Standing pat is a tactic a team will occasionally use to make sure a good season is followed by another one.
However, the Cleveland Cavaliers are now learning that that strategy wasn’t a good idea.
The Cavaliers reached the NBA Finals last season for the first time in history. General Manager Danny Ferry decided to keep the team together and avoid making any major changes.
He failed to realize that for a team to have a great year; it must have talent and good fortune. It’s not easy to see your own team’s flaws when things go well one time.
Despite the Cavaliers’ success, they had a lot of flaws last year. They didn’t have a true point guard. They didn’t have big-man depth behind Zydrunas Ilgauskas. They did have the tendency to stand around and wait for LeBron James to bail them out.
That’s exactly what LeBron did most of the time. Still, he needed some help.
That need became apparent when Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varajao both held out for more money at the start of the season. The fact that the Cavaliers ultimately re-signed both men indicates that these deals should have been worked out in the off-season.
Instead, the Cavaliers staggered out of the gate while Boston, Orlando and Detroit grabbed the top three spots in the East. Once Varajao shook off the rust (Pavlovic still hasn’t), Cleveland started to play well until half the team was bitten by the injury bug.
Ferry finally bailed the team out—literally at the last minute before the trading deadline—when he dumped Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden onto the Chicago Bulls in an 11-man, three-team deal. The team was re-energized by the additions of Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak.
We knew it would take time for this group to learn to play together, but the injuries still haven’t gone away. If everyone gets healthy, they won’t have much time together before the playoffs begin.
So as the Cavaliers crawl across the regular-season finish line, they can be comforted that Danny Ferry did the right thing.
Unfortunately, he did it too late.