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Cavs Welcome Back Z

March 23, 2010

I last wrote the night of the Antawn Jamison acquisition. I decided that as long as Z had to be away from the team, so should now. Now Z is back. Thank God. I missed him. Everyone missed him. Even though everyone knew it was a temporary hiatus, it was eerie to not see the Gentle Giant with the team. Now all is right with the world. Let's talk Cavs.

This team is just ridiculous.

Seriously it is.

There is really no need to delve into the absurdity that is LeBron James. You can find a new hyperbole every day for him. My favorite one of today comes from my favorite writer, ESPN.com's Bill Simmons from his Retro Running Diary posted today:

"11:37: Off a Manu Ginobili miss, Durant (37 points already!) goes coast-to-coast for a layup. He's a starter on the "That Guy's Moving a Lot Faster Than You Realize" team. The captain, obviously, is LeBron: the only guy in the league who actually makes the court shrink in size when he's going full speed."

That's really only hyperbole because I don't think physics allows it. I dunno though. LeBron moves awfully fast going baseline-to-baseline for that distance to really be 94 feet...

Look at this team though. Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison can get you 20 any night. Shaq can still give you 12-18 if needed. J.J. can get into double digits. Delonte West can score in the high teens without a problem. Big Z is still good for 10-12 if needed. Andy and Jawad can even get into double figures rather easily. The point is, on any given night there are plenty of people besides King James who can score points for the Cavs.

Wait, it gets better.

If it isn't a big scoring night for one of the above players, they can all easily bring more to the table (and usually do, even if they are scoring). This team is totally unselfish. In a basketball culture that encourages "look at me" plays and moments and big shots from AAU on, the Cavs have assembled a team that from top to bottom only cares about winning. That means they all share the ball, rebound, play defense, hustle after looks balls, and back each other up on the floor. The Cavs never play me-first basketball. No one on the team does. Ever. The closest it gets is when LeBron goes into his "I'm the best player in the world and I need to score now" mode. He only does that when the Cavs absolutely need a basket to help win the game though. LeBron's natural instinct is team basketball. So even that, in a way, is unselfish.

So what is coming up for this super team? Well, they appear to be cruising to the best record in the NBA. The first round should be fodder. Even in an improved East, the 8 seed is still going to be garbage. I think it will be Toronto. I think the Cavs win in 4. I think the series is more going to be about getting Shaq used to playing with Antawn as much as anything.

And then what?

It doesn't really matter. The Cavs are equipped to deal with anything and play against anyone. Basketball in the 21st century is about getting a team that fits together. Yes, you need a superstar. However, it is about pieces fitting together nowadays. Look at the 2004 Men's Olympic Basketball Team. Far and away the most talented squad at that tournament, but they came away in third place. Why? The U.S. just piled a bunch of talent together without regard to how the pieces fit. In the NBA, it is even more important to fit player's games together. That's why adding two big time players and surrounding them with random garbage (yep, I'm looking at you Knicks) isn't going to get a team very far. You also need to play team basketball on both ends of the floors, offense and defense are needed to win playoff games and series (looking right at the Nash Suns and Mike D'Antoni). This Cavs team is built to do it all. They can succeed in every facet of the game in any style of play.

I'm really looking forward to that parade in June.

Jack Bacevice

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