The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled a rabbit out of the hat at the trade deadline of the NBA as they followed the “in with the old, out with the new” policy, quite methodically.
4 major players were traded from their roster including new boy Isaiah Thomas and the Cavs signed some fresh faces to inject some athleticism and defensive quality in their line-up.
So let’s take a look at the major trades made by the Cleveland Cavaliers and further analyse their chances at a legit title shot this season:
It all started with the Cavs trading Dwyane Wade, the struggling Derrick Rose (OUCH!), the defensively poor and uncharacteristically offensively poor point guard Isaiah Thomas (after he played JUST 15 games for the Cavs and mentioned that he was tired of being traded), Jae Crowder and Channing Frye.
^Talk about getting rid of deadwood and the Cleveland Cavaliers exhibited their stance perfectly.
In exchange for these trades, the Cavs added to their line-up the following players: George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
Statistics show the new lineup brings the average age of the Cavs roster to 26.5, which was over 30 when the old players were still in the team.
The downsizing on ageing players will give the team a much needed vertical of athleticism and agility, which was missing from most of the roster except for LeBron James, who’s having a brilliant season and the new signings will only make him better and bring the best out of him and as a 3-time NBA Champion, he’ll bring the best out of the new guys, as well.
Looking at the new-look of the Cavaliers, the focus straight up goes to the fact that the defense of this roster seems much more refined since George Hill and Larry Nance Jr. provide better defensive depth as compared to Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose.
Hill looks set to be the new starting point guard in the line up and playing alongside a championship level squad, the former Sacramento man can hit his best form this season.
As for Nance, he’s a 6’9” big man and he can give the much-needed presence of a rim protector as the Cavs have been dismal in defense so far.
The fact that most of the new signings provide a great perimeter threat in a team which already boasts of sharpshooters like Kyle Korver makes them even more deadly on offense, which only solidifies their claim as the top team in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs have also strengthened their 2nd unit with the addition of Jordan Clarkson, which became evident as he shot 17 points on his debut in a big game against the Celtics where the Cavs emerged victorious. He can definitely lead the 2nd unit as their primary ball handler and can provide them with a scoring touch, as well.
The new look Cavs lined up against the Celtics and it resulted in a brilliant blow-out win for them, as the team showed much more purpose, agility and most importantly, a hunger to win.
The presence of Isaiah Thomas and his controversial statements where he publicly criticized his teammates and not himself despite poor personal performances created a rather divided locker room, where it became almost necessary to ship him out to create a more harmonious and focused squad which is on the same page.
It’s still a long way to go and we discuss this every year but let’s be honest, here. The playoff Cavaliers are an outfit of champions and this team has a legitimate chance of upsetting the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets, the 2 most probable contenders from the Western Conference.
It has been widely acknowledged that the Cavaliers generally thrive on quality offense but now, a more balanced squad and defensively better players will only work exponentially in their benefit.
Also, not to forget the brilliance of the new kid Cedi Osman, since his presence has been a menace to the opposition so far and as reported by multiple sources, a sense of “identity” has been established among the rejuvenated Cavaliers.
Can the new and improved Cleveland Cavaliers bring home another title? We think so.
As for you, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
Images: Google Images
Sources: The Washington Post, ESPN, King James Gospel + more
You’d Also Like To Read:
The Rise Of 23 Year Old Giannis Antetokounmpo And Milwaukee Bucks