It’s time for some major changes. Let’s dare to think differently…
I love me some Cavs basketball, but it’s excruciating to watch this team and it has been that way for 3 years. The core of Irving, Waiters, Thompson and Varejao is just not going to work. The ceiling for this team is the 7th or 8th seed in the terrible Eastern Conference, but even that goal seems unlikely with this squad. I don’t want to go through another year wondering if Kyrie is a leader OR if Tristan found a hand he can shoot with OR if Dion and Kyrie can coexist OR if it is better to just tank the season for a better draft pick. I’m done debating those played out topics. It’s time to rebuild the rebuild.
Step 1: The Coach:
If Cavs GM David Griffin didn’t like Mike Brown, then he was justified in cutting him loose. It just never seemed like Mike got his players to buy into his system even the second time around. It always bothered me that it seemed like he no interest in coaching rookies and developing young talent which is pretty much the entire Cavs roster. Handing Bennett 5-10 mins every now and then did not help him out at all. Sergey Karasev didn’t even get that. But, it’s over. Mike Brown needs a team that is going to build with strong veteran free agents and not through the draft. See ya Mike!
Lets at least get creative and not hire a recycled NBA coach like Vinny Del Negro, Mike D’Antoni, or Lionel Hollins. Dare to be different. Go find a college coach that has a proven track record of developing young talent, give them a four or five year deal and build this team through the draft. Whoever coaches next season will have to figure out how to get the respect of his players which is something that both Byron Scott and Mike Brown failed to do.
Mark Price would win over the fans, but would he command respect with no head coaching experience at any level? My ideal scenario is a guy like VCU’s Shaka Smart. He’s not John Calipari who recruits the best players in the country every year. In his five years as the head coach at VCU, Smart has a winning percentage just under 75% with an overall record of 137-46. He’s also added four straight NCAA tournament appearances including a Final Four berth in his second season as a head coach. No matter who is on the court, he finds a way to maximize the talent of each of his players and that is exactly what the Cavs need.
Step 2: Let Deng Walk
I’m not going to spend much time on this one. Luol Deng is not the difference between the playoffs and the lottery. They should not overpay Deng in hopes of getting better results. The trade was worth a shot, but it didn’t work out. Cash out now and figure out a new plan at small forward.
Step 3: Choose Between Irving or Waiters
This is not a debate of who is the better player. That’s obvious. Kyrie Irving is a two time all star and looks like a player that can win an MVP award. I love Dion and he may even be my favorite player on the team, but I realize that this team cannot move forward if he has to share the ball with Kyrie every night. Nationally, many would easily take Irving over Waiters. However, this team seems to play harder without Kyrie. Why? I have no idea, but it’s worth noting.
If I were the GM, I would package one of them with Tristan Thompson. I was a Tristan fan, but if packaging him with Dion or Kyrie can bring us a legitimate impact player, then I’m all in. You have to give up something significant in order to get an impact player in return. It’s time to cut ties with this core group and see what else they can put together.
Step 4: Simplify the Draft
I really hope David Griffin doesn’t try to overthink the draft like his predecessor Chris Grant. There is no shame in just taking the best player available. I know I am in the minority on this one, but Doug McDermott is my favorite player in this class for the Cavs. He’s a pure scorer that got better in each of his seasons at Creighton and ended his career as the 5th all time scorer in NCAA history. I keep reading that Griffin wants a high powered, 3-point shooting offense and McDermott and his limitless 3-point range would certainly help that transition. Let other teams take a chance on the timid Andrew Wiggins and the mysterious Dante Exum. We don’t need projects, we need guys who score right away. Plus, Cleveland could have the two best nicknames in sports with Johnny Manziel and Dougie McBuckets.
So there my two cents on the rebuild. Griffin might make different decisions, but those are the four decision he will be faced with this offseason when trying to turn this team around.
Follow Josh Lockwood on Twitter @RCFJLockwood