It was quite a year to remember and every Cavalier fan in Ohio and the rest of the world were treated with a good dose of drama, highlight, high point, and heart break. Behind all these of course are the individuals who invested their time, mind, and body into giving the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise the magical season that it deserved. With the 2014-2015 NBA season now in the books, we analyze each Cavalier player’s, and their head coach’s, recently concluded campaign.
1 – LeBron James, A+
LeBron James would not have gotten an A+ based on his regular season where he obviously coasted by design in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs. His postseason performance made up for his first 82 games as King James was on a historic level of play. From averaging a “sub-par” 25.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 7.4 assists in the regular season, King James elevated himself in the postseason to posting gaudy numbers of 30.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks further establishing his status as the best player in the world. His finals average were, well, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves, 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 8.4 assists per game.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded Kyrie Irving!
2 – Kyrie Irving, A-
The scoring may not have been his best but Kyrie Irving undeniably dished out his best season ever as he showed great improvement in the areas that mattered. Irving did have a rough start in finding his rhythm with LeBron James and in learning how to play winning basketball but he was able to hit his stride eventually. He also turned it up on defense alongside his durability by playing 75 out of the 82 regular season games. Uncle Drew notched a couple of Cavalier records by drilling 11 threes in a game against Portland and also scoring 57 points in San Antonio. Irving was already scorching in the playoffs until he was slowed down by injuries. That was the only letdown of Irving’s season and it wasn’t even his fault.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded Kevin Love!
3 – Kevin Love, B
Kevin Love was welcomed with huge expectations coming into the Cavalier fold after logging career numbers in Minnesota. He was expecting to see his numbers go down but not as low as what he ended up with (16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds). Love was the final member of the Big Three to hit his mark as his defensive inconsistencies cost him a number of fourth quarters where he watched entirely from the bench. He was the favorite topic of media sharks from his fit, usage, relationship with LeBron James, and future plans. When Love was finally starting to put it all together in the playoffs, bad luck struck him as he dislocated his shoulder in Game Four of their series sweep in Boston. To be fair to Love, he played like a true professional but we all know his production was only a product of some sort of bad funk.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded Timofey Mozgov!
4 – Timofey Mozgov, A-
The Russian center was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Cavaliers. Timo opened up a world of possibilities for David Blatt and the rest of his coaching staff to play with on defense. He did not care about being posterized and he always went for the block no matter what. The man they call Mozilla saw the best run of his career in Cleveland and everyone knew that what he brings to the team is irreplaceable. He was also a pro’s pro as he always did what was asked of him without question, even if it meant playing less than 10 minutes in a game after scoring 28 points in the previous contest and that’s in a finals series. The only blip in Mozgov’s season was the fact that he proved to be unable to keep up with the opponent’s small lineup in the finals.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded Iman Shumpert!
5 – Iman Shumpert, B+
For starters, no other Cavalier did a rap song for the team. Outside of that stroke of talent, Iman Shumpert was the Cavaliers’ best lockdown defender. He put the clamps on Klay Thompson in the finals. His hands are very active and he’s as tough as they can get. He was just a great fit to the Cavs’ scheme of things and a couple of threes and some jumpers or putbacks were already bonuses. His durability, which had been a question before coming to Cleveland, was put to a test after a few close calls in the postseason but Shump displayed massive heart in playing through it all.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded Tristan Thompson!
6 – Tristan Thompson, A-
Tristan Thompson was the Cavs’ biggest opportunist. When Kevin Love went down, he filled up for the All Star forward in a tremendous way by emerging as one of the league’s most ferocious offensive rebounders. Thompson went up against the likes of Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Paul Millsap, Al Horford, and Draymond Green. His pick-and-roll defense was also up to par against some of the best competition available. His regular season numbers were deceiving as TT’s value started to skyrocket as the team went deeper in the playoffs.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded J.R. Smith!
7 – J.R. Smith, B+
J.R. Smith was hailed by Coach David Blatt as a Godsend for Cleveland. Blatt was right as Smith proved to be a tremendous fit with all the ball dominant players that Cleveland had. Smith broke all misconceptions about him when he got traded to Cleveland in the middle of the season. Smith played his part, he stayed out of the short end of the media stick, and found a new commitment to defense. Unfortunately, the last memory of Smith’s season was him clanking up shots after shots in a time when the Cavs desperately needed his numbers.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded Matthew Dellavedova!
