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Written by Demetri Inembolidis

Demetri Inembolidis

what-grievances-need-airing-this-festivus-992144555-dec-20-2012-1-600x400What’s wrong with the Cavs? Just about everything. 

It seem like everybody has an opinion on what ails the Cavaliers. With the team struggling as badly as they are, people are quick to offer their opinion. Some believe Chris Grant is the problem. Many others think the issue is Mike Brown. Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Jarrett Jack, Anthony Bennett, Andrew Bynum and even Kyrie Irving are not safe from criticism. If you look hard enough, you can probably find someone who wants to blame LeBron James for the fact that the Cavs have not put significant money towards a small forward. 

The team looked better on Saturday night when they beat the Chicago Bulls by a score of 93-97. Hopefully this can serve as a sort of turning point for the franchise. They need a complete overhaul of how they approach the game. The team looks like they want to bury their head in the sand and go through the motions until the game is over every time they take the court. One four point win against the Bulls is not going to serve as that turning point. Especially when they were up big in the 2nd half and when they still relied on the Bulls to miss four field goal attempts at the rim in order to walk away victors. But it is a start and hopefully a small step towards being less terrible.

With the upcoming Festivus season approaching, it only makes sense that we air our grievances with members of the  franchise. After all, they have a 5-12 record and have the third worst point differential of -8.3. In other words, the Cavs finish every game being outscored by an average of 8.3 points. 

Kyrie Irving: Most great players take a leap in their third season. Kyrie Irving has been nothing short of disappointing in what would be his senior year in college. Irving, who is a career 45% shooter, has been converting on only 40.1% of his shots. That is Larry Hughes territory. At this point in the season, Irving has only made 1/13 shots from the center point in the paint from 8-16 feet. Last year, he made 24/53 of those exact shots. Kyrie Irving has a career offensive rating of 107 currently has a career low rating of 99. Additionally, Irving has been dribbling too much. Nothing is more concerning about Irving than the fact that he looks off while playing. There are some things that are difficult to quantify, but Irving simply doesn’t look as good as he did in previous years. This is concerning given that he was supposed to make the leap this year. An all star roster spot is a long shot if he keeps playing like this.

Tristan Thompson: Here we have another third year player that was supposed to take the proverbial leap. Thompson made big news in the off season when he switched his shooting hand from left to right. His work with Zydrunas Ilgauskas last year made him transform from a player that got his shot blocked at historic levels to one that actually had some range on his shooting. Thompson appears to be leaving the paint more often than in previous years. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but he hasn’t shown great improvement on his shot chart. Thompson took 78.85% of his shots from around under the basket last year and is now only doing so 65.19% of the time. Going into the game on Saturday, Thompson made 3 of his last 19 shots. Thompson was supposed to show improvement this year and he is shooting a career low of 41.8%. That is incredibly bad for a big man. 

Dion Waiters: The second year guard has an abundance of talent, but he cannot put it all together on a regular basis. Waiters is good in catch-and-shoot three situations. He makes 47.6% of his catch-and-shoot threes. Waiters has a lot of ability to split double teams and to drive the lane, but he is pretty bad once he gets into the paint. He is averaging only 41.18% shooting from directly under the basket. This is actually a regression from his poor 49.56% shooting in the exact same spot a year ago.

Jarrett Jack and Chris Grant: Remember when Jarrett Jack was supposed to be a calming veteran presence for the young Cavaliers? We were supposed to see a lot of three guard lineups with him, Irving and Waiters. The problem is that Waiters has been relegated to the bench which makes Jarrett Jack a $6.3 million useless rotation piece. It is mind-boggling that the Cavs paid Jack all of this money, drafted Dion Waiters 4th overall and that they still start Matthew Delavedova or C.J. Miles. 

Jarrett Jack has a place in the NBA. He is a good player, but his presence on this team doesn’t make any sense. Chris Grant committed a lot of money to Jack and used a pick on Waiters that cost them a lot of losses. I understand the thought process behind signing Jack, but they should have known that Dion Waiters and Mike Brown would not be a match made in heaven. 

The problem with Chris Grant isn’t necessarily that he picked the wrong players in the draft. With the exception of Anthony Bennett, all of the players he drafted look like capable NBA players. Believe it or not, but Jonas Valanciunas, Harrison Barnes or Victor Oladipo are not amazing prospects. A simple Google search would show that none of these guys are doing anything that is out of this world. The issue that I have with Grant is that the roster he constructed does not make sense. There’s an abundance of guards, they don’t have a small forward worthy of rotation minutes, they have too many power forwards and the front court doesn’t make sense. The team clearly has chemistry issues that may or may not start with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters not being able to play together. There are legitimate questions to ask about the talent level on the team, but that takes a back seat to how this team simply doesn’t make any sense.

Mike Brown: I am an outspoken fan of Mike Brown. I think that he is a fantastic coach who has an unearned bad reputation. I don’t care about offense that much. It is not a coincidence that the teams that usually make the conference playoffs do so with defense and oftentimes at the expense of the offense. Having said that, their defense has been a letdown. They have a 22nd best defensive rating of 105.9. The team is giving up a 45.3% shooting, which puts them at 15th out of 30 in the league. That’s an improvement from Byron Scott and the 47.6% shooting the team gave up under him last year. There are improvements on the defensive side of the court, but he appears to not have control of the team. Being a good coach means being able to manage the egos of the players and to have everybody playing as a cohesive unit. It’s impossible to argue that the Cavs are doing that under his watch. 

I have written over 1,200 words and I feel like I have just scratched the surface of what is wrong with the Cavs. There are plenty of issues with the team and it doesn’t appear that they will be fixed with one trade or even a year of working through them. There are things to like about the team, but they are far and few between.

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