Let me paint you a picture. It’s Feb. 7, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 31-22, have lost 13 of their last 20 and their chemistry is a mess. There seems to be no consistency and the new guys that have been integrated aren’t getting it done.
Now it’s Feb 8 and approximately two hours before the trade deadline. One or two guys on their entire roster seem safe from being moved. Dwyane Wade has been traded to Miami for a second-round pick. Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round draft pick have been traded for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. Rodney Hood and George Hill have essentially been acquired in multiple team deals for Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder.
So what really did just happen? Are the Cavaliers still the team to beat in the East?
Buyers or sellers?
Coming into the trade deadline, many thought the Cavaliers would be buyers. What that essentially means is that they would put together a package of players in hopes to lure an All-Star level player as a trade partner. They sought out DeAndre Jordan to anchor the back of their defense and to possibly fix the defensive breakdowns they have been having.
That trade didn’t end up going through. Then they decided to evaluate their team based on their recent performances.
The Cavaliers found a way to both buy and sell. They received great players without giving up the team’s two top prospects. It was clear that Isaiah Thomas wasn’t meshing well with the Cavaliers roster. They wanted to move him and get a return for him.
What the Cavs are getting
Rodney Hood is currently averaging 16.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He also has a PER of 15.56. He’s shooting 38.9 percent from three, 42.4 percent from the field and 87.6 percent from the free-throw line. He takes the role of starting shooting guard on a Cavs team that has been searching for production at the position.
George Hill’s season averages are 10.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, with a 14.15 PER. He’s shooting 45.3 percent from three, 46.9 percent from the field and 77.8 percent from the free-throw line. He now steps in as the probable starting point guard and will share those duties with Jordan Clarkson moving forward. There has been a supreme lack of production at the position ever since Kyrie left town.
Jordan Clarkson’s numbers are 14.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game with a 17.18 PER. He’s shooting 32.4 percent from three and 44.8 percent from the field as well as 79.5 percent from the free-throw line. Clarkson has had a little bit of a disappointing season this year. He was buried behind Lonzo Ball and has played less minutes this season because of it.
Lastly, Larry Nance Jr.’s stats are 8.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.5 bpg per game with a 19.55 PER. Nance is extremely athletic. He helps protecting the rim, like DeAndre Jordan would, but to a lesser scale. Nance shoots over 60.1 percent from the field and will be a valuable contributor for the Cavs off the bench.
Will the Cavs become a better team?
The Cavaliers will be interesting for a while now. With Kevin Love hurt, the team is already missing a piece, and with all these new faces in town, it is going to take a while to get accustom to all the different talents. In this situation, it is going to get worse before it gets better. There are a lot of players on this team that are new and don’t necessarily know how to play with each other.
This Cavaliers have 29 games left before the season ends. Barring something crazy, they will certainly make the playoffs. Essentially, the Cavs have 29 games to get accustom to each other before the games really matter and it comes playoff time.
There’s no doubt this Cavs team will be different. Ultimately, they will be better with new faces. This team can only improve on a steadily declining record.
What this means for LeBron
These trades make LeBron James’ decision this summer interesting. In this situation, James got both what he wanted as well as what he didn’t want. He was looking for the Cavaliers to bring in some big superstars instead of above average starters. This team got better as a whole, but still doesn’t have enough fire power to beat the Warriors.
The trade with the Lakers has also helped them free up cap space for this summer. It’s interesting how the Cavaliers have helped one of the teams rumored to be making a push for James. The Lakers now sit in a better situation and look much better as a possible landing spot for James.
Featured image from Cavaliersnation.com
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