Welp, it only took 15 games for people to get upset about how many minutes LeBron James has played (HE’S AVERAGING THE MOST MINUTES IN THE LEAGUE WITH 38.1 PER GAME). Now, even Draymond Green is pointing out the foolishness, and LeBron is publicly agreeing with him! LeBron is playing the most minutes since his first year in Miami when he averaged 39 minutes per game. The least amount of minutes that LeBron has ever averaged in a season, 35.6, was in 2015-16; you know, the season Cleveland won the championship. LeBron has publicly stated that he prefers to play more minutes so that his back won’t tighten up; but, he’s also said that playing this much is bad and he’s only doing it because both of the Cavs primary point guards, Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose, are out with injuries.
Gee, a guy you knew wouldn’t play until January and a guy who gets injured whenever you say his name are both unavailable? How could Cleveland have possibly foreseen this? LeBron has played “point forward” through a lot of his career, but there seriously isn’t another ball handler who can get the basketball down the court and distribute on this so-called deep Cavaliers team? The Cavs don’t really care about their standing, apparently, at the end of the season. They just want to make the playoffs, then they assume that they’ll advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, whether they have home court advantage or not (remember, the Celtics had the one seed in the East last year and the Cavs still made the Finals).
But, if you don’t care about the standings, then why are you asking LeBron to play THE HEAVIEST minutes load in the entire NBA? He’s TEN YEARS OLDER THAN GIANNIS. Don’t you want a rested and healthy LeBron for the playoffs? This is more about Ty Lue, who is not a good coach, and the Cavs front office than it is about LeBron. LeBron shouldn’t have to carry this team in November; that’s what all the other well paid players are supposed to do. There are serviceable PGs all over the league; how can the Cavs be stuck with none? Like, how expensive would it be to trade for JJ Barea? Or, how about Shabazz Napier, who LeBron wanted the Heat to draft when he was still in Miami? There are a lot of good reasons why a front office wouldn’t want to spend resources to trade for a third point guard, especially since they might be redundant later in the season and post-season. But, there are NO good reasons for it NOW. The Cavs need help; LeBron needs help; it’s not the worst thing in the world to get a placeholder so that your team isn’t constantly around .500 and your best player won’t feel like he has to play the entire game (and, you still might lose even if he does).
This is just vintage Cleveland: you have LeBron, but that feels like it’s all you have. The simple fact of the matter is that if Draymond Green hadn’t tech’ed his way out of a Finals game two years ago, the Cavs probably would have lost, and either LeBron wouldn’t be in Cleveland right now or the Cavs would have gotten some serious reinforcements, instead of the average filler with which they’ve surrounded LBJ. The Cavs have a championship, so nothing else matters. But, does anyone outside of Cleveland, really think this Cavs team can compete with the Warriors? Without Tristan Thompson, the Cavs have no rim protection. Trading for Greg Monroe won’t change that. I kiiiiinda feel like Nerlens Noel and JJ Barea makes the most sense in a trade for Cleveland, but that’s just right now. That trade won’t help them defend one of, if not the, most potent and dangerous teams of all time in the Finals. What’s the Cavs ideal lineup in a series right now? Isaiah Thomas (hopefully fully healthy), JR Smith, LeBron, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson? I.T., Dwyane Wade/Iman Shumpert, JR, LBJ, and KLove? Get real, neither of those lineups beat the Warriors.
Jrue Holiday is a really good defender and Boogie Cousins is one of the five best players in the NBA; could the Cavs make a trade for them, and send a draft pick or picks, Tristan Thompson, and/or I.T.? New Orleans desperately wants to keep Anthony Davis, duh, so would they even make a trade, especially while they’re playing well with their twin towers? I’d say you could get Rubio now that Gobert is out for a month, at least, and since Utah has NOT looked good. But, does Rubio change the math for Cleveland versus the Warriors? Does Rubio, I.T. (assuming Utah didn’t want him in return), LeBron, KLove and Thompson have a chance against Golden State? Either Steph or Klay would demolish whoever I.T. is guarding, no?
I dunno, man, I just don’t think that the future looks bright for Cleveland. They will seriously need to poach a good player from a team that drops out of the playoff race in order to have a chance at defeating Golden State. But, I just don’t know who could actually tip the scales.
Oh, and before you mention the (seemingly) glaring omission about the Cavs’ other PG, I’d just like to say a few things: the Cleveland Cavaliers have the highest payroll in the NBA; Jose Calderon, signed this offseason, is making two million dollars; Calderon, an actual point guard, is averaging 6 minutes on the year; and, he’s only played in 6 games. Calderon hasn’t played since November 1st. He hasn’t played AT ALL since Derrick Rose went down with an ankle injury.
So, the Cavs do have a point guard, they just won’t play him. At all. Even though the other point guards are injured and can’t play. Great coaching, Lue. Great GMing, current/temporary Cavs GM. Great job, Dan Gilbert. This is like watching Arte Moreno and Mike Scioscia waste excellent years of Mike Trout’s career with foolish free agent signings and bad drafting (and, bad coaching, obviously; Scioscia sucks).
As a Pistons fan, I’m super happy at how super dumb the Cavaliers are. Can you imagine if Cleveland were smart and good and hadn’t chased LeBron away to Miami? They’d probably have three championships, at least.