Ideally, the NBA would rid itself of two or three teams and make the talent pool that much stronger…
Casey Pazzalia

You write as if roster management is all that matters.

It isn’t.

Golden State has done a great job of roster management, yes. But they also excel at training and drilling, tactics, minutes management, and everything else a franchise must do to excel. *Everything* else. They have no weak spots.

Cleveland, by contrast, larded up their roster with one-way players, either good at defense or offense but rarely both; screwed up on minutes management; failed to use the regular season to inculcate the right habits for the playoffs (they coasted); played too much iso, which leads to fatigue; didn’t train and drill defense well, resulting in a lackadaisical switching defense and an utterly hopeless transition defense. In other words, the franchise was not excelling in all aspects. Cleveland actually has tremendous talent on its roster. But it’s not using it correctly.

The front office at Cleveland is in disarray. Dan Gilbert’s constant meddling and choice for his new head man (who is transparently weak and unassuming), LeBron’s outsized influence over team decisions, and a coach who let his team coast through the regular season and didn’t drill defense are symptoms of a front office that does not have a clue. Not as bad as the Knicks, maybe, but bad.

Even so, they smashed through the playoffs until they ran into a team that does everything right. Cleveland does have the talent. They just didn’t prepare their talent at the level Golden State employs.

Durant and Curry are astonishing talents. So are Irving and James. It’s not obvious that Cleveland *must* have lost to Golden State. But they sure did.

Cleveland is a franchise that’s run by its owner, a detail-oriented, hands-on guy. Gilbert doesn’t trust his hires to do the job right. He doesn’t even delegate press conferences; he’s there to speak for his franchise every time. So what you have is a tremendous mountain of talent, configured by a egotistic billionaire amateur and led by weak personalities who won’t argue with the boss and who are unable to perform the fundamentals of preparing a team to compete at the highest level.

The NBA doesn’t lack for player talent. It does lack excellent front offices and coaches who will train and drill their players hard enough and intelligently enough.

Odds are, the NBA will be adding a couple of new franchises in the near-to-mid future. That’s fine. The player talent pool worldwide is vast and growing. Where they’ll be hurting is in wise owners, excellent front offices and excellent coaches who will take that raw material and develop it to compete well.

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