Chris Broussard on new-look Cavs after 2 games: ‘They are right there with Houston as a top 3 team’
Chris Broussard tells Greg Jennings, Rob Parker and Holly Sonders that he is ready to declare the Cleveland Cavaliers as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Is it too early to accurately judge this new Cavs roster?
- Chris, are you ready to call the Cavs legit title contenders again?
- Well, look, obviously, they've looked terrific. I mean, there's no question about that.
- Don't look at me.
- I want to watch-- I want to watch this play out a little bit longer. I do love what I'm seeing, and I am ready to say they are right there with Houston as a top-three team. I still have to have Golden State as the favorite. But as I watched this play out, if you want to see them continue to show the tendencies and the habits of a championship-contending team-- they're going to lose some games.
If they had lost last night, I wouldn't say, oh, we overreacted to game one. But you just want to see them play the right way because they do have the tools and the pieces to challenge Golden State. They're athletic. They're energetic. They have versatility. And that's one thing that stuck out to me these first two games against OKC and Boston. Their versatility. You saw last night they played a small lineup that was very effective.
And they have several small lineups they can go to. I mean, I think they had-- they had LeBron, Jeff Green, Larry Nance, Cedi Osman, and Rodney Hood in early in the game. Then, they ended with a different small lineup where you had JR Smith in there. Jordan Clarkson was in, and he and Hood were kind of switching in and out. That's the type of lineup that can guard Golden State because, if your-- if your center is Larry Nance-- let's say you face Houston-- he can handle, he can jump with Clint Capela. Let's say you face Golden State. He can play with their bigs, or if they go small Draymond if he's at center or whoever it is. Nance is athletic enough, jumpy enough to do that.
One thing else-- other thing that stood out, their defense, the way they've been guarding the 3-point line. They have been horrific in guarding defensively, period, but especially in guarding the 3-point line. These last two games, they held Boston to 26% 3-point shooting, OKC to 31%. So they're getting out there. They're contesting. You know, you saw Steven Adams was a handful for them. I mean, his size was-- was a lot for him to handle. But obviously, they overcame it.
So look, I don't even want to mention the offense yet because they have several guys that can hit jumpers, can score. And their shooters and scores now can also defend. And their defenders can also shoot. Whereas before, it was I we got this group that can score and shoot, but they couldn't guard a light post. Then, we got this group that can do the opposite.
So look, I like what I see. I want to temper my feelings. But if they continue to work together, everybody accepting their roles-- which they've done so far-- yeah, they definitely can be title contenders.