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It’s been a theme throughout training camp and big man Channing Frye thinks it’s the only way: The Cavaliers must move the ball.
Frye spoke to reporters Monday and echoed previous sentiments from coach Tyronn Lue, power forward Kevin Love and just about everyone else who is part of this year’s club.
“The biggest thing for us is to play with pace, not with dribbling, but with passing,” Frye said. “I think if we can do that, we can create our own pace.”
Last year, the Cavs’ offense featured a whole lot of standing, dribbling and watching LeBron James. When they weren’t watching James, they were usually trying to get him the ball.
But James split for the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving the Cavs with about two options — sit around and cry, or try to figure out the best way to carry on without him. From the sounds of things, they chose the latter.
“No tanking,” Lue said on media day last week.
He later added the Cavs are focused on playing the right way and letting the chips (and results) fall where they may.
“It’s not about wins and losses; it’s about wins and lessons,” Lue said. “We are all excited about the challenge.”
Among the lessons Lue has spent the first week of training camp preaching? Let’s try to overcome the loss of LeBron by committee. Move, pass and shoot.
“I played on some teams that played pretty fast, and the thing that we did was pass the ball very well,” Frye said. “Hopefully, we’re not going to do a lot of standing around. We’ll be conditioned to movement, conditioned to reads and reaction. Now we just gotta get conditioned to the physicality of (opponents) stopping what we want to do.”
It’s likely to be a lot of trial-and-error for the Cavs. While they stood and watched James a lot last season, particularly in the playoffs, it worked. They beat the Indiana Pacers in seven games, then the Toronto Raptors in four.
They went then seven with the Boston Celtics, winning the deciding Game 7 on the road.
So lots of standing worked just fine with LeBron. No one in Cleveland believes it can work without him.
On the plus side, they have a cast of shooters such as Love, Rodney Hood, Kyle Korver and Frye. They have some ball-handlers such as veteran George Hill and rookie Collin Sexton.
They have the goods to move the ball. Now all they need to do is go out and give it their best shot.