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NBA / Oct 29, 2009 / 1:05 pm

Why Cavs Fans Should Be Worried

LeBron James

Between the Delonte West fiasco and the team’s back to back losses to begin the ’09-10 campaign, it hasn’t been the smoothest start for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With 80 games to go this season, there isn’t any reason for the team or fans to start panicking yet. But they should definitely be worried.

LeBron James could possibly be the best player on the planet, but even Jordan couldn’t win games and playoff series all by himself. On opening night against the Celtics, James went for 38 points, 8 assists and 4 blocks and the Cavs still lost to Boston. Last night in Toronto, James put up a triple double (23 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds) but his team still lost by 10. Although he hasn’t been perfect (he missed 12-17 shots last night), he’s had to carry the team’s offensive burden. At some point, other guys are going to have to step up and contribute.

“It’s a long season, we know what we have to do,” Shaquille O’Neal told reporters after the Raptors loss last night. “We beat ourselves by not playing with a sense of urgency these last two nights. Coach is still learning us, we’re still learning the system, it’s a work in progress.”

Shaq is the main piece that Cleveland added in the offseason to provide help for James. So far, he has been average at best. In the first half against the Celtics, he was looking good and pushing around Kendrick Perkins, but disappeared in the second half. O’Neal, along with the Cavs’ other bigs could not stop Andrea Bargnani last night, who went off for 28 points on 11-15 shooting. Shaq will definitely improve and help, but he’s definitely not the missing piece to the Cavs’ championship puzzle.

Sure, missing West leaves a void for a second scoring option for the Cavs, but even when he was in the lineup during the playoffs, James still had to average around 35 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists for the Cavs to even have a chance to win games (they lost in 6 games to the Magic in the Conference Finals). You can bet that Danny Ferry is exploring options to get LeBron help, and getting him help now. The latest rumor has the Cavs trading Zydrunas Ilgauskas to the Warriors for the high scoring but volatile Stephen Jackson. According to ESPN, James and O’Neal are in favor of the possible move.

Everybody knows that success this season is vital for the Cavs. The thought that LeBron could chose to be in another uniform and city as early as July, is probably already giving members in the organization nightmares. Despite their slow start, obviously the Cavs will probably finish the season in one of the East’s top four slots. But if their lack of depth results in a second round exit, than the Cavs will definitely go from worrying to panicking.

Can the Cavs win the East with this roster? Would adding Stephen Jackson solve their needs?

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.

Follow Gerald Narciso on Twitter at @Gerald_Narciso.

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  • sh!tfaced

    There are at least 2 things the Cavs need to do to get better:
    1. Get Stephen Jackson
    2. Get a better coach

  • mosduff

    man… has the Dime office read hoopshype yet this morning? The excerpts from Tim Donaghy’s book are bananas.

    tough to read for any NBA fan.

  • da

    No.. Their offense is anemic. They will be CRUSHED in the playoffs. I predict first round exit.

  • da

    Fuck you..ur a bunch of pussies

  • http://www.realgm.com Rare Air

    Cleveland will not win the east, even with captain jack.

    I dont mean to kick Cleveland when its down with a hopeless baseball team and a pathetic football squad, but Bron is gone to NY with another one of your old cronies in CC. Orlando and Boston are just to good and Bron would never win a chip in Cleveland regardless.

    People who continue to buy into Shaq’s nonsense and hype are fooling themselves, he hasnt been himself since he got fat and Kobe ran him out of LA. 3rd or 4th seed in the east at best, ceiling is the eastern confrence finals. Sorry Cavs.

  • rare air

    Are you fuckign kidding me!! The Cavs are AWFUL!! AWFUL!! Mike Brown is a fucking idiot!!

  • Shrink This

    @1

    Thanks for the link.

  • Maynard

    The Donaghy stuff is wild if true. It casts a suspicious eye on any game you’ve watched. This guy’s the League’s worst nightmare. And I thought umpiring was bad in the baseball playoffs… at least they’re apparently trying to do it right.

    As for the Cavs, Shaq was a horribly overrated pickup, 17 years into his career. A better move would have been what the Celtics did, bringing in Rasheed Wallace, a versatile big who has something left in the tank and can hit the three when LeBron draws everyone and kicks it out. Boston and Orlando probably look better at this point, and anything less than a Finals appearance might give LeBron wanderlust.

