I told myself I would cut back on this internet blogging business this season, as well as watching so many games. And I have reduced the time I've put into the Lakers this season, but now this historic Cleveland losing streak has gotten my hackles up and I have to write.
Why? Am I a secret Cavaliers fan? Well, no, not really. But I really wanted the Cavaliers to make some noise after the King bolted their city, to show that they were a good supporting cast that had depth. And now, this latest debacle is going to make the typical fan say "See? I told you those bums were no good without Lebron!" and other things like "The Cavs never tried to make the team better when Lebron was there, that's why he left!".
Let's talk about the first point - Lebron's supporting cast. Let's get this straight: the team that just lost their 24th straight game is not the same as Lebron's supporting cast from last year. We obviously know that Shaq also left, and Ilguaskas is with his buddy in Miami, and Delonte West is in green in Boston. But here are the Cavaliers that played more than 20 minutes against Portland last night, and their minutes played:
And now, here is a list of the Cavs who played more than 20 minutes in the Cavs last game of the playoffs last season, and their minutes played:
Mo Williams 46:31
As you can see, a much different Cavs team, even outside of Lebron. Christian Eyenga is now starting for the Cavs. Anderson Varajeo is out for the season.
So don't confuse last year's Lebronites with this season's Cavs team, they are hardly similar.
What about the claim that the Cavs never made any trades or signings that mattered?
Hogwash- after the jump
Remember the Antawn Jamison trade? That didn't turn out to be very significant, did it? Sure, we know that now with hindsight. But what were they saying about it back in February of 2010? How could we ever know what people were thinking back then? Luckily we have something called the internet.
1994: "Today": "What is the Internet, Anyway?" (via VortexTech)
With today's technology, I can look up this article to read about the reactions to the Jamison trade back in Feb 2010.
Here's a sampling:
His arrival doesn't guarantee anything, but put it this way: The chances LeBron stays in Cleveland beyond 2010 are better now than they were the day before yesterday...
The Cavs needed, more than ever this season, to show LeBron James they were willing to do anything to win a title. They needed to give James the equivalent of the Gasol trade. And Wednesday night, they did...
How is a guy who played his entire career on offense-first zero-defense teams going to blend with the Cavs? (This one's from a Laker fan, so of course, his analysis was very astute)...
Amar'e may have been too big for this team. He's been the high scorer on the Suns for most of his career. He would've demanded to start. He would've demanded major minutes ...Jamison's upside isn't sky-high, but he's an extremely low-risk upgrade for the rest of the year...
Count me among those who think Jamison is a better fit for Cleveland than Stoudemire ... The big thing Cleveland has now done is given Mike Brown the ability to match up with almost any kind of lineup...
The trade talk was fun, but title talk's better, and all the pieces are now — for the first time in the LeBron James era — in place. Its NBA title or bust time at this point, there are no more holes to fill...
Regardless of how it happened, the Cavs ended up making the correct move, and for that, despite my brief bout of insanity, I am extremely grateful...
I especially love that the last two reactions were documented. Because now, after Lebron didn't reach his goal of a championship in Cleveland, the party line is "Lebron didn't have enough help". Give me a break. All of his excuses were wiped away, there were "no more holes to fill" (insert yo momma joke here). The Cavs even got Z back for nothing. And still, no ring for The King. It was NBA title or bust, and the Cavs, led by Lebron, busted.
Let's contrast this to the Pau Gasol signing. Today, with hindsight, it looks like adding Pau pretty much cemented the championships for the Lakers, any boob would have known that the tandem of Kobe and Pau would become the champs, it's so automatic. Some misguided souls even think he's better than Kobe. While everyone said it was a steal for the Lakers, no one was talking about Gasol like they do today. So, let's see what they actually said back then.
The Spurs might be the defending champions, but now the Lakers provide some serious competition. I’ll still give the nod to San Antonio, but the gap has certainly closed. The playoffs are going to be quite exciting, to say the least.
He’s remarkably flawed and miscast as franchise anchor. He’s soft. He is not anywhere within range of the term "leader". He can be indecisive with the ball, disappers when the game is on the line, and gets m a y b e one tough rebound when the team needs one a month...
As for getting him out of Memphis? Bonus. The fanbase here had grown to loathe him. Booed every time he touched the ball of late. Too many years of whiny pleading Euro-looks to officials when he didn’t get a call. Too many years of flopping, too many years of, well, back to Calkins:
"That Gasol can’t be the best player on a good team? That he’s as soft as a throwed roll?"
Yeah, that. So, it’s good that he’s gone. Past due.
Most of the reactions were that the trade was a steal, and Gasol was a great fit for the Lakers. But nothing about Pau being the "best" or "top" of any list back then.
Wait a minute, is Pau that good?
No, but that is the beauty of it all, Pau Gasol does not have to be that good.
Again, just about everything I read said he was great fit, not that he was better than some of players he is considered to be better than now. I think that Pau is an integral piece to the Laker's title hopes this seasons. But the only reason we talk about him the way (most of us) do now is because he joined forces with Kobe in the triangle offense.
So, I don't really have a great wrap up to this. This not meant to be anti-Lebron, or even anti-Gasol, although they do take some incidental damage here. The overriding principle here is that hindsight is 20/20, and people seem to be revising history all the time. Kobe was Kobe with Shaq, without Shaq, and he's still who he is with Pau. Somehow last season's supporting cast of the Cavs turned into the most horrible supporting cast ever (because of this season's edition) and Pau became a very good player into someone considered Kobe's equal. Crazy.