to detail that Grant gives cannot be understated. He was/is building something really interesting in Cleveland.
Many people say the Dion Waiters pick was bad, but I am still a huge endorser of the pick despite campaigning for Andre Drummond up until the second Waiters’ name was called (I still would have liked Drummond, but I am not butt-hurt about the Cavs selecting Waiters). He gets to the hoop at will, he’s becoming a better decision-maker, he’s a really good passer, he has developed into a reliable set-shooter, and he has a killer mentality laced with a mean-streak.
Grant was clearly building this team around the penetration ability of Kyrie and Dion.
There were a few sources the past two seasons that said Grant did not view fourth overall pick Tristan Thompson as a starting power forward in the long-run. Not to say he’s not good, but that he’s more of a energy third big man, which I thoroughly agree with. When a team has Kyrie and Dion, ideally the court would be spaced by complementary shooters. Thompson doesn’t fit the mold.
It’s clear Grant wants to build an offensive juggernaut in the mold of Houston, Miami, San Antonio, New York (assuming Tyson Chandler’s healthy), Portland, and OKC, that feeds off the elite dribble-penetration of Waiters and a once-in-seven-years point guard like Kyrie. And that’s what you’re supposed to do. Most teams that didn’t have two of the league’s best penetrators fall into their laps, are plotting ways to get guys like them because the future of the league is dribble-penetration, versatility, and shooting.
Grant was on the corner-three, penetration, advanced metrics train back when he traded for Omri Casspi who caught Grant’s eye because of his ability to hit the three pointer in the corner that’s now lusted after.
Bennett and Clark are also products of Grant looking into the future mold of this team. I am not going to say Bennett’s played well this season, but I am not going to sit back and tell you I would rather have had 90% of the other guys in the lottery. I still have faith, and as should all of you.
You should at least have faith in Grant, who knows this team needs the floor to be spaced for Dion and Kyrie. That’s really the silver-lining in all of this.
But Gilbert hired Brown. WHY?!?!?!? HE DIDN’T EVEN INTERVIEW ANYONE ELSE! HE LITERALLY JUST HANDED HIM $20M FOR NO REASON AT ALL!!!
The worst part is he is the antithesis of this team.
He’s trying to make this team a grind-it-out, defense-oriented, party-pooper.
Grant sees Earl Clark and he thinks “wow, what a great floor-spacer, and skilled power forward.” Brown thinks to himself, “WOW, LOOK AT THAT LENGTH! No small forward could possibly get around someone that long! Look at how long he is! Who cares about what a train-wreck the Gee-Clark small forward combo will be offensively, who is gonna score on them?!?!?!”
Brown is the same guy who refused to play LeBron James, the most versatile player in the history of ever, at any position but small forward. Brown’s mind does not work for this team. This team is designed to get wins on the offensive end of the court. Remember, in Grants ideal Cavs lineup, Thompson wouldn’t even be starting.
I can’t blame Grant, he obviously sees the pieces he wants on the court, but they just aren’t being utilized the way he envisioned. The team’s best small forward, C.J. Miles, barely sees the floor at small forward with Kyrie and Dion because he lacks the “defensive prowess” of Alonzo Gee or Earl Clark.
*Alonzo Gee rant*: He’s awful. He’s worse than awful. No starting small forward in the past five years has been worse than Gee. I welcome anyone to contest this claim. He’s an above-average defender sometimes. THAT’S HIS CALLING CARD! Would it really hurt Brown to go with Miles over him? Gee literally brings nothing to the table. If this were a pot-luck, he would be that guy who comes with nothing, baked out of his mind, and eats like 73% of the food that’s actually good. If I see him dribble the ball in a half-court setting, lose his man on defense, or EVEN THINK about shooting a pull-up jumper I may very well boycott every minute he plays for the rest of the season.
What do you get when you combine a naturally offensive team and a coach that overvalues defense? A 5-12 record, that’s what.
I tried really, really hard to tell myself Brown wouldn’t drive this team into the ground.
But the worst part is I can’t even blame Brown. The man was put here after he told Gilbert exactly what he planned on doing… And he’s doing it.
If he were coaching Houston, he would probably still be playing Asik and Howard together because that’s the type of stuff Brown does. He’s going to value size over athleticism, length over quickness, and defense over offense 10/10.
I can’t even blame the players.
Can you blame Gee for being sent out onto the court for 25 minutes per game, and sucking the life out of every possession he is involved with? He’s bad! That’s what league-worst starting small forwards do! Can you blame Thompson for not being able to shoot? He’s not a shooter! Can you blame Kyrie for not playing on an elite level every game? To some extent, but defenses are having an easy time shutting him down because of league-worst spacing. Can you blame Dion for getting pissed at Kyrie and Thompson? Not really, Dion’s been the Cavs’ best player so far this season!
The only guy worthy of blame is Gilbert. There isn’t much to do about him. The Cavs are stuck with their coach, general manager, and players until something gives and one of them gets moved.
Personally, I want Brown gone. His interests simply don’t reflect the future of this team and there are coaches better at what he does (Lionel Hollins), and coaches with styles more compatible to the Cavs’ roster (George Karl) on the market, likely for less than 20M over five years.
None of these people should been in the same organization together. The Cavs are a bunch of vastly different people united by a series of unfortunate events. Their team is an effing walking basketball-playing paradox.
They all kinda ended up together. Until the tension finally gives, and parts move to make more sense of this team, enjoy watching the Cavaliers, basketball’s first orphanage in the Eastern Conference– inspired by the great work of the Sacramento Kings.