  • woooot

    Cleveland will continue to struggle as long as the “lebron offence” continues to be give the ball to Bron at the top of the key. This is pretty much the exact method Philly used when AI was rampaging thru teams minus the curls. Lebron playing 5 on 1 cannot carry them like before. How do you expect his teammates to contribute when the offence is stagnant anyways, and he only racks up assists on drive and dish situations?

    Bron is overated, and he’s whining like a baby because he can no longer take on whole teams. Learn to play without the ball in your hands all the damn time. At least, this’ll give his teammates the CHANCE to do something besides spot up or watch.

    Check this. http://deadspin.com/5392067/excerpts-from-the-book-the-nba-doesnt-want-you-to-read?skyline=true&s=x

  • MissChick

    I don’t know what PHX trainers were feeding Shaq last year, but this year in Cleveland, he aged to about 50 years old. He has ZERO lift left.

  • IZ

    @ #1: Interesting read
    Stephen Jackson and Brandon Wright for Ilgauskus. Move Lebron to point power forward and put Varejao back on the bench where he belongs.

  • woooot

    beaten to it. didn’t see @ 1

  • IZ

    @9 There is a reason they traded Shaq for cap relief only (Pavlovic and Ben Wallace are no longer with the team).

  • Detroit Dave

    The Cavs are a horrible defensive team now against the pick and roll. How did their GM not identify the problem that got them booted from the playoff last year. DEFEND THE PICK AND ROLL. How did he think Shaq will make them better at that? They willl be exposed again by Boston or Orlando in a playoff series. Adding Stephen Jackson would definetly help.

    Also on offense having Shaq on the floor closes and clogs all of Lebrons driving lanes in a set offense.

  • Detroit Dave

    There offense is TERRIBLE. If you have the best ATHLETE in the world why in the hell would you want to play a slow game?

    Its like demanding that Randy Moss go across the middle every play.

  • SJ

    Cleveland would be strong with S Jack. They would need to be a lot more aggressive on getting offensive boards, though. Another option… Ferry could suit and shoot. I bet he’s still got the stroke.

  • Ruhong

    Dime, Cavs didn’t exit in the 2nd round last year…

  • Heckler…formerly ‘Yallallreadyknow’

    @ Gerald Narciso (writer)

    “(they lost in 6 games to the Magic in the second round).”

    CORRECT yourself. Magic beat the Cavs in the Conference Finals

  • SJ

    Funniest comment from page linked by post #1

    ManchuCandidate
    10/28/09
    So this explains why the Lakers won every game on the “NBA Live 10″ Game when I set it to Bavetta Ref Option.

  • rlf

    But the thought of the team playing ‘scared’ has nothing to do with the pressure they feel if lebron leaves, right?

    it’s a shame that not a single ‘journalist’ has made the point that this team is under tremendous pressure and it’s all lebron’s fault.

    he has them by the throat and they can’t breath. realize this. the team will play like this throughout the season, because lebron has made sure of telling the world he would leave to the knicks or the nets if they don’t win.

    but hey, he’s lebron. it’s okay.

  • http://dime fan

    Lebron still can’t make free throws. Only thing human about him and D.Howard. Get a shooting coach or look at video of your hitch on the line. Damn. It costs you a lot of games and you can’t be clutch unless. 1 of the biggest reasons aside from all the other blaring weaknesses you guys lost. 8-13 is unacceptable for the Stern’s voted best player in the league. ha ha.

  • Heckler…formerly ‘Yallallreadyknow’

    i’m not sure what the cavs were/are thinking. they had no business trading for shaq. they lost in the ECF because their frontline was slow, unathletic and couldnt score. but they didnt address that need during free agency.

    what they really needed to do was add a big man with long distance shooting range. a guy who could play the 3 or 4 spot. they had two chances: they really needed to sign either charlie vill or tim thomas. i know they aint big name FAs, but cleveland didnt need a big name, they needed a big who can shoot and spread the court.

    and if Cleveland knew they didnt want to enter this season (again) with ben wallace and zyldrunas, then they should have traded one of them for a younger frontline player who can score down low. lord knows lebron aint going into the post.

    they also need a bigger 2 guard. delonte west is a heady player, but he’s small. 6’4.

    this team needed to get younger. they are a lot older than people think. especially with last years roster (ben wallace, big z, wally szcherbiak etc).

    where is the youth? seriously?…boobie gibson? laughable.

    think….if you were lebron james, and you could sign a max extension with cleveland (6yrs)….how good do you think they would really be 2yrs from now?

    in all honesty, the NETS will be better than Cleveland 2yrs from now. mark my words (devin harris, chris douglas-roberts, terrance williams, yi ji lian, brooke lopez)

  • easygoing

    Lebron going NY and still can’t believe that, yall believe that hype about shaq. when shaq was on the suns, nash make sure he had him running up down on the court.

