The Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling right now. There is no reason to worry about the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The statements above are not mutually exclusive and, as of late January, both happen to be true. LeBron James and company have dropped an unsightly five of the past seven games to come back to the pack a bit in the East. Normally, a team with a comfortable lead on the field would not generate any type of buzz in a negative direction, but James took the organization to task after a brutal loss to the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans on Monday evening and that lit the fire nationally in a way that had not taken place just yet.
In the end, though, there is no reason for real concern. The Cavaliers are not a flawless regular season team, and we’ve seen that before. The absence of J.R. Smith, who is out for an extended period with a thumb injury, isn’t helping and the integration of Kyle Korver has not gone quite as smoothly as some (including myself) projected. James’ concerns about the team’s personnel for the long haul are reasonable in that Cleveland does struggle to generate offense outside of a “big three” that is already taxed. Beyond that, James would likely be best served by an extended break from the action in order to tune up for the playoffs, but it becomes increasingly difficult to execute that action if the Cavs are unable to win comfortable together as a unit.
With all of that said, the Cleveland Cavaliers are, quite frankly, head and shoulders better than every other team in the Eastern Conference. Yes, the Raptors are impressive offensively, and the Celtics appear dangerous (especially if they finally make the “big move”), but Cleveland employs the best player in the world with a well-constructed roster around him. A January swoon does absolutely nothing to deter from that prognosis and any legitimate worry about the Cavaliers should be focused on a potential rubber match with the Golden State Warriors.
Anything else is just noise, even if LeBron is the one making that noise.
Should the Cavs be punished in a power rankings sense for their recent failings? I guess we’ll have to see. Let’s get to it.