Coming off perhaps their worst performance of the season in Chicago, and with the news of Andy Varejao’s surgery hitting yesterday it was time for the Cavaliers to do some damage control.
It started with ticket giveaways. I know three people on twitter that got an email or phone call and received free tickets to last night’s game. Myself included. In my section, ticket representatives made frequent visits to those who also got tickets.
Dan Gilbert made an appearance on the television broadcast. He continued to preach the message of patience and letting the young players learn and grow together.
“Our record is just dismal. Frankly it’s embarrassing. I have no problem saying that, but there are spots where you start to see it… Next year I’m hoping we have a significant turn around and then we take it from there.”
The best damage control however, was done by the players themselves.
Kyrie Irving was amazingly efficient in scoring 33 points on just 15 shots. He hit 5 of 6 from outside the arc and was perfect from the line. He had 4 assists, 3 steals and only 2 turnovers in leading the Cavaliers over the playoff bound Hawks 99-83.
Alonzo Gee had a great first half shooting the deep ball and hit 5 three pointers.
Tristan Thompson was great again on the glass, especially on the offensive side. He finished with another double-double, which is becoming quite a regular occurrence since Andy’s injury.
The state of the Cavaliers rebuild has been quite the topic lately. For good reason. The margin for error in the NBA is pretty narrow when it comes to building a championship team. The Cavaliers won the draft lottery in 2003 and picked a once in a lifetime kind of player. What they failed to do was take advantage of that fortune.
After the franchise reset, they again won the lottery and selected Kyrie Irving. Irving may not be able to dominate a game in the same way that James did, but he certainly has the potential to one of the top 5 players in the league- which is good enough. What the Cavaliers can’t do is fail to take advantage of this fortune again.
Which is why the margin for error is so small.
What could the Cavaliers have gotten for Anderson Varejao before his injury this year? We’ll never know. Reportedly, it would have taken a lot to get Andy. And that is a good thing. Nobody was calling for the Cavs to trade Andy for just the best offer at the moment.
For Varejao’s value to be maximized, the Cavs would have needed him to stay healthy and productive through December and into the trade deadline season. Let’s face it, everyone else knows Andy’s injury history.
But that option is now off the table.
The Cavaliers must continue to improve on the court, and they must hit on their draft picks moving forward. They will likely have a top five pick again, and have the Heat’s pick as an asset to use as well. It is imperative that the Cavs get another potential star with these assets.
At least for the very short term, the Cavaliers may have put out a few fires with their effort last night.