  • easygoing

    cavs need a SIXTH MAN nuff said and because cavs bench is decent & not improved. Get stephen jackson and make him a sixth man. That helps lebron rest, he scores and then CAVS will win.

  • http://dime fan

    Why don’t you guys put in Coby Karl maybe he’d save the day. The Ghost of cutting a deserving Dre Barrett. Maybe boobie Gibson can save the day & run the point. West probably has the most heart on this team. I actually respect Bron more. The Cavs really are a bad team. Mo Williams is good/decent. Aside from that there’s more talent on the Knick Roster & that’s bad. Danny Ferry and Mike Brown terrible job. It’s like T-Mac in Orlando all over again. 1 man can’t do it. 1 on 5 & 7 can’t work. If Kobe/MJ/Admiral/A.I and so on. You need help. CP3/Lebron/J.Johnson/A.Harrington/Amare NY 2010. Holla if you hear me. D’Antoni or Mark Jackson coaching. RING!!!!!!!!!!.

  • Heckler…formerly ‘Yallallreadyknow’

    @ FAN–

    as long as mike d’antoni is coaching, the knicks will forever suck. he is the WORST coach in the league.

    if you a knick fan and want lebron in ny and win for ya, you better sure as hell hope mike d’antoni aint the coach. no team with him as the head coach is ever going to get to the finals!

  • Heckler…formerly ‘Yallallreadyknow’

    imagine this lineup next year; how many games do you think they would win and how far do you think they would go in the playoffs? and imagine how many years they’ll be able to compete:

    NEW JERSEY NETS:

    devin harris
    terrance williams
    yi jianlian
    **lebron james**
    brook lopez

    bench has: rafer alston, chris douglas roberts, sean williams, josh boone and courtney lee

    call me crazy if you want too, but even lebron has to know this lineup would be better than anything cleveland will be able to put together next year.

  • Dr.Googles

    @1 good looking out. I knew those games between Kobe and Bell were rigged, it was obvious.

  • JBaller

    Cleavland sucks. With LeBrick going 5 for 17 they can’t win. His line is off the hook but nobody else can score with a pencil. Capt Jack would only make things worse.

  • http://www.random-ish.com Scoob

    Yeah…what ish faced said.

  • Kobeef

    @Heckler
    Totally agree…with one correction

    the 2011 Brooklyn Nets

    PG – Harris/Alston
    SG – Terrance Williams/CDR
    SF – Lebron James
    PF – Chris Bosh/Yi JianLian
    C – Lopez

    And they’ll all get private jets from their billionaire owner.

  • gregory

    Lebron is not going to New York, not if the projections of the salary cap going down hold true. The only chance New York had of getting Lebron was pairing him with another superstar. With that possibility looking mathetically impossible, there is no way they are to attract Lebron with the roster they have. Lebron’s going to be focused on winning championships to secure his legacy. New York is one of the worst places to go to fulfill his goals.

  • Spirow

    EVERYBODY RELAX!!!! relax on the cavs, it’s just two games. . . By the way i watched the game yesterday. . . And bargs lit up the cavs big men. . . He was too fast for shaq, big z. . . Bargs is gonna have a break out year . . . Raps are gonna be a dangerous team watch out for them! dosn’t mean the cavs are bad. . . Actually on second though the team around lebron stinks. . . He dosn’t have another star besides him. . . Mo is borderline all star not someone whose an x factor. . . But cavs still will do good in the season by rallying behind Lebron. . .

  • gilford22

    I really think they’re not a 66 win team last season. I’m glad the Maagic showed them who’s stronger last playoffs.

  • http://www.knicksfansaremorons.com chase

    all of you are complete morons. a team that was 66-16 last year is not awful. this last jackoff who commented saying “i dont think theyre a 66 win team.” ummmm. retard, THEY WON 66 GAMES. ARE YOU SERIOUS? and second of all, there’s 80 FUCKING GAMES LEFT. lebron is not going to new york, because cleveland can offer him more money. third, they don’t need a new coach. he was coach of the year last season. they dont just hand out those awards for no fucking reason.

    knicks fans, im sorry your team wont be a playoff team for decades to come.