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Random dribbles on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who fell to a disastrous 1-8 following another blowout loss, 126-94 at the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
1. J.R. Smith led the Cavs in scoring with 14 points. That’s honestly all you really need to know about this game. Nothing against J.R., but he was told last week, for a second time this season, that he wouldn’t be in the rotation.
2. A few games later, he leads the team in scoring.
3. Is anyone else wondering … what’s the plan here?
4. Smith talked about the state of things in great detail in an excellent postgame piece from Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “Team is in a very weird place right now,” Smith said, via Fedor. “We have to figure it out, whether it’s a players-only meeting or coaches or front-office meeting or whatever it is, we have to figure it out and let everyone know what their individual role is and what to expect.”
5. J.R. has never made so much sense.
6. Larry Drew is actually a good coach and deserves a shot in all this. I truly believe that. But the front office has to come up with a real direction and stick with it. Do you want to play young guys … and try to ride the likes of Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, David Nwaba, Ante Zizic, Sam Dekker, etc.?
7. Or do you primarily go with older veterans who have been there before? Namely, Smith, Tristan Thompson, George Hill, Kyle Korver, Kevin Love (when healthy) and Channing Frye.
8. As an aside, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson are two players who fit either scenario.
9. But you have to make a call and stick with it! Young, old, J.R. is sitting, J.R. is playing … whatever. But if we’re confused, imagine how the players feel.
10. This isn’t intended to rip general manager Koby Altman and the front office. Far from it. Losing a player of LeBron James’ caliber can immediately throw the organization into a tailspin in terms of wins/losses. It’s not easy to decide which direction to take. And getting blown out and not being competitive is no fun. It can be tough to keep the wheels from coming off completely.
11. Now, the media and fans tend to make things sound worse than they probably are. You can’t push a panic button after 10 games. But this team is bad, and worse, disorganized. The first part will take some time to fix. You can live with that. The second part, though, needs repaired right now, today, this very moment. Even a bad plan is at least a plan. Right now, the Cavs have none.
12. More Smith, via Fedor: “No one knows what they’re supposed to be doing other than the vets. Within those guys we understand what it is, we’ve been there and we went to the Finals with this team and some of these guys last year.”
13. Fedor also reported Korver requested a trade after James departed for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Cavs assured the veterans that the plan was to compete, Fedor wrote … but apparently, that’s not going to happen.
14. There’s more. Many of the vets reportedly expect to be traded, Sexton is reportedly irritating some of the older players and there’s still no contract agreement with Drew.
15. So yes, the Cavs need a meeting. They need to say THIS is the plan, and they need to stick with it and be consistent– blowout losses be darned. Eventually, you may have to change the plan. Just try not to change it every two or three games. In fact, the only thing that’s a plan for is a basketball disaster. The Cavs don’t need to be that. But it will take some organization, some direction, some confidence and some real stick-to-itiveness.