Thursday, December 6, 2007

You Can't Hide a Lack of Talent

Everyone in the NBA knows the Cavaliers are nothing without Lebron James. But over the last week and a half or so, you are really getting to see it in its full boar. Everyone can get excited about Anderson Varejao's return, except nobody seems to talk about the fact that he averages five points per game. He will help on defense, but he can't do anything to jumpstart a pathetically bad offense which is lucky to get to 80 points per game without the King.

Last night's 19 point loss to Washington (who was playing without its star Gilbert Arenas) was just another in a series of bad losses, five in a row since Lebron went down with the finger injury. You know its bad when coach Mike Brown says "I thought we came out and we competed and we really fought and clawed for whatever we earned in the second half. That's something we have to try to build on for our next game." The night before, a 21 point loss to New Jersey, he rip his team: "It's not about, 'They ran this play that kicked our behind.' I didn't see any toughness, any grit as a team out there. I'm not looking for no individual. I'm looking for the team to step up as a group and get it done. In the past, we've been put in tougher situations than this. But the one thing that we've done a lot of times in the past is we've fought as a team."

Memo to Mike Brown and GM Danny Ferry; you can't hide from a lack of talent. With Lebron sitting and Larry Hughes injured, there isn't one single player who can creat his own shot. Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Illgauskas feed off of Lebron drive and kicks to where they can knock down a stand still jump shot. They are not back to the basket post players. The problem is, they are your top scoring threats. Boobie Gibson is capable of knocking down the big jumper, but he is clearly not a guy who can carry a team. Neither is Sasha Pavlovic, who is playing like he is still holding out. Shannon Brown has started the last two games, clearly a showcase move, but he is a spare part. As is Devin Brown. Damon Jones is what he is. Ira Newble? Dwayne Jones? Eric Snow? Come on.

Do you see any talent on that current roster that seems enticing to you? People said all offseason the Cavaliers need to make another move to improve the roster. The problem is, you have to give up something good to get something good. Other than expiring contracts, which they won't have until next year, the Cavaliers have nobody anyone wants other than Lebron. Gooden has value, but if he is dealt, you literally have nobody who can score in the post. One can say Hughes has talent an could succeed in certain systems, but he has the worst contract in the NBA next to Adonal Foyle. You think anyone other than Isiah Thomas would take on a contract like that? Not likely.

This is on Ferry. While he had to make a splash to keep Lebron, four year deals for Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones were a gross miscalculation. Hughes for $12 million a year for 5 years is laughably bad. Shannon Brown has to be considered a bust. The bottom of the roster, guys like Newble, Dwayne Jones, Shannon Brown, and Eric Snow offer little to nothing on the court, and there is still no true point guard on this roster.

I know this is a major stretch, but Nets PG Jason Kidd is disgruntled once again. He sat out last night's game with a "migraine headache," but several league sources say he is irate at the direction of the franchise and wants out. According to Yahoo Sports, two sources said Kidd has been a constant text messaging partner with LeBron James since playing with him this summer on Team USA and that the Cavaliers are his preferred destination. "They've been communicating about the (trade) options that could get them together in Cleveland," one Eastern Conference official said.

But the problem I described before is still out there. You have to give something to get something. What do the Cavs really have to offer for a talent like Jason Kidd without giving up at least Hughes and Gooden? And why would the Nets want Hughes? Also, why would the Nets send Kidd to a team in the Eastern Conference that they battle with directly for a championship? Stranger things have happened, but I wouldn't hold my breath on this one.

That said, if there is any way to get a deal done for Kidd, you do it, because Lebron's contract runs out in 2 and a half years and if you think he is staying in Cleveland forever, you are fooling yourself.

Kidd Wants to Play with James in Cleveland - Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports

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