COMMENTARY | For now, times are good in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers entered Friday night's game against the Toronto Raptors riding a six-game win streak that has them just three games out of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The team is clicking, morale is high and even Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are getting along.
How quickly we forget.
Unfortunately, for the Cavs, Mike Brown is still the head coach. While times are good now, does this excuse Brown for the start Cleveland got off to this season?
The Cavaliers, despite what many experts predicted, flopped coming out of the gate. Cleveland was just 16-33 in their first 49 games and looked headed towards another lottery. The firing of Chris Grant led to some passionate speeches by acting general manager David Griffin and owner Dan Gilbert. The players then had a meeting that allowed them to clear the air and get things off their chest. This turnaround isn't because of Brown or anything he's done.
The Cavs, despite having All-Star starter Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and Luol Deng still aren't in the East playoff picture. The talent is there. The coaching is not.
Cleveland ranks in the bottom third of the league in nearly every major team stat. The Cavs are 23rd in points per game, 20th in points allowed, 20th in pace of play, and 24th in offensive rating (per basketball-reference.com).
A team with this much talent shouldn't be ranked so low in such key categories.
Brown's ineptitude on offense has stunted the growth of his best young players. Irving, Waiters, Thompson and even Varejao have all seen a drop in their player efficiency ratings from a season ago.
Brown has even admitted to the Cavs' problems on offense, telling Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, "Our offense is not complex at all."
You don't say?
We figured that out back in 2005, when it was Iso-LeBron every play. Nice to see you've added something to your offense in the last, oh, nine years.
Newly acquired center Spencer Hawes spoke to Brown over the phone and showed confidence that he had the Cavs offense figured out, just from playing against them one time this week. Said Brown:
"You probably do. What you went over in your scouting report is all we do."
With Irving facing the option of signing a long-term extension with the Cavaliers this summer, Cleveland has to find a better leader for him to commit to.
Brown already drove one superstar out of Cleveland. The Cavs shouldn't give him the chance to do it again.
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- Grading Spencer Hawes to Cleveland Trade
- Jimmer Fredette to Cavaliers?
- Anthony Bennett: From Bust to Star
Greg Swartz is a Northeast Ohio native who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers and NBA on the Yahoo Contributor Network and Bleacher Report. You can find a collection of his articles here and join him on Twitter for more NBA news.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kyrie Irving
- Mike Brown
- Dion Waiters