NBA: 5 Things That Need To Be Done To Save the Cleveland Cavaliers' Season
The energy is gone, and it seems that the "prove-that-we-can-survive-without-LeBron" swag has left the Cleveland Cavaliers as well.
After starting off the season with a shocking home victory over the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been frustrating to watch.
The Cavaliers allow the team they are facing to go on runs, they play poorly in the third quarter and they often spend time waiting for someone to take over.
These were many of the same problems the Cleveland Cavaliers had under their old regime, except they had a certain superstar named LeBron James to take over games.
Coming into the season new Coach Byron Scott vowed that this team would be better conditioned, would run and be more exciting to watch for the fans.
No offense to Coach Scott, but other than the revival of Daniel "Boobie" Gibson, who had been on life support on Mike Brown's bench, this team has been lackluster to say the least.
After losing five of their last six games, the Cleveland Cavaliers are now facing a dangerous time in their season.
They face the likes of Milwaukee, Orlando, Memphis, Boston and Miami in their next five games.
Luckily for the Cavaliers, they have four of these games on their home court, which should energize the team to a certain extent.
But if the Cavaliers want to turn this thing around, something has to change...and quickly.
This is why I have complied a list of five things that the Cavaliers can do to right this ship before it starts to sink into the icy waters of Lake Erie.
Obviously not all of them can be done in the next week, but it would do the team some good to pay attention.
5. Out With Anthony Parker, In With Whomever
I'll be the first to admit, when the season started I thought we had a different Anthony Parker on the Cavaliers.
He had performances of 10, 10, 12 and 10 points in his first four games.
But as the season has gone on, this version of Anthony Parker may be worse than the old one.
At least last season you knew what to expect out of Parker.
He would attempt to play good defense and stand outside the three-point line and shoot when open.
This Anthony Parker is all over the place.
He is getting burned by defenders, jacking up erratic shots and is finally showing his age playing with this team.
Don't be fooled by 46 percent shooting from three-point land either, because he is shooting a dismal 35 percent overall from the field.
Parker is just one member of the starting lineup that is not performing very well this season, which is why I think it is about time he took his act to the bench.
Making this move would mean bringing the sharp-shooting Daniel Gibson into the starting lineup, which might not be a bad thing at this point in the season.
Yes, Gibson is undersized at 6'2", but he plays solid defense and the infusion of scoring into the starting lineup could be just what this team needs right now.
4. Can We Please Get Some Defense at Small Forward?
This season was supposed to be Jamario Moon's chance to shine.
The journeyman former Harlem Globetrotter got his first chance to start with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
Moon's strengths are supposed to be his lock-down defense and his leaping ability, yet the Cavaliers seem not to be willing to allow him to shine in either aspect this season.
It couldn't be more apparent than in last night's game against the Indiana Pacers in which Danny Granger lit up the Cavaliers for the second time this season.
Indiana's number one scoring option has logged performances of 34 and 24 points in two games against the Cavaliers.
In these games, Moon has only played 31 minutes total.
Now, don't misquote me here: I don't think Jamario Moon is a starting caliber small forward in the NBA.
I don't think anyone on the Cavaliers roster is worthy of being a starting small forward, but if you are going to commit to a guy, give him a chance.
His minutes have been steadily declining since the first four games of the season, and he is only averaging 24 minutes per game this season after his eight-minute game last night against the Pacers.
It is time for Coach Byron Scott to make a decision at the small forward position.
Either you give Moon the chance he deserves, move Joey Graham into the starting lineup or forget about defense altogether and bring Antawn Jamison back into the starting lineup.
The Cavaliers need to bring a spark back into this starting unit, and committing to someone at the small forward position is the first step.
3. Where's the Love For J.J.?
Forget about the occasional mental lapses.
Disregard the fact that he forgets how to rebound at times.
J.J. Hickson knows how to score.
And when your starting unit can't do that, I don't understand why you suddenly decrease your starting power forward's minutes.
But that is exactly what Coach Scott has done.
After averaging 28 minutes in his first nine games, Hickson has been limited to just 20 minutes per game in the last four.
Out of those four games, the Cavaliers have only won one of them.
Notice a trend: 4-4 when Hickson averages 28 minutes per game, 1-3 when he averages 20 minutes per game.
I think it's safe to say that the Cavaliers need to get J.J. more playing time if he is going to be the face of this franchise for the future.
2. More Sessions, Less Mo
He can be erratic, sometimes attempting to do too much with the ball.
But the numbers don't lie.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have played better when Ramon Sessions has handled the ball.
I'm normally not big on the whole plus/minus feature in the stat box, but it has told a chilling tale for the Cavaliers point guards this season.
Mo Williams: minus-27 last night in 23 minutes against the Pacers in a loss.
Ramon Sessions: plus-16 last night in 25 minutes against the Pacers in a loss.
Maybe it's just Mo trying to get back into a groove since his injuries, but things have not looked good for the majority of Mo's eight games back with the Cavaliers this season.
He did pour in performances of 22 and 28 points in victories over the Sixers and Wizards early in November, but his three-point shooting is a dismal 15 percent right now. That tells me that Mo is forcing his shot a little too much.
Bringing Sessions into the starting lineup would allow the Cavaliers to get into offensive sets and allow them to spread the ball around and get everyone comfortable with each other.
Williams is the leader of this team, but until he is comfortable with his game and isn't jacking up a shot every chance he gets he doesn't belong in the starting lineup.
1. The Cavaliers Need to Make a Move NOW
With all due respect to general manager Chris Grant, it is time to get off your butt and do something.
I know the team is only 13 games into the season, and that it is too early to hit the panic button.
But what happens if the Cavaliers lose their next five games (which is very possible) and are 5-13 come December 2nd following the return of LeBron and a loss at home to the Miami Heat.
The experiment, thus far, has not worked.
Anthony Parker can't cut it as the starting shooting guard.
Jamario Moon/Joey Graham are role players, not starters.
Ryan Hollins is not enough depth at the center position.
The Cavaliers have a ton of future draft picks, a $14.5 million trade exception at their disposal, a few expiring contracts and an owner that wants to field a winner.
So why is it that this team is standing pat right now?
Philadelphia is actively attempting to move Andre Iguodala to clear room for Evan Turner.
That is a starting shooting guard who is capable of putting up 15-25 points on any given night.
Not to mention the 76ers are a team that is looking to get rid of salary, not looking to acquire someone of equal salary in return.
Um...trade exception anyone?
How about Monta Ellis in Golden State?
The Warriors have been rumored to be looking into moving him the past two years, and the guy is instant offense for anyone.
With the Clippers' dismal play, I'm sure Chris Kaman will be available soon as well.
These are just a few of the players that may be available for the right combination of picks, money and players.
But my main point is that the Cavaliers cannot stand pat and do nothing much longer.
There have already been a few trades in the season, and that means that teams aren't going to wait around for the trade deadline to make a move.
If the Cavaliers want to return to the playoffs, keep fans in the seats and remain competitive on the court they need to make a move now.