Cleveland Sports Insiders

Ernie Camacho's favorite blog…

Cavalier Daggers…with a team that just isn’t very good

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(Photo: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports USA TODAY Sports)

The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t very good.

No, I’m not saying that’s the defining statement for the wine and gold for the 2013-2014 season, but it certainly is true for the first ten games of the seasons for a team that is looking to make a major move this year. Last season, after ten games, the Cavaliers stood at 2-8. This season, they are 3-7.

So I guess there’s that.

Let’s take a look at today’s Cavalier Daggers:

  • I’m not ready to send Mike Brown packing just yet. He was brought in to fix the defense, and while that side of the court has a long, LONG ways to go at this point, they are a better defending team than they were in 2012-2013, and they are only ten games in. Now, I do fear this offense a bit. My biggest complaint during the Brown/LeBron era was that at the end, LeBron seemed to deflate the basketball. It turned into LeBron dribbling a lot, and everyone watching. Kyrie Irving isn’t LeBron, but boy are there times when he dribbles way too much. Again, we’re only ten games in, but that has to begin changing over the next two months for the Cavs to be anything better than a 25-win team.

  • Anthony Bennett has been abysmal offensively. I’ve said it over-and-over though on CSI: The Podcast that Bennett has looked okay defensively, and even better as a rebound. he seems to have a nose for the ball, and has some skill where I used to think he didn’t. As per the offense? The ONLY worry is  that it’s been REALLY bad. I knew coming in that it wouldn’t be could because of his physical fitness. He’s out of shape, and the offensive side of things always pays when that is the case. It WILL come around as the season progresses. What does that mean after this horrible start though? It may mean a demotion to the D-League if a month later, we’re still talking the same thing. Imagine that…a first rounder playing D-League basketball. Could that cost a GM his job?
  • Andrew Bynum is the real deal, and he’s got a lot more in the tank than both Mike Brown and Bynum himself are indicating. When the mercurial center came to Cleveland, I doubted he would ever play again. When the season started, I doubted he would play before December. When he started playing on opening night, I doubted he’d play in much more than ten minutes a game. When he said he thought he was thinking of retiring and there was no upside, I thought that he was going to be a short-term fit, and may retire before the end of the year…and that 20 minutes was a pipe dream. Of course, then he started, played 22 minutes, and looked more than a little like the guy that played for the Lakers a couple years ago. He scored 11 points with six boards and two blocks. I do like the tempered expectations, but it’s clear that Bynum came into this season wanting to give himself the best chance possible to succeed.
  • Earl Clark started in the loss to the Charlotte Bobcats after being benched a week ago. He responded with a 6-for-7 night, with 15 points. Before you get too excited, that’s what happens when a defense essentially doesn’t guard or respect you. I’m not trying to rip on Clark here, but in fact, just the opposite. This is what he was supposed to do. No, not score 15, but at least show SOME ability to take the heat off the other four starters. If he can go for 8-10 a game, then having a 6’10” player that can score a bit, play some D, and clog lanes is a good thing. It’s the first time he’s shown that ability as a starter.
  • Anderson Varejao has been a pleasure to watch this year. No, he’s not averaging 14 points and 14 boards a game, as he was doing last year when he got hurt, missing the rest of the season. He IS averaging nine points and seven boards a game though, and is also averaging 32 minutes a game. He even played 42 minutes in the overtime game versus Philly last week. Now, I’m not sure how smart it is to be playing him that much, but he’s in shape and back to his old self. I love Big Andy, but I would be pushing him hard as a trade candidate as the season progresses. His value will only increase as the season continues. The catch, of course, is that the Cavs need him, so unless you are dealing him for another big man, the Cavs may not be able to recoup his true value.
  • I’m not far away from saying this is Tristan Thompson‘s team. I love Kyrie. I think Kyrie is an all-star. I equally think that Thompson plays near-perfect basketball. What do I mean by that? He understands his game. He understands his strengths and weaknesses. He plays to them very well. When it’s all said and done this year, this will be the beginning of an all-star game run. He’s an all-around, non-flashy star-in-the-making.
  • What about Kyrie? He’s shooting below 40%. He’s giving up the ball way too much (3+ turnovers a game, including six in last night’s game against the Bobcats). He just isn’t a good defender. At some point, Irving is going to miss a game. If I’m coaching the team, that’s the day I let Dion Waiters run the club as the point, and keep Jack on the bench as the sixth man. I’m curious with what a lineup incorporating Waiters as the point, and perhaps Miles as the shooting guard would do. Waiters has been the superior defender, and just looks more comfortable with Mike Brown’s system. Perhaps there was more to losing Byron Scott than meets the eye. Irving hasn’t been good.
  • I was ecstatic with the Jarrett Jack signing, and so was everyone else. With that said…he’s looked like utter garbage so far.
  • Alright, back to Bennett for my random thought at the end. If it’s me, and I keep playing Bennett on the floor, I’d go all in on the rookie. How about Brown try this: start running several plays a game to your NUMBER ONE PICK with the idea that he’s going to score. Post him up. Put him ten feet from the basket. Let him work some pick-and-rolls with Kyrie or Dion. In other words, give him some aim. He seems like such an afterthought with the Cavs at this point, and for good reason. I guess my point is to either give him more direction, or don’t play him until he’s in shape. Don’t stick him somewhere in the middle.

The Cavaliers play the Wizards tonight against the Washington Wizards, then have three days off before their game against the Wizards on Wednesday. Perhaps the team can shake itself out a bit in the meantime, because right now…

…the Cavaliers just aren’t a very good basketball team.

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