The Cleveland Cavaliers will have trouble reaching their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance if LeBron James and Kevin Love don’t receive any help. The 2017 season was about seeking revenge on the Golden State Warriors who had taken two of three titles away from the Cavaliers in the past three seasons. But along the way, things went wrong for the team.
Kyrie Irving wanted out, and the front office gutted the team at the trade deadline to get younger players and possibly convince LeBron James to stay after the season. In the moves they made, the Cavaliers acquired Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr, and George Hill.
What the Cavaliers were looking for was youth and one of these players to take over the scoring load left vacant with the departure of Irving. According to Nathan Beighle of King James Gospel, neither Clarkson or Hood has stepped up to the plate. Beighle would go on to say that while Clarkson has averaged 13.4 points since coming over, it’s been Hood who has seen the playing time in crunch situations. However, Hood is only averaging 9.8 points per game.
There’s only so much lifting LeBron and Love can do for the Cavaliers. On a team that was once heavily populated with playoff veterans, adding Hood, Nance, and Clarkson may backfire come playoff time. But should the Cavaliers be worried? Although they have no real experience in tight playoff games, Clarkson and Hood can still put the ball in the basket.
What they will soon realize is that playing for the Lakers or Jazz in a tight game is far different than playing with the Cavaliers. Players come to Cleveland expecting to win and will do whatever it takes to do so. LeBron is still considered the best in the NBA and Love has shown he can help take the load off LeBron’s shoulders. However, it was Irving who provided relief to LeBron and Love when the ball wasn’t bouncing their way the past three years. Now what?
During LeBron’s eight straight NBA Finals run, he has had the luxury of being surrounded by two other high-profile scoring options in Miami and Cleveland. In Miami, he had Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. After leaving them, he joined forces with Love and Irving. Now, he only has Love, but he will need Clarkson or Hood to take on the third offensive option.
The problem is, Beighle doesn’t think either player is ready for that type of responsibility.