Written by Brian Jones
The Cleveland Cavaliers traded 6 players and were the star of the deadline this year.
Contending teams don’t typically make this many moves during the season because it can take a while for players to develop chemistry with one another. However, when you have no chemistry anyways, why not blow it up mid-season?
It’s clear that the Cavaliers didn’t see themselves contending for a ring with the roster they had. The defense was atrocious, teammates weren’t getting along and they desperately needed more athleticism to keep up with the Celtics and Warriors. With that being said, will the moves they made today help them improve in these areas? Let’s take a look at the players they have gained and lost today.
Lost: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert
Gained: George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
While chemistry is a huge part of team defense, size and athleticism are even more important and the Cavaliers improved in both areas.
George Hill, Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson may not be making the All Defense team anytime soon but they are clearly better perimeter defenders than Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. These moves have drastically improved their perimeter defense and I think they can bring it from horrible to slightly below average. As for the interior defense? Well, Jae Crowder proved to be too small to be a full time PF and Channing Frye is basically a statue. At least Larry Nance Jr has the size and athleticism to match up with most bigs. Overall, their defense has gotten a lot better.
While it may be difficult for the Cavaliers to develop their chemistry by the Playoffs, has their chemistry really gotten worse? If anything, I think their chemistry has improved after trading half of the team. I really think this team needed to clean house and get rid of anyone that was causing friction in the locker room. Now they will have a team of guys that are excited to be on a contender after spending the first half of the season on bad or mediocre teams. The locker room will be a better environment and that should translate to the court as well.
They still aren’t nearly as talented as Golden State but they may be the favorites to come out of the East. It will be fun to watch how this overhauled Cleveland team plays together.