On Tuesday, Jan. 23, Cleveland Cavalier’s superstar LeBron James joined the list of greats to score 30,000 + points in his career. James was the youngest to reach 30,000, and he is the sixth player. But that’s not what the fans want to celebrate, especially when it came to a losing effort to the San Antonio Spurs.
That was Cleveland’s 10th loss in 13 games since their Christmas Day match-up against the defeating champions, Golden State Warriors.
Their worse loss (regarding points given up) was against the reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and his buddies, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder put up 148 points in a blow out against the Cavs last Saturday.
Their worse loss (regarding point differential) was against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 11. Raptors beat James and Cavs by 34 points in a 133-99 victory.
Fortunately, James and the Cavaliers are currently third in the Eastern Conference standings at 27-19. Though they don’t have much room to keep on struggling because the teams behind them can slowly climb in front like the Raptors and Boston Celtics have done.
Speaking of the Celtics, the Cavaliers might be regretting that trade they made. In case you forgot, the Cavs traded away All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, forward Ante Zizic, a 2018 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets, and a 2020 second-round pick the Celtics acquired from Miami.
That seems like a good enough trade to me, especially with the way Thomas emerged as a Celtic last season.
Of course, Thomas hasn’t been healthy enough to contribute to the team. In 8 games played, Thomas averages 15.9 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 2.4 APG. We could expect that to increase as the season moves along and he gets more comfortable playing with James.
In Crowder’s case, he is averaging 8.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 1.1 APG in 46 games played. That is his worse since his early days in Dallas.
Apart from the Celtics trade, Cavaliers signed veteran players and former All-Stars in Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade.
Rose has continuously been in and out of the lineup because of injury.
Wade joins another former All-Star, Kyle Korver, as sparks off the bench along with Tristan Thompson.
Yes, Thompson has been coming off the bench behind Kevin Love, who’s a different story altogether.
With Rose limited because of injury, Cavs should be looking to add Jose Calderon and Iman Shumpert into the rotation.
Calderon has been a healthy scratch in several games this season, and Shumpert hasn’t been healthy enough to stay in the rotation.
Channing Frye is another Cavaliers player who has been in and out of the rotation due to injuries.
Both Frye and Shumpert have been rumored to be a part of a trade involving Sacramento Kings guard George Hill.
It is evident that James needs more help than what he already has. The Cavs are the oldest team in the NBA and would like to get younger. Though Hill, 31, can help the Cavs stretch the floor more, the Cavs will be looking to play more small ball.
Whether it’s a trade to get Hill or any other trade to get better, it’s clear that the Cavs need to start making changes.
Head coach Tyronn Lue says that the lineup will be shuffled after their recent loss, but did not reveal who he would shuffle around. We can assume that every position is available to be switched except James.
What’s the best available lineup for the Cavaliers? Wade and Thompson should be placed as starters over Smith and Crowder.
Love should be on the trade block, instead of leaving meetings and “faking illness.”
But whatever the decision may be, Cavs front office should consult with LeBron because you know he’s mad he missed the chance to team with Paul George or Eric Bledsoe.
The Cavaliers next game will be Friday against the Indiana Pacers, who are 3-0 against Cleveland this season.
Their schedule doesn’t favor them either, as they have five games against top 10 teams in the league heading into the All-Star break.
This is going to be interesting to see how the Cavaliers finish off the season. Will they be able to find the right moves to make it back to the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive season?
I know I’ll be watching and I’m not even a LeBron Fan.