The new and improved Cavaliers
By Dylan DeWitt
The Cleveland Cavaliers have continuously been noticed as one of the best teams in the National Basketball Association and without a doubt the Eastern Conference favorite throughout the last five years. However, since the trade of Kyrie Irving, an all-star and major contributor of the success that has come to the organization in this time period, the Cavaliers saw multiple struggles despite gaining an all-star caliber player in Isiah Thomas.
When the season began, the Cavaliers did not seem to have that same step that they had with the previous seasons. Team morale was hurting, and the Cavs were quickly going into a dark place as an inner organization, with more than just losses on the court. Changes needed to be made, especially with the trade deadline approaching, if the Cavaliers were going to take a turn for the best. With that being said, the Cleveland Cavs decided to nearly hit the restart button.
The trade deadline in the NBA is an annual event where, more often than not, organizations attempt to make their teams stronger before entering All-Star weekend, and the halfway point in the regular season in order to make a push in the second half. The most notable of teams to do this was the Cavs. The Cavaliers struggles started after Christmas where the team saw a 20 game stretch result in only 7 wins. The team was sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference, with an overall record of 30-22, and after the loss against the Orlando Magic, a team who is tied for the least amount of wins in the league with 18, the restart button was officially pushed.
Trades were quickly put into motion in order to rebuild what seemed to be broken. The organization ultimately decided to trade some big names like Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, and Isiah Thomas along with draft picks in multi-team trades. The news quickly traveled around the league about what the Cavaliers were doing in order to build. Although the trades made may have given away key players in key roles, the Cavaliers has suddenly become a team to be feared in the East once again.
The team gained four players including George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson. These four not only added athletic presences, but versatile aspects that seemed exactly what the Cavaliers needed. Hill and Hood both came from the Utah Jazz, and Jordan Clarkson and Nance were acquired via the Los Angeles Lakers. The teammates from the Jazz were known to be injury-pruned, but as a healthy unit can increase the potential success of the Cavs. The four will be able to add value on both sides of the ball, and most importantly bring back the Cavalier’ locker room morale.
Let’s not forget about whom the Cavaliers are built around either. The Cavaliers have one of, if not the, best basketball players on the planet in LeBron James. James is currently in his 15th season as a professional basketball player and continues to have a record year. He recently surpassed 30,000 career point, shooting better than ever before in his career, and leading a team game in and game out.
The trades appear to be just what the Cavaliers needed, and LeBron believes so too. According to NBA.com, James stated, “I like the pieces that we have coming in.”
The pieces proved to be just what the Cavs needed as they quickly meshed in the final four games before All- Star break. Not only did the team get better on paper, but have improved statistically as well. The Cavaliers compiled four straight victories averaging the most points so far in a game this season with roughly 115 points a game.
At the halfway point in the season, the Cleveland Cavs are again the team to beat in the East, and look to make another run at a championship. LeBron and company look rejuvenated, new and improved, and demonstrate they together are “All for One, One for All”.