The 2015-2016 NBA Season isn’t going as planned for the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, who have mostly been dominant in their games but seem to be frustrated they aren’t perfect like the Golden State Warriors.
That’s the golden standard for the Cavs and other teams as well. Not just because they haven’t lose a single time this season. The Warriors were the ones who stood in the Cavs’ way of winning a championship last season. They’re the team to beat, and the ones singled out as the favorites to make the finals and clash with the Cavaliers a second year in a row. With every loss the Cavs have to endure, and there have been six so far in 19 games, they look at where the Warriors are and get frustrated.
While James won’t accept injuries as an excuse, the Cavs have been playing without an All-Star point guard in Kyrie Irving, a key bench player like Iman Shumpert and their starting center, Timofey Mozgov, still hasn’t bounced back from surgery over the summer. Their best big man off the bench (and maybe overall), Tristan Thompson, didn’t play a single second or preseason basketball or in training camp. We’re already in December, but these things catch up with a team.
The Cavaliers aren’t chasing the East like they did last season. They might lose the top spot if they keep having these two-day breakdowns with their second two-game losing streak of the season, but this isn’t last year, with half a season gone by before David Blatt got the real LeBron James at his disposal and a better team from the front office. These are the same players with slight upgrades (Mo Williams, Richard Jefferson), only waiting for Irving and Shumpert to come back.
Looking at this and comparing themselves to the Warriors really isn’t the way to go about it. Having player meetings once a week and talking about focus and commitment isn’t going to cut it. The Cavaliers need more from everyone, including LeBron, even if he has been playing at his best in the last few games. Maybe the Cavaliers just aren’t as good as they expect to be, and nothing in the world is going to help them, but it just might be that some teams, especially those missing important players, need a little more time before reaching a level they are happy with.