Times are starting to finally go well in Cleveland. After having their hometown hero LeBron James return home, the Cavaliers were once again relevant in the NBA. They were also able to sign Kyrie Irving to a five-year extension, locking up one of the most exciting young point guards in the NBA. With those two being in Cleveland, the Cavs were not done making moves. Andrew Wiggins was drafted first overall, but trade rumors started to surface a few days after he was drafted. Who was involved in those trade rumors? Kevin Love, one of the best power forwards in the league. After months of telling Minnesota that they were not looking to give up Wiggins, they finally gave in and traded him. This trade would then form the new Big Three in the NBA; Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love. When you have the best player in the world along with two of the best players at their positions, expectations for a championship start to loom.
It hasn’t been easy for the Cavaliers to start hitting their stride. After a very poor 5-7 start, questions started arising if this new super-team would be able to mesh together. James, Irving, and Love are all used to be the primary offensive players, so it wasn’t going to be easy for them to distribute. But in this seven game winning streak, the Cavs have done something different that has really helped this team. That thing is letting LeBron James run the point-forward and be the primary ball handler. With that, James can be the great distributer that he is. And as time has gone on, we’ve seen that Kyrie Irving is going to be just fine as an off-ball player. He has great handles, but letting James run the point is going to give this team more wins. Kevin Love could live at the three-point line, as he is a solid shooter from the perimeter. If the Big Three can continue their style of play, this Cavs team could be very tough to beat down the stretch.
What’s been even more impressive is Cleveland’s defensive play. During this seven game win streak, they have only allowed 100 points in one game (to the Milwaukee Bucks) and have kept four of their seven opponents to 90 points or less. Defensive play seemed to be an issue for the Cavaliers in their slow start, but with that situation seemingly fixed, they have gone on a very impressive run.
The role players have been up and down this season. It seems that Dion Waiters could quite frankly be the odd man out in Cleveland. Rumors surfaced last year that Irving and Waiters didn’t get along all the time, and he might not be okay with a diminished role. His role has switched to a spot-up shooter, and he doesn’t seem too happy with that. If he keeps complaining, don’t be surprised to see him dressing for another team before the season ends. If I were Waiters, I would make the best out of this role that I could. You are a solid role player on a team that has a chance to win a championship, why would you complain?
A role player who has excelled this year is Tristan Thompson. Thompson has been a solid player for the Cavaliers these past few years, but we’ve really seen him step up his game this season. His offensive game is solid, and his rebounding numbers are off the chart. Now if only he could get it right with his free throws. Cleveland should not consider putting Tristan Thompson in any of their trade talks. He has a great relationship with LeBron James on and off the court, and he really likes his role in Cleveland.
While most of the wins for the Cavs in this seven game win streak have been against sub-par teams, they’ve had very impressive wins against the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors. It’ll be interesting to see how long this winning streak lasts for the Cavs. But if they can keep up the way they’ve been playing, they’ll be at the top of the Eastern Conference rankings in no time.
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