One of the biggest surprises of this very short NBA season has been the improved play of the Cleveland Cavaliers. After posting the worst record in the league a year ago, this young club has been more than competitive this season and at 13-20, are just a few games out of the eight seed in the East.
The major reason for this improvement is number 1 draft pick Kyrie Irving. Irving, while no LeBron James, has exceeded expectations in his rookie season and is quickly getting noticed around the league for his stellar play. At only 19, Irving is on pace to easily snatch the rookie of the year award and will be a superstar in this league for a long time. With him leading the backcourt, the Cavs have been in nearly every game and could potentially make the push for a playoff spot.
But should they?
Ok, the experience of a playoff run could do wonders for this team but let's face facts here, they wouldn't get out of the first round with the team they have now. If they were to make the playoffs, they would be an eight seed and would have to face either the Chicago Bulls or the Miami Heat and while a Cavs-Heat matchup would be appealing in a lot of ways to the media, it's one Cleveland has no shot at winning.
No, what this team needs to do is to continue on it's rebuilding path, trade some of it's veteran assets for picks, and continue the rebuilding process for another year.
Think about it. With just the addition of Irving, and Tristan Thompson to a lesser degree, the Cavaliers have improved by leaps and bounds. Now, with the potential of another lottery pick in a draft that is considered one of the deepest ever, Cleveland has the potential to not only take another leap forward, but to follow in the mold of the Oklahoma City Thunder and secure it's young stars for years. They could have a team set for a decade of winning if they do this right.
Look, I'm not saying that the team should tank games, I think that sends the wrong kind of message to their young players, but I wouldn't make any moves to improve this team via trade other than receiving draft picks. Just hold out with the team that's their, maybe work a trade or two to improve draft positioning, and let the domino's fall where they will.
Two summers ago, when LeBron James left, the basketball world wrote of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the next five years at least, But, with some smart moves, the Cavs have shaved off some time on that and are in position to shorten that span even more with the right moves.
Here's hoping the organization continues to see the forest throughout the trees. A playoff run would be nice but a title would be nicer and the team would be closer to that if they don't make a run this year.