The Cavs are Back, with Flashes of the 2007 Cavs
This Cavs Team reminds me of the 2007 NBA Finals Cavaliers… and that’s a good thing.
Let’s drill down on this. Mobley is for all intents and purposes the Lebron James (or if you prefer, "the star to be") of this situation, Mobley still has a long way to go before he’s on Lebron’s level but he’s a young kid still with one of the highest upsides out of anyone from last year’s draft. I love what he’s done so far and what he’s brought to the team.
I wish Sexton was healthy because I think that he was just starting to get his footing with this group while at the shooting guard position and Garland handling the point. Sexton is the Daniel Gibson and Garland is Larry Hughes or Eric Snow.
Why Both Teams Were Successful
These Cavs teams both in 2007 and this year in 2021-22 were made by playing “tall ball” or predominantly relying on the forwards and centers to do most of the heavy lifting (see Lebron as example A). Young Anderson Varejao, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (when he had hair), Dwayne Jones, Donyell Marshall, Scot Pollard, Ira Newble and Drew Gooden (talk about names you haven’t heard in years) was your front court. Varejao, Zydrunas and Dwayne Jones were your three tallest players two of which were on the younger side of the age bracket. Even Drew Gooden was 25 at the time.
Both teams play team basketball too. From what I remembered about the Cavs team of 2007 is they were underdogs and needed to play team basketball to be successful against the Pistons and the other big guns of the East. Yes, they had HUGE performances from Lebron in Game Five (the game where he famously scored 48 points, 29 of his 48 in the fourth quarter and overtime periods, the Cavs last 25 points, the last 11 field goals and 29 of the last 30 Cavalier points) and Daniel Gibson in the second half of the clinching game back here in Cleveland in Game Six but by and large, they did play team basketball.
This 2021-22 Cavs team has fully bought into the tall ball and team play. None of these players blow me away (yet). I’ll continue to sing Mobley’s praises, there’s no doubt about that. I think the veteran presence of Ricky Rubio has been what this team has needed and since K-Love and Rubio played together and got on well, he’s a guy for Kevin to lean into and Rubio can be that voice of reason and that person to keep Love calm which is what was missing last year (along with a few other things).
Mike Brown is often a forgettable name but Mike Brown is a dude that knew how to preach team play and that quality is replicated in whatever JB Bickerstaff is doing right now. Should the Cavs be a top three team in the conference, give that man NBA Coach of the Year, end of story. JB has found what makes his team click and rolls with it, he knows that there’s no hiding what the identity of this team should be and he’s leaned into it.
That brings me to Jarrett Allen, Lauri Markkanen, and Evan Mobley. As a person who called into a local radio show and called these guys “Tower City.” He’s exactly right. Good freaking luck scoring inside in the paint, these dudes got it on lock. I love how well Markkanen has adjusted to the offense and has found a way to get in where he fits in. Mobley as I’ve mentioned has been great, and Jarrett Allen is ELITE. Let me say that again: JARRETT ALLEN IS ELITE. He’s played at a level that rivals the best centers to this point, he averages 17.3 points and 11 rebounds a game. He’s a walking double double machine. Offensively, Allen’s numbers across the board have seen a noticeable uptick and a welcome uptick in production.
This Cavs Team Outruns Other NBA Teams
Lastly, the Cavs can run the floor too. They are young, hungry and love to run. The big men the Cavs have starting (Mobley, Markkanen, Allen) are 20, 24 and 23 respectively. That’s also a testament to how hard the Cavs work at their practice facility in Independence. They’re in the shape to run the floor at any given chance, and if they force turnovers, they love lobbing the ball and making those momentum plays. Lobs to Allen and Mobley and Markkanen give energy to everyone on the team and that energy is infectious. It’s seeped into the fanbase and myself as well. THE CAVS ARE BACK! Let ‘Em Know!
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