Is it Christmas in Cleveland? It sure feels like it.
Everything LeBron whined about he got. The Cavs signed Deron Williams as a backup point. They signed Andrew Bogut as a back up big. They saw their chief rival lose their best player to injury which may slow the Golden State train in the West. Not to mention the Cavs signed Derrick Williams to fill a needed role and Kyle Korver who still has a little bit left in the tank. J.R. Smith will be back sooner than later and he will be fresh from not playing the season. Kevin Love will be back too.
What else can the Cavs ask for? They have a deep team that just got deeper. Once again the pressure is on Ty Lue to figure out how to coordinate and negotiate the minutes. LeBron is playing way too much and yet LeBron, the chief advocate for his own body, is allowing the game to come to him. He is conserving his energy because he knows what is up ahead.
What is up ahead is winning a title as repeat champions. LeBron did it in Miami. Kobe did it in L.A. three times. Hakeem Olajuwon did it in Houson. MJ did it four times. Magic did it once. Isaiah did it once. In the past 37 years, only 10 championship teams have repeated. (Lakers 1988, Pistons 1990, Bulls 1992, 1993, 1997,1998, Lakers 2001, 2002, 2010, Heat 2013)
It’s a Hall of Fame List of those who didn’t repeat. Larry Bird. David Robinson. Tim Duncan. Chauncey Billups. Kevin Garnett. Dirk Nowitzki. Steph Curry.
If it was easy than everyone would do it but it’s not easy and you need luck and a little help from the basketball gods. The Cavs are batting a perfect 1.000 with the moves they have made but the question is will the moves work?
Derrick Williams: A lottery pick solely based on his terrific performance in the 2011 NCAA tournament, in a game against Duke. The NBA was a tougher nut to crack. He wasn’t explosive enough to deal with the Blake Griffins of the world and his shooting was always hit or miss. Williams has never played in the playoffs. In May and June, how will he handle the scrutiny?
Deron Williams: Once upon a time Williams was the best point guard in the NBA, better than Chris Paul. As a matter of fact, he torched Chris Paul whenever they played because he could take him on the block and post him up. The decision to fight Jerry Sloan-Sloan was fired- and then fight Avery Johnson- Johnson was fired, plus the poor decision to look beyond his grass is green Jazz existence, not to mention ankle injuries, changed his career from Hall of Fame to being waived by the Mavs and dropped in LeBron James lap. Winning a title as a role player wasn’t on the agenda. But Williams is a great facilitator. He can run the floor and deliver the ball crisply but his offense is mediocre and he just doesn’t have the defensive foot speed to defend starting guards. His experience makes you want him in the game late but he is a liability.
Andrew Bogut: Bogut has the revenge thing on his mind. Cut to make room for Kevin Durant, he can punk his old team who have a very average Zaza Pachulia replacing him. Bogut is the 2017 Mozgov but with an added layer of skill. He is a big body. He is a rim protector. He rebounds and is a good passer. He isn’t as skilled on offense as Mozgov but who cares? He may wind up being the best pickup for the Cavs. He has an attitude which will make for chippy play in the postseason.
Kyle Korver: Is his age going to be his Achilles heel? He is 36 years old. He has a lot of mileage on his legs, all those running off of screens and running through screens. The one thing that is overlooked about Korver his entire career is how tough and physical he is. His body has taken a beating. When are his legs going to be shot? We saw last year in the Finals, the jump shooting Warriors were gassed. Their legs were done. The worry is Korver might have a very empty tank.
photo via llananba