Young team aims to take next step in post-break. But let's remember to be patient.
By SAM AMICOFS Ohio
Cavaliers will make these road swings and we’ll feel good about them. Someday, it will be about more than taking positive steps.
But right now, the
Cavs’ three-game jaunt to Orlando, Miami and Chicago (respectively) is about more learning.
And, hey, nothing wrong with that.
If there’s one thing All-Star weekend reaffirmed, it’s that Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters have the ability to be a Terrific (and victorious) Trio.
For now, though, it’s too soon for that.
For now, they’re just fun to watch – and becoming more enjoyable by the month. And get this, the Cavs are actually winning sometimes, too. Since the New Year, they’re 11-12.
OK, that’s not fantastic. It’s officially a game less than average. But when you start two rookies and two second-year guys …
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Amico sure brings up the fact the Cavs start two rookies and two second-year guys a lot. Like, in every column.”
And you’re right. But I do it because Cavs fans should never forget that, not in these days of losing to Minnesota and Sacramento and beating Oklahoma City and Boston.
The Cavs can be glorious. They can be maddening. They can be a work of basketball art and a team that can’t seem to grasp a defensive rotation, and they can do it all in the same quarter.
You can expect more of it this weekend, too.
You can expect the Cavs to play to their level of competition against lowly Orlando and defending-champion Miami, then get blown out in Chicago.
You can hope for more, but if we’re going on recent history here, the above is what to expect.
That’s not a criticism. That’s a reality. That’s acceptable -- even if it can get frustrating.
This weekend also is significant because the Cavs know that their pieces are in place for the rest of the season. No one got traded. Everyone is grasping their roles, including relative newcomers Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Shaun Livingston off the bench.
So, what’s the point?
Well, mostly to say not to measure this season in wins and losses. That’ll be the case next year, when the progress has to start resulting in the bottom line in this business.
Either that, or you start worrying about becoming The Next Sacramento Kings, a team forever running on a treadmill and getting nowhere.
But this year? It’s about enjoying the show -- the entertainment of Irving, the development of Thompson and Waiters, the dunks of Alonzo Gee and the maturation of Tyler Zeller.
Yes, I spend a lot of time reminding you of that. Don’t feel bad, because I have to remind myself sometimes, too.
And it is true the Cavs want to use the post-break to actually start winning games and stop worrying about where they might fall in the draft lottery. They don’t care about another top-five pick. They’ve had three in two years, including a No. 1. That’s plenty.
Now is a time to create a mindset, to prove to themselves that they can bring it every night, and that when they do, good things can result.
It probably won’t happen yet, but that’s the goal.