Cavs MVP isnít LeBron
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: The Cavs never would have made it to the NBA finals this year without LeBron James’ return to Cleveland. There’s no disputing that James is one of the NBA’s best ever.
There is also no disputing that even with the return of LeBron, a healthy Kyrie Irving and the much ballyhooed arrival of Kevin Love, the Cavs were a team in trouble mid-January. They were stinking up the NBA with a record of 19-20, good for sixth place in the Eastern Conference seeding, and looked confused more often than not. There were rumors coach David Blatt had lost control of the team, and was perhaps even on the verge of being canned.
It seemed incredible that what had been considered a virtual lock for top seeding in the NBA playoffs was suddenly questionable in terms of even making the playoffs. LeBron appeared disinterested, Kyrie seemed more focused on his own stats than the team's, and Kevin often played as if he realized coming here was a huge mistake. In a nutshell, they were a sorry bunch.
This is when Cavs GM David Griffin, on the job for less than eight months, stepped in. In a period of less than a week, he swung deals which brought the beleaguered Cavs J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov. After a short period of the new players getting acclimated to the system, the Cavs took off, and as they say, “the rest is history.”
The price was steep in terms of draft choices, but the return on investment has been nothing short of remarkable. Each of the new players plays solid defense, and none can be overlooked when it comes to scoring. J.R. Smith is a scoring machine when he’s on top of his game. It appears these players also brought with them a very real sense of purpose which, incredibly, seemed to be lacking prior to their arrival. The real MVP on this Cavs team – even though he’s not a player – has to be David Griffin.
As is the case whenever a team goes deep into the playoffs, the Cavs have been getting significant contributions from virtually everyone. Seriously now, who out there thought Matthew Dellavedova was capable of contributing in the manner he has since Kyrie was injured? Heck, up until a few weeks ago, I forgot he was even on the roster. Just kidding, but you get my point. Although in the interest of full disclosure I have to admit I thought his version of a leg lock (aka “Delly Sandwich”?) while going after loose balls was just a little questionable. In other words, if he played for the opponent and did that to us, I’d be screaming bloody murder.
Speaking of bloody murder, does LeBron complain every time he doesn’t get a call in his favor, or what? He makes Danny Ainge (generally regarded as the biggest complainer in the history of the NBA) look like a choir boy. And while we’re on the subject, why did LeBron – who was having an off night in spite of what the rest of the media reported (because we won) – take and miss every shot down the stretch in the overtime win against the Hawks in Game 3? Granted, he did hit the last shot and the Cavs prevailed, but had they lost it would have been all on him. If he does that against Golden State, we’re toast.
However, since this team seems to be doing everything right when they need to, I give them a greater chance to upset the Warriors than I previously would have.
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!