All In For A Ring?
By Cameron Major
As the NBA draft finished last Thursday night, one team looking at the present and not the future is the Cleveland Cavaliers. Fresh off a 5 game championship loss to the Golden State Warriors, the question hanging over the Cavs is simple, how do we beat this team?
With a rival that is comprised of four future hall of famers, all in the prime of their careers, the best shooter the league has ever seen in Stephen Curry and the second best player in the world in Kevin Durant, Cleveland is in a bit of a pickle. Still, they have Lebron James and Kyrie Irving, a roster built with shooters that broke the NBA playoff record for most 3 pointers drained in game four of the finals and a relatively straightforward way back through the east. This isn’t enough.
Whilst Cleveland can offer firepower that may be able to match Golden State, they struggle on defence and discipline, two areas they need to fix if they are to compete with Golden State. So what do you do?
Firstly, trade Kevin Love. Whilst Love was in fine form through the majority of the playoffs, averaging a double-double and having his way with most teams in the East, he isn’t what the Cavs need to compete with the Warriors. They need athleticism and someone that can help reduce Lebron’s minutes (averaging around 45 minutes in the finals at 32 is too much). Paul George just became available and whilst all signs point to him signing with the Lakers in the 18’ offseason, the Cavs are in win now mode and should make the deal. Besides, once PG gets a taste of the wining culture and the finals (possibly a championship) he may decide to stay on.
The latest rumour has the Cavs looking at bringing in Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade IN ADDITION to Paul George. Whilst this option may be what NBA 2K players dream of, I just can’t see it working. One of the reasons the Warriors were able to blow past the Cavs in 5 was their ability to play as a team, move the ball and make sacrifices. With Wade, Melo, George, Lebron and Kyrie there would be just too much ISO ball and ego to go around. That, combined with the aging of 2003 draft class (Although Lebron seems to have drank from the fountain of youth based on the finals) is a recipe for disaster. Lebron has a two-three-year window to knock off these Warriors and reuniting the banana boat club isn’t going to do it.
My favourite option for the Cavs but probably the most unlikely option is to make a trade for Demarcus Cousins. Whilst Cousins certainly bring along potential problems and roadblocks, playing besides Lebron should calm these (look at what he did for JR Smith). Cousins would bring a tough interior and rebounding to the Cavs which is badly needed, he can also step out, hit the three and play the pick and roll. When I look to the success the Cavs had against the Warriors when they won the championship in 16’ it came from when they got in the Warriors face and intimidated them, let’s be honest Cousins is going to do a better job at this than Kevin Love.
Cleveland need to make a change, they know what’s coming and that will be a Warriors team that will be even better than this past season. If they want to compete, they need to make changes. Lebron is a free agent after next season and now he’s accomplished his goal in bringing the Cavs a championship, there is a strong possibility he leaves. If I’m the Cavs, I’m going all in for Cousins and not looking back. The way this team is currently constructed, isn’t beating the Warriors.
Time to go all in for a ring.