Reality Sets In

Listen, we all knew what we were getting into this season as Cavs fans. We knew replacing the other fella was going to be hard, deep down though I’m not quite sure we thought it would be this hard. The pain and aguish we experienced once the words “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” were uttered were temporarily erased on the 27th of October, better known as opening night at the Q against Boston. The team that unwittingly ended our obsession with Number 23 were the victims in what was to be game one of the season where we showed the world that no matter who comes or goes, the Cavaliers will always be there. Hand on heart; can you honestly name me 3 good things that have happened since then for our Cavaliers? I can think of two – Mo’s game winner over Brandon Jennings and the victory over the (at the time smoking hot) Knicks. Yep, our season so far has been defined by victory over the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks. We’ve had a ten game losing streak, briefly ended with said victory over the Knicks, and now we’re the proud owners of the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Scratch that – the worst record in the entire NBA.

We’ve lost 28 games so far this season; the two seasons previous yielded a combined 37 losses. So to say this is a little bit of a culture shock to us Cavs faithful would be underselling it to the point where it’d be laughable. Some daunting numbers for you very briefly; we have the worst points differential in the league, we are 1-6 in our division where only one team is above .430, of our 28 losses 18 have been by ten or more points and we’ve only scored over 100 points twice in the past five or so weeks.

We just don’t seem interested in playing defense, especially when struggling offensively. I’m not exactly the most intelligent NBA follower around, but even I know that when things don’t go your way attacking the opponent’s basket, you work your ass off to stop them attacking yours. Letting opponents knock rack up on average 38 points a game in the paint isn’t doing that; letting them shoot 53% from the floor isn’t helping the cause either. Defense starts and ends with effort, right now ours is non-existent on that end, and nobody can argue differently. They say that no one man determines a team, when exactly are we going to stop being the exception to the rule?

For me, personally speaking I feel this season is a wash, it’s pretty much over and done with as regards making the playoffs – that feeling sank in when Minnesota beat us by 34 points even though I refused to accept it. I accept it now. I’m still 100% committed to the cause; I still love my Cavaliers as much as I’ve ever done, but it’s time to be realistic – blow it all up and start from scratch. Try creating a blank canvas from the current mess before us and getting the rebuilding process started, which should be the aim for the organisation right now. Because right now we’re in limbo, dependant on an OAP power forward and an expensive point guard that really can’t deliver. There are plenty of teams that would take a shot at Jamison right now, likewise Andy and I’m sure Mo Williams could be offloaded if we really tried. But those are all things that are filled with “ifs”, “buts” and “maybes”. We can’t control them, we can just wait and hope we catch a break somewhere along the line and things change for the better.

Just a sidenote for all of you out there that like randomly funny/stupid things – I’ve decided I’m not shaving until the Cavs win their next game. I’m currently looking like a cross between James Harden and Tom Hanks in Castaway, kinda cool but at the same time totally uncalled for and a distraction as such. To say the boss (my girlfriend) was peed off when I told her the circumstances would be a massive understatement. Her exact words when I told her, and I swear I’m not making this up, “LeBron ruining things again the ***hole”. Classy…

NBA Chatter

Brandon Jennings, Serge Ibaka and JaVale McGee will duke it out at All Star weekend for 2nd place in the dunk contest. Blake Griffin will make what Vince Carter did some years back look like child’s play.

Carlos Boozer and Tom Thibodeau are at loggerheads; Phil Jackson is fighting with everyone; OJ Mayo and The Other Allen Guy talked things out UFC-style on a flight back after stuffing the Lakers; my odds for the next NBA-related fight is a one-on-one all-out brawl between Kevin Love and David Kahn. For the obvious reasons.

Speaking of OJ Mayo – surely he’s on the block right about now? There were rumours that he was available before the fight, having lost his starting role to rookie Xavier Henry. I’m not sure how good Mayo can and will be (or wants to be for that matter) but I’d push hard enough to get him if I thought I could.

Reports stemming from ESPN suggest that Danny Granger is now not so untouchable – Dallas should be doing a lot to get their hands on him seeing as they’ll be without Caron Butler for the remainder of the season and let’s face it, Dirk ain’t getting any younger.

Question from the Mailbag

Q: Would the Cavs ever consider taking a shot on Yao after his injury, like they did with Z? Also, can you explain what the Traded Player Exception is that the Cavs own? – Bob, Cleveland

A: Yao’s a tricky situation – we kinda know he’ll never ever be fully fit, but if you can get him for around $3 million dollars a year is he worth a shot? If you get 50 games out of him for that money it just night be, but the facts aren’t pointing to that happening. He’s getting old, he can’t stop getting hurt and I’m pretty sure his feet are made from glass. Yao would be a great addition from a marketing standpoint, but I can’t see it happening. Plus, if he was going to sign for a team for little or nothing salary wise, you’d have to guess he’d stay loyal to the Rockets, he strikes me as a guy who’s do that kinda thing. As for the TPE we got from LeBron leaving, here are the main things you need to know; it’s like a voucher for a shop in that it has a limit and it expires, in our case it lasts 12 months and the value is $14.5 million; it can’t be added to other exceptions; you can make a number of signings using the one exception but they must be separate deals, for example we could take on a player for $6 million one week, then another for $7 million the next while still having $1.5 million left. I wish I could expand on it, but that’s basically my knowledge on it and how we can use it. Hope my (brief) explanation helped you understand it better…

 

Contact us on stepien_rules@hotmail.com for the Stepien Rules mailbag, Facebook or myself on Twitter @DOL17.

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