Upon further review....here are a few thoughts looking back on week one of the new Cavaliers campaign:
-Andy. Wow. 13,15, 4 and shooting 64%. We all had fun with the fact we were passing off Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker as “veteran leaders” last year. I couldn’t imagine a player playing that role any better than a guy like Andy. Just relentless and a joy to watch.
-Kyrie is picking up exactly where he left off. He’s amazing and getting better. He took over when he needed to in both the Wizards win and the Milwaukee heartbreaker. His struggles against Chicago remind me of Lebron vs Detroit or the Celtics. Those type of teams and defenses just aren’t going to let one great player beat them. Overall this week he went for 23, 5 & 4 and shot it at 50%. He played 32 minutes a night on average, a number that is sure to go up if we want to compete. The fact this kid isn’t getting run on national TV is a damn shame.
-A pretty nice start from Dion Waiters. Not without flaws but a nice start. He also should see his minutes increase as he played about 27 a night and has been productive. He’s been a very willing defender and a much better passer than his assist numbers lead on and he’s also shown a knack for wanting the ball late. But my favorite part about watching him break into the league is that you can tell he loves basketball. He plays with a fire and passion that fans are going to eat up. Oh and completely dogging Bradley Beal on multiple occasions didn’t hurt either. He’s going to be a good one.
-So if you noticed a trend regarding minutes needing to increase for starters let us jump into our first negative of the year: the bench. Holy hell. They’ve been absolutely horrible. Leads vanish, deficits grow, they can’t score, they can’t defend. I’ll stop there because Jim Mora-like rants are for the spoken word. It appears in the 2nd half in Milwaukee that Byron Scott realized he has to stagger in subs to have even a puncher’s chance. Let’s hope that trend continues. So far this season our bench has been outscored 152-73 and frankly most of our points came in garbage time vs Chicago. Byron Scott has to tinker with this rotation more. While Casspi, Jon Leuer, and Slim Samuels are racking up DNP’s, Luke Walton is getting minutes. I’ll stop the piling on here because as bad as he’s been the reason the bench has been unbearable to watch is the mere fact that the only scorers on it, Boobie and CJ Miles, have combined to shoot 10-37 thus far. This group, whatever the rotation of players are going forward, will have to improve by leaps and bounds or it’ll single handedly assure us of another trip to the lottery.
So with one week in the books the Cavs are at 1-2, with a win, a rout, and a loss at the buzzer. They need to put that heartbreaker behind them because they’re heading west. Thus far the core has looked pretty good including Tristan Thompson who’s averaged 9 & 7 and is shooting closer to that 50% mark that a big should aim for. But outside of our key components we’ve seen a lot of guys struggle who’ll need to step up if the Cavs are going to make any waves this year. So we’ll all just hope for the best on this road trip.