Monday, June 11, 2007
That was an unequivocal disaster. I'm both embarrassed and saddened. This could be it. I saw the Indians in the world series twice in the 90s, and they had one of the best teams in baseball for a few years. This Cavs team, unfortunately, is lucky to be in the finals. If they don't make any significant changes in the offseason I think it's very, very unlikely that they'll be back next year. And then on top of all this I have to sit through game 2.
I can't really blame anyone for this loss. The Spurs are the better team, this was known going in, and they're proving it. Despite this, the Cavs did have a chance to win, they just needed everything to work - they needed to be firing on all cylinders. The best players needed to be out there at all times. This, of course, didn't happen.
I like Larry Hughes. He seems like a nice guy. But we paid what, $60 million for him? Remember when we expected him to be LeBron's running mate? Now we feel lucky when he makes a three in the first quarter, like we're gambling and we should take our chips and go home now that we're up on the house.
Daniel Gibson is making $400,000, the league minimum. But he's one of our best guards. The other is Eric Snow. Yes, Eric Snow. Guess what? When he doesn't shoot, which everyone harps on, that means someone else does shoot - if the plays called ensure that this is Z, Gooden or LeBron, then the Cavs are taking a high percentage shot. Snow doesn't turn the ball over much (far less than Hughes), he gets more assists and is by all accounts a fantastic defender (ironically, Hughes was supposed to be one too, primarily because he led the league in steals the year before joining the Cavs).
Yet somehow, Mike Brown almost NEVER plays Snow and Gibson side by side. That's just terrible - Gibson is clearly (even to just observers of the game) a better shooter than Hughes and a better 'slasher' than Sasha, and Snow is a more valuable point guard than Hughes. Let Snow bring the ball up and make the first pass to Gibson, not LeBron, and let LeBron run off picks or otherwise finish plays after either setting up a mismatch or just avoiding a double team. Why, you could even have LeBron post up. Yes, revolutionary, I know.
I just learned this the other day - LeBron has gotten worse as a player, overall, the past two seasons. His best season was his second, his third was slightly worse, and this season was significantly worse. Keep in mind that even this season he was a fantastic player. But still... is Mike Brown's reliance on him as a scorer to blame? Most players aren't better in their second year than their fourth, especially when they were only 19 their second year. This should be a big deal to Clevelanders. It seems obvious that LeBron's strengths are not being utilized to their fullest. I realize I am not backing up this statement with any statistical analysis. But it is a theory for the proven degradation of his play.
As always, analysis is based on the metrics developed by the fine folks at the Wages of Wins.