Cavaliers Must Make Changes in Order to Silence the “Juggernaut” Golden State Warriors
The Cleveland Cavaliers steamrolled their way through the Eastern Conference this postseason. During their run they showed ample amounts of energy highlighted by a high offensive efficiency, which at times seemed almost impossible to compete against. The Cavaliers hot streak came to a crashing halt against the “juggernaut” known as the Golden State Warriors.
The term “juggernaut” came from the mouth of LeBron James even before the finals had begun. After Wednesday’s crushing defeat, the Cavaliers saw themselves down 3–0 against the warriors. In the final three minutes, the Cavs experienced a heartbreaking 11–0 run by the Warriors, which eventually led to their defeat and most likely ended the repeat bid.
Last season the Cavaliers became the first team in league history to come back from a 3–1 Finals deficit against the same Warriors club, but it’s not exactly the same Warriors team. This years Warriors team has only lost one game out of their last 31. The 16'–17' Warriors team now has Kevin Durant who is averaging 34 points in this years finals. A lot of analysts and media personal have come to the conclusion that Durant has been the X factor throughout the finals this year for the Warriors. Not to mention this years Warriors team has Steph Curry on two healthy legs, and Draymond Green has controlled his temper, straying away from being notorious for technical fouls. It doesn’t help the Cavaliers that this Warriors team is also hell-bent on revenge.
Although Cavalier fans would disagree, winning four games in a row not only would be unimaginable against this Warriors team, but it would end a historical trend throughout the league since the last 126 teams in the Cavs position lost the series.
Once again, assuming that the Cavs follow in history’s footsteps, where do the Cleveland Cavaliers go from here? This question has been widely discussed throughout multiple sports media platforms across the country. It may seem like the Cavs have the best team on paper, but I think otherwise. Sure, the Cavaliers have a lineup featuring three All-Stars, but with the “Beast from the Bay” lurking, the rest of the NBA must make adjustments to keep up with them.
With rumors circulating around the Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, Cavs head coach Ty Lue believes no changes can be made until they are certain who will be running the show. The Cavs must decide whether or not they will make contract negotiations with David Griffin whose contract expires on June 30th. It seems likely that they will extend his contract because LeBron James speaks so highly of him. The team must make a decision fast so that they can prepare to make moves this summer.
If the Cavs want to start competing with the Warriors, they need to ship Kevin Love out as soon as possible. Yes, Love is having a great Finals this year, but a player like Paul George would be better suited to the pace of play that is required when you face the Warriors. Other options like Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t make sense for the Cavs. The 27-year-old Paul George came back from a near career ending injury to average an impressive 23.7 points and 6.6 rebounds for the Pacers this season.
Even though this might seem like the ideal move for the Cavs, George isn’t currently available. The only way this move would even begin to progress is if LeBron convinces George that he’ll stay a Cavalier through the 2017–18 season. Recent headlines have highlighted the Lakers interest in The King. Could LeBron step into the spotlight in LA? That’s a topic for a future post.
As Eminem would say, let’s “snap back to reality.” The Cavs bench needs improvement. How valuable is Iman Shumpert? Sure, Shumpert has been a spark plug defensively for the Cavs in the Finals, but the question still remains. Can Shumpert produce offensively? Would the Cavaliers be better off going after a cheap two-way player like Jae Crowder who has averaged a career high in points this year at 13.9? What about Richard Jefferson? He turns 37 next month. I’m sure if you asked Jefferson about his playing career he’d probably say he could play another three years after a good game, or he’d probably say he should’ve retired a long time ago after a bad game. Is Tristan Thompson’s underwhelming Finals performance an indicator that the Cavs should move on from him? Why would a team keep a player that makes a huge impact during the regular season, but his game isn’t suited to play against the fast paced tempo of the Warriors in the Finals?
There has always been an existent amount of pressure on James and Irving to carry the load for the Cavaliers. Over an 82 game season that starts to take a toll throughout the playoffs. There have been multiple times during the Finals where the Cavs would completely collapse on both sides of the ball when James went to the bench.
So after all of this the question still remains, where do the Cavs go from here? They can all come together as a team and take a mental edge going into the off-season with revenge on their minds, or they can make the necessary moves needed to knock of a highly-skilled Warriors team. If their roster stays the same however, I guarantee that no team will compete with them in the Eastern Conference, but what if they make it to the Finals again? A fourth straight Finals for any franchise would be ideal, but losing to the same team three times in four years once you get there? Simply nauseating.