Despite defeats, Cavs give positive vibe
NOV 11, 2012 11:40p ET
1. It's all good. Honest.
Yes, I’m writing positive thoughts about the Cavs. No, I’m not employed by the organization. Nor do I receive any special perks if I say only nice things about the team (nor should I). And anyone who reads my stuff regularly (that means you, mom) knows I can sometimes be harsh and direct.
But these Cavs don’t deserve that. In fact, they’re right where most sensible people figured they’d be at this point -- and maybe even further along.
2. Forget the record. It's irrelevant.
The Cavs are 2-5. Besides Daniel Gibson, who’s been great, they’re getting nothing from the bench. And I mean not a thing.
Neither C.J. Miles nor Omri Casspi has given them anything resembling an NBA contribution at the backup small forward spot. Tyler Zeller got hurt as soon as he started coming around. Samardo Samuels and Donald Sloan look lost.
But in spite of all that, this team could just as easily be 5-2.
3. There's no disgrace in defeat. Not yet, anyway.
Sunday’s game was as close as you can come to a guaranteed loss. The Thunder are the defending Western Conference champs. They’re on a roll, with new acquisition Kevin Martin (and childhood Cavs fan) fitting in nicely off the bench. They lost to the Cavs in OKC last season … so the Cavs wouldn’t be pulling any surprises this time.
Yet the Cavs managed to stay within striking distance for most of the game. Still, you had to count this as one of the real losses. Same with the Chicago game. The Cavs could play the Bulls 50 times, and I’m not sure the Cavs would win once. It’s just an awful matchup.
4. There's no place like home, and the Cavs have barely been there.
Keep in mind the Cavs have had two home games this season. Keep in mind the starters have looked pretty darn good on the road.
Let’s say the schedule was reversed. Let’s say the Cavs played their first two opponents (Washington and Chicago) on the road, and everyone else at home. In that scenario, based on the way they’ve looked, again, I’d say they’re 5-2 right now, 4-3 at worst.
5. The Cavs have a coach in whom you can trust.
Some fans are panicking, or at least overreacting, and pointing fingers at Byron Scott. But blaming the coach is preposterous. The man took the Nets to back-to-back Finals.
Scott is in no danger of losing his job, but for the sake of argument … well, if the Cavs and Scott parted ways, please, tell me who would replace him? Who has his credentials (two Finals apprearances) and would come to Cleveland?
Kyrie Irving loves him. Anderson Varejao loves him. And anyone who might have an issue with him just needs to play better. Scott is the right man for this team, and trust me, he isn’t going anywhere. Nor does he deserve anything but applause, and I truly mean that.
6. Score one for the rookie.
Dion Waiters has been fantastic. I just wish he was more involved in the offense. By that, I mean I dream of the day when he touches the ball on every possession. Or at least every other possession.
I suspect that will come in time. Waiters and his teammates are still figuring each other out. But again, he’s been just about everything the team has hoped for -- and and right now, that's all that matters.
7. The learning process is just starting.
Scott clearly had an issue with Waiters on Sunday, the reason why Waiters didn’t play in the fourth quarter. Just as Waiters is adjusting to his teammates, he’s also adjusting to his coach.
He doesn’t have a choice when it comes to the latter. Understanding that, too, will come in time. Scott knows that, Waiters will learn it, and it's all gonna be OK. So calm down, kids.
8. It's not perfect. And it's not supposed to be.
Yeah, I have things I’d like to see with the Cavs. I’d like to see the starters play 40 minutes or more, kind of like the Larry Bird-led Boston teams did years ago (and these Cavs are considerably younger than those Celtics).
I’d like to see the Cavs sign an available and potentially productive swingman (a la Mickael Pietrus).
I’d like to see Tristan Thompson take another step offensively.
But I also know that, despite not seeing any of those things, the Cavs are coming on nicely. Really. With the exception of the Bulls game, they’ve been competitive and enjoyable to watch.
With a starting lineup that averages 23.7 years of age (and that includes the 30-year old Varejao), that’s all we can really ask.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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