Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where I Went Wrong, And Where Im Still Right

Sometimes as a journalist, you must admit when you’re wrong. I was wrong about the Cleveland Cavaliers. I drastically overrated the Cavs and maybe underrated the Magic. The fact of the matter is the Cleveland front court is not good enough to win this series, let alone the championship. When you look at what they’re working with, there isn’t much there. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is flat out washed up. Looking at him at the start of the series, I saw a skilled big man that can rebound, post up, and shoot from the outside. What I saw from him in the past four games was a slow old man that has no will to compete and balky knees that prevent him from being effective. Joe Smith is not what he once was. He was never a great player, but he has had his moments, just not this year. Anderson Varejao is a very good player. I personally don’t like him, but he fills a role very well. Unfortunately, he is being forced to do his role and then some. He is providing all of the interior defense and still being expected to provide some scoring. He’s never going to be a big time scorer. If they were to ask him to just rebound, block shots, and defend, he’d be stellar, but he’s not. Finally, it’s become very apparent that Ben Wallace is past his basketball expiration date. Enough talk about him. Cleveland needs a big time down low scorer. That truly is what separates them from the rest of the elite team, they don’t have that guy that they can throw the ball to down low so LeBron can take a possession off, every now and then. Aside from that, LeBron penetration should make your frontcourt devastating; a guy with a couple decent moves would flourish with LeBron getting him the ball in good position. They have Darnell Jackson and JJ Hickson on their bench developing, but neither of them are explosive scorers. With the $13 million contract of Wally Szczerbiak coming off the books, they will have a good amount of room to pursue a nice low post scorer this summer. Someone like Jermaine O’Neal or Carlos Boozer would be an awesome addition to go with LeBron.
Now, on to something more positive; where I was right. I am still right about Stan Van Gundy not being a good coach. All of a sudden, everyone assumes that just because he got his team up to 3-1, that he is a good coach. That is not necessarily true. Shaq Diesel once called Stan Van the Master of Panic. I still have not seen something that changes my mind about that. Great coaches not only get their teams out to leads, but they overcome deficits. Getting out to this lead does not prove anything. So far in this post season, he put away Philadelphia, edged out an old Boston team, and now has got Cleveland down 3-1. He still has not showed me anything. He still cannot slow down, let alone stop LeBron. The Magic were even unable to stop the gunners of Cleveland tonight. Once Stan Van finds adversity and completely brings his team back, then people can say that he has shed the Master of Panic role, but for now, all I see is a frightened coach who’s players pretty much coach themselves.

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