What has happened to the once dominant Cavs we saw earlier this year? The Cavs who beat teams with their accurate shooting and good post play. They’re still in Cleveland, but the problem is the majority of them are playing terrible, and are struggling to keep the 7th seed of the playoffs. Now down to a .500 record the Cavs have to regain respect, but the way they’re utilizing certain players isn’t going to cut it. The Cavs season started as surprising success and it’s ending in a plummeting wreck.
Since Paul Silas was fired and replaced by Brendan Malone problems keep arising for the Cavs and they don’t seem to stop. The Cavs are 6-14 in their last 20 games, and five of games are losses to teams under .500 (counting Philadelphia twice). Its hard to believe the Cavs were once ranked 7th in the power rankings and now they can barely stay at 17th.
Lebron James can’t do everything, yet that’s what he’s been doing lately. James has helped win almost every game in the last month and a half and is anchoring the Cavs. All by himself Lebron has to create the offense and the defense, and he’s doing the best he can, but it’s simply not enough. James leads in almost every category on the Cavs, including scoring, assists, minuets, steals, three point percentage, free throw attempts and field goal percentage. So if we know Lebron isn’t the problem, then who is? Ill tell you who. Jeff McInnis, Eric Snow, Ira Newble, and Lucious Harris. All four are the guards for the Cavs, and they all are playing terrible.
Earlier in the year the Cavs started McInnis and Snow filled in for him when he was on the bench, but the Cavs have come up with the ludicrous idea that they have to play both incompetent point guards at the same time. When Snow or McInnis gets tired and needs a break they have to put in Ira Newble or Lucious Harris, who are both statistically two of the worst shooting guards in the NBA. How are you supposed to win with players like Ira Newble and Lucious Harris contributing about 40 minuets a game combined? It’s hard but you have to rely on Lebron, and as you can see that hasn’t worked very well.
McInnis and Snow’s stats are on a slip and slide to darn near terrible and they’re bringing the Cavs down with them. McInnis averages only 13.2 ppg and 5.2 apg in his 35 minuets on the court, and recently both statistics have gone down about 2 points due to his slump. Eric Snow is heading down the same path; he’s only averaging 3.9 ppg and 3.8 apg in his 23 minuets per game. He’s also one of the only players in the league in which their ppg are almost the same as their apg, which in some cases is pathetic. Snow also has scored in double figures only three times the entire season, not to mention the Cavs are 4-5 with Snow as their starter. Ira Newble and Lucious Harris are even worse though as hard as it is to believe. Harris averages 4.3 ppg and less than one apg in his 15 minuets on the hardwood and Newble averages 5.5 ppg and 1.2 apg for his 25 minuets. The Cavs are in desperate need of someone to direct the play on the court so Lebron can keep his mind on scoring instead of assists. Until that time the Cavs problems will continue.
The Cavs defense is also major problem. They are ranked 24th in overall defense, 25th in rebounding, and 19th overall for giving up 100 points in games. McInnis can’t stop the pick and roll and barely makes any effort to chase his opponents around the court. Snow has not improved anything either, he continues to fail in making any defensive presence for the Cavs up top. In fact the Cavs defense has become worse since they made Snow the starter, their opposing teams total points went from 101.6 ppg to a shameful 107.8 ppg.
The Cavs have a choice; they can play McInnis and watch the defense get torn apart like Peyton Manning did to Roc Alexander in the NFL play-offs. They could watch Snow destroy their offensive chemistry.Both guards, Snow and McInnis, are in fact so bad that any other team in the NBA wouldn’t start either of them. Or they can do what they’ve been doing lately and play Ira Newble and Lucious Harris more than they should be playing them. It’s a lose-lose situation.
The mistake the Cavs are making is thinking Newble and Harris are an option, but they shouldn’t be. Newble is decent on defensive, but is terrible offensively. Harris is almost the opposite. Harris can shoot, but he can’t pass, and he’s like McInnis on D; Below Par. So the solution for the Cavs is this; keep Newble and Harris off the court and keep them on the bench, stick with the old line up and then the weight on Lebron’s shoulders can be lightened up a bit.