What’s wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season? There is no way a team with supposedly the best player in the world on one’s roster should be struggling this bad. Can all the blame be placed on LeBron James? No, but when you take on that role as “King” he has to be aware of the responsibilities and consequences. Looking over the Eastern Conference, LeBron and the Cavaliers should be worried they may not make the playoffs this season.
First, it’s their play. The Cavaliers are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. The Cavaliers, according to NBA Stats, are ranked 28th in the NBA in points allowed (109.8) points per game. One of the main concerns why the Cavaliers went trade-heavy during the NBA trade deadline was to improve in that department. However, since the deals, the Cavs have given up 100+ points seven times in nine games. After the Cavaliers won their first two games with their new additions, LeBron, excited with the outcome praised the young guys like Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, and Larry Nance Jr. for their hustle.
Despite the hype of the trade, the Cavs’ issues are still the same. The Cavs have not improved on the defensive end and why they are trying to find their chemistry, other teams are circling like sharks with blood in the water. Maybe the return of Kevin Love will steady the ship but with the way the Indians Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers are playing, it’s only a matter of time before they leapfrog the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers are sitting third in the East with the Washington Wizards just a one game back. The Pacers are a half- game back, and the Sixers are two games back. The Wizards will eventually get John Wall back, the Pacers are riding a winning wave and the Sixers are one of the hottest teams in the East. However, the Cavaliers must also be wary of the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat, who are just 2.5 and three games back respectively.
It sounds like an impossible deal for the Cavaliers to miss the playoffs, especially with LeBron’s presence and the return of Love, but there is a slight chance it can happen. In the NBA, it’s not about beating teams with a high-winning percentage. Any given night, anyone can win. That’s why we have yet to see a team go 0-82. It doesn’t matter who the Cavaliers play on their remaining schedule, what matters is why they are not a cohesive unit this late in the season.
At a time when the Cavaliers should be showing their experience over teams like the Sixers, Wizards, Heat, and Bucks, they are faltering while these younger teams with no championship experience are stepping up to the challenge. But wait, the Cavs who started the season are no more. Gone is the experience of Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye. Now, the Cavaliers must rely on Clarkson, Hood, Nance, and Cedi Osman.
Just think, all that separates the Cavaliers from missing the playoffs are four games. While the Cavaliers have remained in the top three in the East most of the season, their hold on that spot is dwindling. While they’re struggling, the rest of the contenders are making up ground pretty quick. One more bad stretch of games, and it’s over.