Are the Cleveland Cavaliers Missing a Big Man?
The Golden State Warriors are the bourgeoisie of the NBA. From a Birdseye view, the Warriors look
down on its NBA Kingdom with pride. The Warriors have established a profound style that has placed the rest of the NBA in state of confusion that hasn’t been seen since the Tower of Babel. This unique style of play has created Warrior Paranoia for the rest of the NBA particularly for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the NBA trade deadline around the corner the Cleveland Cavaliers should take serious consideration in trading for Greg Monroe.
LeBron James returned to his native Northeast Ohio with the plan of ending the City of Cleveland’s long championship drought. However the Warriors have other plans. The Warriors plan on defending their title and silencing their critics.
Contrasting Styles Make Fights
The rest of the NBA hasn’t adjusted to the Warriors fast pace small-ball approach. The Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks are two teams that have given the Warriors trouble in two of their four losses this season. The Bucks fiercely competed against the Warriors in both regular season matchups. What do both of those teams have in common? Each team has a skilled big man that could score. Teams with skilled big men surrounded by shooters can really apply pressure to the interior of the Warriors’ defense.
The Warriors Defensive Analytical Approach
The NBA is devoid of NBA big men that can score in the post, which really plays into the hands of the Warriors. They can’t be beat from the perimeter. Perimeter shots lead to easy transition buckets and open looks for the Warriors offensively. The Warriors really take an analytical approach to defense. Shots from 15 feet and in are aggressively contested. Not aggressively contested from outside 15 feet.
Let’s rewind back to the December 12, 2015 matchup between the Warriors and Bucks that netted the Warriors their first loss of the season. Greg Monroe scored 28 points, the Bucks scored 60 points in the paint, and Monroe was 11-17 from the field and totaled 11 Rebounds. Subsequently let’s look at another team that defeated the Golden State Warriors that possesses a skilled big man, the Detroit Pistons. On January 16, 2016 the Detroit Pistons defeated the Golden State Warriors by pushing the ball inside and pushing the ball back out. Andre Drummond did not have the statistically efficient game that Monroe had in December, but his 14 points on 20 shots along with 21 rebounds was effective enough to lead his team to victory.
Having a big man alone is not the recipe for success against the Warriors. Both the Pistons and Bucks have legitimate point guards and wing scores that can hit shots, but when needed they were able to control tempo, control the paint and get points from inside when needed, which positively affected their teams respectively.
Until this point, Kevin Love has not proven to be the consistent interior scoring presence or three point marks man the Cavaliers hoped they were acquiring when they traded number one overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Love.
Love averages 7.1 (2) points shot attempts per game. 125 FGA at the rim 52%; 124 FGA at 3 to 10 ft;(47) FGA 10 to 16 ft; 16ft to 3pt (65) 38%; 3pt (288) FGA 36% completion. Dunks (17) 88%; Hook Shots; (59) attempts 57%; (464) Jump Shot 36% Lay-up (109) 47%.
Comparatively, Greg Monroe averages 13(2) Field Goal Attempts. Greg Monroe has attempted (355) FGA at the rim 60%. On shots of 3 to 10 ft (223) FGA 45%; 10 to 16 ft (48) FGA 35%; 16 ft to 3 pt (35) FGA 45%. Dunks (14) FGA 92%; Hook shot (146) Attempts 52% conversion; jump shot (183) FGA; Layups (318) 59.7 conversion.
Looking at the numbers the volume of interior shots, variation of interior shots and efficiency is superior with Monroe.
I am not making a case that the Cavs should trade Kevin Love for Greg Monroe. It would be wise for the Cavaliers to acquire Monroe if he is truly is available. Tristan Thompson is not an offensive threat. Defenses don’t pay attention to Thompson on the offensive end that’s part of the reason he is such a prolific offensive rebounder. You can make the claim that Thompson and Varejao are very similar players and the Cavaliers have misappropriated funds between Love, Thompson and Varejao. For now, let’s give Love a reprieve and assess Thompson and Varejao. Between the contracts of Thompson ($14,260,000) and Varejao (9,700,000) the Cavaliers have clearly invested more money in the position than it needed. If you are going to invest that amount of money in that position, invest in a player that can score. Invest in a player that can bring a different dimension to this team. A wing player will help, but a wing player alone won’t provide enough water to break the championship drought.