Cleveland Cavaliers players are reported to be openly grumbling about star LeBron James slowing down the team’s ball movement and maybe being too concerned about certain stats.
With the Cavs mired in a slump of seven losses in 10 games, including back-to-back beatdowns by a combined 62 points to Toronto and Minnesota, Cleveland.com reported that some players are now muttering James may be holding onto the ball until he sees an “assist” pass, rather than moving it quickly.
“If players have agendas, we’ve got to get rid of our agendas and play the right way,”coach Tyronn Lue reflected after one of the recent losses. “We’ve got to be better. We know that.”
As always everything centers around James, who recently described the team’s poor play as a “funk” stemming from their suddenly “fragile” state.
As for certain players having their own agenda, James added “I would hope not. I don’t have one. I just want to win. I just like playing ball the right way, getting guys involved and winning the game also. I don’t (have an agenda).”
What’s clear is the Cavs are suddenly nowhere near being the same team that recently won 18 out of 19 games in November and December.
In the team’s 133-99 loss to the Raptors, James managed just one assist and against the Timberwolves he scored just 10 points, his lowest scoring game in a decade.
Dwyane Wade, who has spent more time being James teammate than any other Cavs’ player, tried to make sense of the team’s struggles.
“Sometimes you get in a slump, guys start worrying about me, me, me,” he said. “You have to play for each other on both ends of the floor. If you’re into yourself on the offensive end, if you’re struggling then you’re not doing what you need to do defensively and vice versa. From my experience as a veteran player, my message is we’ve got to all play for each other a little more. And we have to get out of our individual whatever we’re going through.”
Some have also questioned Lue’s myriad of lineup changes, the latest of which involves inserting Isaiah Thomas into the lineup after he missed the first two months of the season recovering from a hip injury.
Thomas has played in just four games, but that’s been more than enough for him to form an opinion about what’s now going wrong.
“The biggest thing that I see we’re not doing, we’re not playing for each other right now, offensively and defensively,” he said Isaiah Thomas. “Defensively everybody’s on an island playing defense by themselves. Offensively it’s a lot of one-on-one, no ball movement. It’s things we can fix, that’s the good thing about it, we just have to do it and we have to do it now.”