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To beat the Warriors: Cavaliers

beat the Warriors

Right now the NBA is seen as the Warriors, and everyone else. Despite a rather sluggish start, nobody thinks there will be a contest come playoffs time. The way I see it, there are a lot of teams a move or two away from being able to compete, and these moves aren’t unrealistic. So here are a few moves that certain teams could make, to really be able to compete with the Warriors.

Cleveland Cavaliers

beat the Warriors
Isaiah Thomas

The Cavs already will be able to compete with the Warriors, so long as they have the King. To beat the Warriors, though, is a different story. The first thing the Cavaliers need is to cross their fingers and hope that when Isaiah Thomas returns from injury, he’s the Isaiah that played his heart out in Boston, not the handicapped one they faced a year ago. If Isaiah Thomas comes back full strength, the Cavs will be a serious threat to the Warriors.

Something that would most definitely not hurt the Cavs is starting faster. Cleveland ranks 25th in the league in first-quarter scoring. For context, last year they ranked third. Going down early has been their downfall in most of their losses.
Another key for the Cavs is the need for a big man to lock down the center. I’m not convinced that their defensive woes on the perimeter will continue; however, I do think they have a serious problem when it comes to the paint. Not only will getting a defensive beast big man help the interior defense, but by extension, it will elevate the perimeter defense, as there will be less defensive collapses.

As for who they should go after, I would say either DeMarcus Cousins or Jahlil Okafor. Of course, the latter would be much easier to obtain, maybe making the blockbuster move for Boogie is what they should do, considering the concern of star power on the team. Here’s what I would predict each trade look like, hypothetically speaking of course.

Trades:

beat the Warriors
DeMarcus Cousins

Cavs receive:
C DeMarcus Cousins
C Alexis Ajinca
Pelicans receive:
SG Iman Shumpert
C Tristan Thompson
2018 1st round pick (via BKN)

Explanation: This is, of course, assuming the Pelicans drop off like I personally expect them to. Basically, with this trade, they’re going younger. They get a nice defensive two-guard in Iman Shumpert to pair with the offensively electric Jrue Holiday. Tristan Thompson is only 26 and still, has some serious potential. Not to mention a lottery draft pick that could just land them someone like Michael Porter.

beat the Warriors
Jahlil Okafor

Cavs receive:
C Jahlil Okafor
76ers receive:
PF Channing Frye
2018 1st round pick

Explanation: Philly seems to just want to be rid of Okafor, and a stretch forward who could provide some decent minutes off the bench for them, accompanied by a late first rounder could just do the trick. While it isn’t a blockbuster trade, the Cavs need someone to hold down the paint, and Okafor has at least been decent (1.1 BLK career average).

All in all, the Cavs are going to be able to compete, but I’m not too sure if they have what it takes to beat the Warriors right now.


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