8 – Matthew Dellavedova, B+
Halfway towards the season, fans were clamoring for a trade that would get the team a new backup point guard in place of the Australian. But the undrafted guard showed to everyone his true value in the playoffs. Delly’s gritty play and hard nosed approach to the game symbolized the Cavaliers plan of attack in the postseason. Down and Dirty. However, Dellavedova is the kind of player that you don’t want playing extended minutes in a seven-game series. As good as his defense was, Delly’s limitations got exposed in the finals. He’s great in spurts but don’t expect him to score 15 points and lock down the opposing point guard for seven straight games.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded James Jones!
9 – James Jones, B
James Jones wasn’t even expected to play big minutes as people had their eyes on Mike Miller who played 82-games for the Grizzlies in the 2013-2014 season. But the cerebral veteran in Jones knew better to prepare himself in case of emergency and when David Blatt called, James Jones answered. The sharpshooter became a part of Blatt’s regular rotation and even played the role of stretch four. While being badly limited defensively, his deadly three balls proved essential in the Cavaliers’ postseason run.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded Anderson Varejao!
10 – Anderson Varejao, B-
Anderson Varejao began the year as the Cavaliers’ starting center but a season ending injury forced him to sit out the rest of their games after playing only the first 26. Before going down, Varejao was doing a respectable job at the slot averaging 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes of play. The Wild Thing was a great defensive presence but only when it’s down on the floor. It’s a different story already when talking about his above-the-rim play as shot blocking, which apparently was the team’s glaring hole at that time, was never his cup of tea.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded David Blatt!
11 – David Blatt, B+
A lot of criticisms were raised against David Blatt from the moment he was hired till the moment the season ended. But despite all those media rumblings, Blatt stayed focus on the job and was able to pilot the Cavaliers to a finals appearance. Blatt had a lot of things going against him; he had no friends from the national media and he had the burden of coaching LeBron James who has a record of not blending right away with his coaches. No one can look at Blatt based on a timeout that was, fortunately, not called, some defensive lapses by the team, and by sticking to a seven-man rotation despite clamor against it. The players play and the coaches coach. The Cavaliers got the right pieces and Blatt maximised the available talent en route to having the league’s best record once the team was completed. Pretty good for a rookie coach.
Click “Next” to see how Cavs Nation graded the bench mob of the Cavs!
12 – Mike Miller, C
A lot more was expected from Mike Miller when he was signed by the Cavaliers as the sweet shooting forward played a surprising 82 games for Memphis before coming to Cleveland. He was supposed to excel in a role where he can protect his body the most and that is by standing beyond the arc to hit those long shots. However, Miller never found his rhythm on the floor and he eventually lost his spot to fellow veteran James Jones.
13 – Shawn Marion, C
Shawn Marion came to Cleveland still having a decent amount of run in his legs. He came to win a ring. However, Marion ended up losing his minutes midway into the season and never got to play even when the team was playing seven relatively healthy bodies in the finals. Marion did get to start but never produced significantly. To make things even weirder for Marion’s season, he even got a good amount of run at the shooting guard spot.
14 – Joe Harris, B
Joe Harris came to a Cavalier team that had no time available taking care of a rookie. They were in win-now mode so Harris was left to look after himself and just be ready when the time calls for his production. He was given some greenlight by David Blatt in between the end of 2014 to the first week of 2015. During this period, Harris had two games where he scored in double figures. He scored a season-high 16 points with 4 threes in a loss to Philadelphia where the Cavs were without Irving, James, and Waiters who had just been traded prior to the game. Almost a week prior, Harris scored 13 points along with 3 threes in a loss to Atlanta.
15 – Brendan Haywood, B
Brendan Haywood surprised people when he was declared healthy to start the season. Although he never got significant minutes, Haywood remained a positive presence in the locker room. His best moment as a Cavalier was when he sank the game winner against the Wizards during Fan Appreciation Night. In a nutshell, Haywood did not disappoint and did well in keeping himself healthy for the time when the Cavaliers finally let go of him and, more importantly, his non guaranteed $10 million contract next season.
16 – Kendrick Perkins, B+
The Big Bad Perk was brought to Cleveland to be their enforcer and despite not playing that much minutes, Kendrick Perkins’ presence was still felt. Whether he’s in the ears of teammates on grill of opponents, Perkins was there. His best moment as a Cavaliers, curiously, was on a foul. It was in the Cavaliers’ series sweeping victory in Boston when Perkins set hard pick which welcomed Jae Crowder and sent him to the floor. Perk was out there to send a message as Kevin Love was taken out of the game due to an even dirtier play from the Celtics.