Monday, May 19, 2008

Celtics-Cavs Thoughts

Just a few thoughts off of yesterday's LeBron v Pierce thriller at the "Garden":

- Why on earth were the Cavs double-teaming KG in the 4th quarter yesterday? I thought that Ben Wallace was doing a pretty good job on him straight up (though I can't argue that Big Ben probably shouldn't have been on the floor at all). More important, don't you have to make him prove that he's going to attack and score against 1-on-1 coverage before bringing a double? Especially for a guy who is not only a very good passer, but a guy who is thought to be looking to play pass-first in those situations?

- LeBron was obviously fantastic yesterday, but it hurts me as a fan of the game to hear these postgame comments: "I don't have to reinvent anything; I think I just need to fine-tune some things. I think I've added some pieces to my game."

Young fella: you need a post game. You need to reinvent your game so that the number of three-pointers goes way down and the number of post touches goes way up. You should be completely unstoppable on the block because no one can contain you 1-on-1 and you'd be a devastating passer against the double-team.

Honestly, it is staggering how good LeBron's numbers are at his age, considering that he doesn't take full advantage of his physical gifts on the low blocks and that he's not in a fast-breaking offense. It's even more staggering to imagine what his numbers could be.

- I posted recently that I thought the Cavs should have made a run for D'Antoni. I realize that this was something of a pipe dream, and that the Cavs personnel is not currently suited to play "seven seconds or less" basketball - I took a little heat for both of those points in the comments.

Here is a slightly amended version of what I posted as a response in the comments. I felt like I wanted to get this "on the record", so to speak, in the main portion of the blog:
A lot of people are fixating on the D'Antoni aspect of my post, but really my point was about LeBron.

The Cavs are trying to build a team in the model of the Spurs, when I believe the skills of their star player dictate that they should be building a team in the model of the Showtime Lakers, a team that won with dominant fast-breaking offense and good defense.

Again, I believe that LeBron is potentially the greatest fast-break finisher in history, and that it's crazy not to take advantage of this skill.

Does Cleveland's current personnel work with a fast-breaking offense? Sure doesn't.

But, despite the fact that they've won 4 playoff series in the last 2 years, this is still a team that's won just 50 and 45 games in the last two years.

Personnel can be changed, and Cleveland's needs to be adjusted, if not overhauled, anyway. Might as well try to find some fast-breakers now. The clock counting down to 2010 is ticking.


At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Kurt said...

I agree about LeBron's comments, and the need to get more post touches and variation in the offense, but some of that blames falls on the Cavs coach. The only time the Cavs offense was remotely creative is when Delonte West penetrated the lane, the clear out and stand around offense when LeBron had the ball was painful to watch at times. We know he can pass, but they need an offense with better spacing and movement. And, they should run a heck of a lot more.

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Nate said...

I think you have to put more of the offensive blame on LeBron actually, rather than the coaching staff. Cleveland's offensive system is definitely lacking. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that, but LeBron consistently chooses to play outside the system and to slow the play down, back the ball out and try to create 1-on-1, it works some of the time but also ends up freezing out the few shooters on the team. LeBron is so good that he can sometimes win this way (Game 5 against the Pistons last year the best example) but everything needs to go perfectly for it to work, until Cleveland gets a system that LeBron trusts, there is only so much the coaches can do to change the offense.

At 4:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Game 5 was special. He created lots of his shots doing some magnificent dribbling. For instance, he moved left, did a little behind the back move to create some space for Chauncey and knocked down a 3 at the top of the arch.

At 3:35 AM, Anonymous Olexiy said...

Maybe Cavs can not build around LeBron (as Spurs did around Duncan) just because they are pretty sure LeBron will leave them pretty soon? It looks more like New York is already building around LeBron.

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous kj said...

thanks for censoring my comment, dude.

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