The most talked about transaction in sports this summer is done.
Kevin Love should make the sun shine a little more in Cleveland. Minnesota gets this year’s No. 1 pick in Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and Anthony Bennett. The Sixers receive Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved, a 2015 first round pick and a bucket for all their tears.
We’re switching the analysis up this time to let two of TSS’ NBA bros, S. Cadet and Derz, talk out their differences on the deal. So it’s at this point where the Great Slick Rick would say “Heeerrre we go!”
S. Cadet: The deal is a real thing, this interview will always be awkward and Cleveland’s starting lineup looks something like this now.
Sideshow Bob (aka Anderson Varejao)
You figure the key guys will log major minutes since their supporting cast has veterans/specialists, so-so young players and third-string guys. How does David Blatt make it work? Do you see a slow start for these fools like the 2012-13 Lakers or last year’s Nets: especially since he’s a new coach?
Derz: I can’t see that happening. LeBron returning home to take charge differs from Dwight’s sulking over the Lakers’ ill-advised shift to an uptempo offense, or D-Will’s continued regression exaggerated by adding some pensioners.
Secondly, this is LeBron we’re talking about. Sure, there might be some early bumps in the road as Blatt introduces his Princeton offense to the team and the big three figure out how to play with one another.
How does Blatt make it work? Just put the ball in the King’s hands – LeBron was God-like in the Finals (28 points on 57% shooting) on a team that was otherwise swamped. Surely this supporting cast is an upgrade for him…unless, of course, you are one of the many Kyrie and K-Love haters out there on the interwebs…
S. Cadet: I support Team Aldridge so Kevin gets the eternal gas face. Love’s a premier player but his pick and roll defense, rim protection along with his ability to pick up switches look poor for any player. It’s unfair to have Varejao and LeBron to pick up his slack depending on their positioning.
Also Kyrie’s from my hometown, West Orange, NJ, so he’s cool with me. Bansky‘s a Kyrie-hater so take that up with him. Anyway, Kyrie’s more of a scoring point guard but he can facilitate. Problem is LeBron’s so used to playmaking since he’s never played with a point guard worth a damn.
Kyrie ought to share court-general responsibilities, too. Having two capable players share the creative load makes Cleveland much harder to beat. Remember, coach Mike Brown was a Princeton offense guy. Better teams got hip to it and his “Show me what you can do, big fella” playbook failed hard. Miami defaulted to that strategy in the Finals then the Spurs beat them from all angles.
Derz: There’s a difference between giving LeBron the ball with his teammates just standing around and LeBron taking part in great ball rotation. Fluid movement, such as we saw from the Spurs in the Finals, is a must for any team going for a ring. A Brown-free offense should help the Cavs avoid falling into the “LeBron 1-on-5” trap this time around, as long as the players buy in.
Defense, as you said, is the real question mark and I can see potential problems come playoff time. They lack a genuine rim protector which asks for trouble with Kyrie, Waiters and Love out there. Contenders like the Spurs can’t be stopped without a big man making things difficult inside. This is where Blatt will need to get creative and earn his money.
On the flip side, they should have one of the most potent offenses of all-time, so maybe it all just clicks and they won’t need a defensive big man. I mean, last season’s All-Star MVP is their third best guy! By the way, I think you’ll find Kyrie is from my hometown of Melbourne, Australia, so take that West Orange BS outta here – he’s true blue Aussie, mate! Their second best guy is one of the most unique power forwards we’ve seen. Their best guy just might end up as the GOAT. Every time we worry about their D, I think it’s worth considering these facts…
S. Cadet: NorBeL’s great and all but every time I hear LeBron is/might be the GOAT I’m like…
Yeah, once they click I can see them lighting fools up. Enforcer and All Star-in-his-own-mind Andray Blatche is still a free agent, too…
Also it’s kind of hard for Kyrie to be a “true blue Aussie” since his family left the continent when he was a two-year-old. He also plays for Team USA so he’s about as Australian as Djimon Hounsou, just sayin’.
We’ve haven’t mentioned the Timberwolves. They look like a fast team but I’m wondering how their half court offense and defense should pan out. You’re more knowledgeable of Wiggins’ game so how capable is he to help address those needs?
Derz: People fell off Wiggins a little this off-season yet he’s a bonafide stud and future All-Star. His athleticism and defensive skill set should account for a productive career. Also, he might be really scary if he can improve his jumper. The Wolves have something here and just made a great deal for Thad Young. I mean, tell me this line-up won’t be fun to watch…
Ricky Rubio (super fun to watch for both his passing, D and incredible inability to score, so much so, that he rarely even tries anymore)
Zach LaVine/Kevin Martin
Non The Destroyer (aka Nikola Pekovic)
Wiggins will be super loyal to the franchise and I could definitely see him staying around for a decade or more. Hell, they even have Gorgiu Deng and Shabbaz Muhammad kicking around, who after nice ends to last season and impressive summer campaigns both might just have something to offer the NBA after all.
I think it’s all worked out very well for both franchises and the league. How many wins you got for both squads? I’m thinking 57 for the Cavs, and 32 for the Wolves. In four years though, those numbers could easily be inverted…
S. Cadet: OK, one last thing. When will Sixers fans be happy to watch basketball again?
Derz: Nerlens Noel is a ray of light for the organization, and they have on-and-off court entertainment machine Joel Embiid waiting in the wings. Their lack of depth will make large stretches of the season unbearable. But there is always Noel – that alone should keep fans happy this time around.
I guess you’ll be giving your W-L records in the piece? Lol.
S. Cadet: Chicago will give Cleveland a great fight for the East pending Rose’s health. Cleveland should take it, though. Teams will have a harder time guarding a Cavs lineup built to spread defenses, expose mismatches, score in the post and rebound at a high clip. Having three of the game’s best players makes game plans a nightmare for the average club.
Minnesota’s not in the playoff picture and the 76ers won’t top their 26 game losing streak from last year. I’m hoping the the last prediction the hardest. No fan base should be subjected to such bad basketball.
This was fun though, the season should be pretty good and hopefully the East isn’t so horrible again.
Derz: Sweet…yeah this was fun. Just got the go ahead from my girl for us to do a new York trip and catch the Knicks in Oct/Nov!
S. Cadet: Word, let us know when you’re in NY if you have time to chill. There are a bunch of TSS heads who live in the area.
Derz: For real? That’d be cool for sure…I’ll hit you up.