Building For The Future Or Winning Now: Where The Cavs Went Wrong

The 2014-2015 NBA season has finally come to an end after a thrilling NBA playoffs that saw Steph Curry and the Warriors crowned champions. Their 4-2 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers came as no surprise as they were the top seed coming out of a loaded Western Conference with a 67-15 record. Statistically they proved themselves to be the top team in the league on both sides of the ball, sporting a 109.7 offensive efficiency rating and a 98.2 defensive efficiency rating. This years NBA finals, however, wasn’t about the juggernaut that was the Warriors. As usual, when Lebron James is involved in anything it is all about him. Lebron’s heroic effort in this years finals will further cement his place in the pantheon of the basketball greats. The worlds greatest basketball player posted an incredible 35.8 PPG 8.8 APG 13.3 RPG stat line in the finals, an effort unmatched by any that has come before it. Unfortunately for Lebron it simply wasn’t enough, once again proving that no matter how great a player is, championships aren’t won alone. King James’ supporting cast, depleted by injuries, just wasn’t up for the challenge. Now its time for Lebron to take a break, recover from a physically and mentally draining season, and then get back on his grind in hopes of bringing the Cleveland Cavaliers its first championship ever. As the Cavs now look to next season they must reevaluate their roster and James’ supporting cast. They must learn from their mistakes in assembling this years roster or they risk meeting the same fate next year. But, have the Cavaliers already sealed their destiny for years to come with the biggest trade of the year before the season started? The Cavaliers traded top pick Andrew Wiggins, along with others, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. This move made the organization’s goals very clear, they want to win now. What the Cavs didn’t realize though, is that they did not need to make this trade to win now or in the future because this trade was never really about Kevin Love vs. Andrew Wiggins, but Andrew Wiggins vs. LBJ.
Andrew Wiggins and Lebron James have a lot in common. Both players were the top pick in their respective drafts coming out as athletic freaks, capable of being lockdown defenders and offensive studs immediately. There will always be differences between the two but their similarities at a young age is why the Cavs should be concerned about dumping Wiggins.
Player A: 20.9 PPG 5.9 APG 5.5 RPG 41.7 FG% 29 3P%.
Player B: 20.0 PPG 2.3 APG 4.9 RPG 44.6 FG% 16.1 3P%.
These stat lines represent the rookie seasons of both players in their rookie season in which they each won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award. Player A is the King and Player B is Andrew Wiggins. As expected from the league’s best James posted a slightly better line across the board. The point, however, is that both exhibited limitless potential early on. In order to turn potential into reality you need help, and who would’ve been more suited than LBJ to mentor Wiggins as he strives to get to where Lebron is today. James is the NBA’s smartest player and his vision, ability to see the floor and the play develop before it happens is unmatched. On the Timberwolves Wiggins didn’t exactly have the best support in helping him develop. His starting point guard, Ricky Rubio, had another injury riddled season and the rest of the roster lacks any substantial talent. What he did as a rookie on such a bad team in the Western Conference, the tougher conference by far, is impressive. If you take a player like that and put him next to Lebron and scary things are bound to happen. LBJ and Wiggin’s alley oops would make the Clippers knack for high flying plays look like Sob City, rising up so high you’d think they were playing on 9 ft hoops. Wiggins efficiency would benefit as well because he wouldn’t be the top scoring option, or even the second and he would be getting set up by Lebron which everyone knows leads to better looks. By keeping a young, potentially elite defender their team defense would become a strength opposed to the weakness it was for the Cavaliers throughout the regular season. Lebron makes players around him better, no matter who it is. Look at Matthew Dellavadova in the finals. He played the best basketball of his career because James enabled him to and Delly is a player with very limited talent, just imagine what Lebron could do for his potential mini me. There is no doubt that all of the skills that King James possesses helped Kevin Love better his game in some respects, but there are few players with the ability to reach the level Lebron is on. It is clear at this point in his career that Kevin Love doesn’t have what it takes to be a Lebron James caliber player. So if there is even the slightest chance Andrew Wiggins does, the Cavs will regret quitting on the Lebron-Wiggins tandem before it even began, especially given how good he is already.

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