5 New Year’s Resolutions For The Cavaliers
2. Team Defense MUST Improve
Pick and roll defense, rim protection, and overall defensive effort are underwhelming this season for the Cavaliers. They are 6th worst in the league in opposing FG%. Even the New York Knicks are better in this regard. Many have noticed LeBron’s lack of defensive intensity, but he is probably just conserving energy for the playoffs and his career longevity. He will definitely pick up the slack during the post-season, but this is still detrimental, because he is not encouraging good habits among his teammates. However, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, two known defensive sieves, have definitely been stepping it up on D and showing more defensive intensity than in previous seasons.
Cavaliers are hedging too much on pick and rolls and trying to replicate the Miami Heat’s defense where scrambling and constant switching was utilized effectively. However, the Cavs are a less disciplined and younger team that do not have the defensive talent nor the successful habits that the recent teams have had.
A starting front court of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, with Brendan Haywood and Lou Amundson off the bench is not particularly intimidating for opposing big men. With Varejao, arguably the Cavs’ best defender, out for the season, the best case scenario is to hope that another team is willing to part with a rim protector for some of the trade chips the Cavs are dangling. A trade is possibly the only way for the team to be immediately competitive and for the team to improve to an average level defense.
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