“I know their record doesn’t really speak to me in terms of the team that they are,” Donovan told reporters on Wednesday before the game. “They have had every opportunity to win some games…They have guys that can shoot it and put it down and they are giving really good effort defensively so I’m really impressed with the way they are competing and playing.”
Donovan’s quote seems cordial, considering the Cavaliers are the league’s worst team. Cleveland entered their game versus Oklahoma City at 1-9. Before the contest, Cleveland ranked dead-last in defensive efficiency; they surrendered nearly 115.1 points per 100 possessions.
In general, Donovan’s comments only gave his team incentive to not overlook Cleveland. For Cleveland, the incentive is to continue their losing.
The Organizational Mess
Within the first 11 games of the 2018-2019 season, the Cavaliers dealt with injuries to forwards Kevin Love and Sam Dekker, trade demands from guards JR Smith and Kyle Korver, coaching changes, dysfunctional ownership and the abject disaster that is their offense and defense. In addition, the Cleveland veterans called out their rookie, Collin Sexton, because he “doesn’t know how to play.”
According to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon; “It’s becoming increasingly known that when you hear a Cavs veteran talk about younger players not knowing their role, or knowing how to win, or what to do on the court, they mean Sexton. Throughout the organization, the line on Sexton is that he doesn’t not ‘know how to play.’ He doesn’t know how to defend the pick and roll. He doesn’t know how to set up teammates as a point guard.”
While the veterans aren’t named, it’s clear there’s dysfunction within the Cavaliers organization, and the situation looks to only get worse.
After the first portion of the new season, it’s increasingly evident the Cavaliers only have one option left. The team needs to rebuild the roster, even if their return isn’t incredible.
Aside from a few players, the majority of the Cleveland roster should find new teams, hopefully soon, starting with Love.
In basketball, the league rewards tanking. As an NBA franchise, a team should either be a reasonable title contender or tank for a viable lottery pick. The Cavaliers went from contenders to mediocre; they might as well get worse from here.
The organization is a complete disaster at the moment; however, trading away veterans who contributed minimal effort or statistical output would be a decent start.
If the team wasn’t performing bad enough, the Cavaliers made a significant coaching change, trading Tyronn Lue for Larry Drew. It seemed like a reasonable move, if not a minor overreaction after the Cavaliers first six games; however, Drew didn’t want to be the interim, unless the organization assured him a full-time position for this season, with a partial guarantee for the 2019-2020 campaign.
In my opinion, the Cavaliers need to gut the majority of the roster and rebuild it again. Players don’t want to be here either.
Smith has seen his role in Cleveland diminish from role player to bench-warmer. Last week, Smith told reporters at the Cavaliers shoot around he had no desire to play for the organization anymore.
“To feel like you’re going to play one day, and then you just don’t play…To not even look me in my face and tell me. That’s disrespectful,” Smith said.
Nobody wants to play for Cleveland, and it appears that’s rightfully so. For now, the Cavaliers need to just tank for the 2019 No. 1 draft pick. It’s the only reasonable option.
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