Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mike Brown, Watchability and 2010

With 2010 (finally) fast approaching, Chad Ford got me thinking about Mike Brown and his impact on LeBron's future plans:

Jesse (Detroit) Chad, how much do think players take a teams GM into account when looking at free agent destination? Does the fact that the Cavs have done a pretty awful job with putting talent around LeBron weigh more heavily than the fact that Cleveland is a small market?

Chad Ford (1:17 PM) Guys like LeBron want to win. So I would expand that to front office: owner, GM, coach. They matter. If either or all of those three have a history of blundering ... why join the team. I think that's why so many are pessimistic about Bron joining the Clips. On paper, they have a lot of young talent to surround him with. However, their track record is awful. I think it's why the Heat, Knicks and (maybe) the Nets (new owner, new coach) could make the steal. Cavs owner has been solid. GM has been shakier.
I'm alright with the job that Danny Ferry has done (I'll even defend the Christian Eyenga pick). I really don't think Ferry gets the credit for the job he's done, especially considering what he's had to work with (like no draft picks). Has he been great? No, but he consistently comes out ahead on the deals he makes and he doesn't overpay his own role players.

If anyone in the front office worries me, it's Mike Brown, not Ferry (and certainly not Dan Giblert and co). The Cavs have been, let's say unfocused, for much of this season. They routinely take off entire halves (Memphis) and sometimes entire games (like Chicago and Houston). Plus, I'm not sure how much control Brown has over LeBron at this point (you don't think he draws up "dribble for 20 seconds and chuck up a contested 20 footer" three times in a row, do you?).

Brown is a large reason why the SBNation deemed the Cavs unwatchable:

IT'S CRIMINAL THAT THIS TEAM ISN'T MORE FUN TO WATCH

25. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs are one of the league's best teams. They boast the best player in the league and the most recognizable star of the last decade (I'm talking about Shaq). So why so low for Cleveland?

  • They don't ever run. The Cavs have the most unstoppable fast-break force in the NBA (maybe in league history), and they are 26th in the league in fast break points. I didn't tune in to watch LeBron James walk the ball up the court.
  • James himself. Look, I'm a Wizards fan, so I hate the guy somewhat irrationally. But I don't think it's particularly fun to watch LeBron whine and whine to the officials. Part of it isn't his fault - his face naturally looks Hulk-ish when he scowls - but you'd wish a star like him could display more tact when bitching to the refs. It's also not fun to watch him completely abandon the offense to go one-on-five and shoot a 20-foot jump shot.
  • Shaq. Shaq may still be effective in spurts, but he kills any offensive flow you try to get. It's not all that fun anymore to watch him back his ample posterior into people to try to score.
  • The offense. If you are like most basketball fans and like ball movement and continuity, you won't like the Cavs offense.
  • Mo Williams. He's just nauseating. I can't explain it. His ugly floaters bother me. His fake confidence bugs me. His "playmaking" bugs me. His headband bugs me. He's like that guy in a pickup game that shows up with short shorts and a headband and claims he can do everything, but really only shoots threes.

On the bright side, watching Mike Brown pretend to coach can be kind of amusing. So there's that.

How much of that can you really disagree with (besides the Mo Williams hate. Who can hate Mo Williams)? Of course the Cavs should run more and take advantage of their athleticism (I really want to see a West-Moon-LBJ-Hickson-Andy lineup), LeBron routinely abandons the play call to go 1-on-5 and the offense bogs down when they try to force feed Shaq (the Memphis game is a prime example). Those can all be put at Brown's feet.

I worry that Brown no longer commands the Cavalier players' attention (especially after the Orlando series). The offensive breakdowns were more understandable when Brown's starting guards were Eric Snow and Larry Hughes. However, this is year five of Coach Mike's tenure and these same problems keep popping up. If the the Cavs fail to win the title this season, it doesn't necessarily means LeBron is out the door, but I do think it would be the end for Brown.

For what it's worth, Ford has LeBron ending up in Miami though he does float what's sure to be ESPN's new dream scenario (the Nets/Russian Billionaire/Jay-Z landing the top pick, selecting John Wall and luring LeBron- remember, the Knicks don't have their pick this season). Unless James and Wade really want to play together (would LeBron really go to Wade's kingdom? Seems odd to me), I think the poor economy will (ironically) keep James in Cleveland, as it will hamper teams' ability to sign multiple stud players. Or maybe I'm just trying to find that silver lining.

3 comments:

The Other Ben said...

4 to 5 years ago you and I were having conversations regarding these exact points. Amazing how things haven't changed with a talent like Lebron.

Ben said...

this is what concerns me. When the talent level was poor I could excuse the poor offense, cause hey, Eric Snow sucks and Larry Hughes makes horrendous decisions.

The offense still devolves into 1-on-5 (especially against Orlando) and they don't show up for games (like last night). How long does shit go on?

and yes. I know Mike Brown wins games. The Cavs have had success under him and they can play great defense when they put their minds to it.

It's just that the issues he had in Year 1 are still issues in Year 5. This worries me.

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