Cleveland Cavaliers shouldn’t feel pressured to feature players in pre-season


It’s the pre-season, but fans already can’t get enough of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ “Big 3.” LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have all attracted so much attention already, and only two pre-season games have been played. However, during the team’s final practice before they left for Rio de Janeiro to play against the Miami Heat, Anderson Varejao stepped on Irving’s foot, putting him in a walking boot. Irving did not play against the Heat, and Cavs coach David Blatt is hinting that he likely won’t play in the team’s pre-season matches on Tuesday and Wednesday. That means fans attending a non-competitive match between NBA players won’t be able to see the completed product of Cleveland’s new trifecta. Blatt hinted that Irving could return on Friday, however.

Another Cleveland Cavaliers’ star could be missing time this upcoming week as well. During the first couple of practices LeBron James mentioned that his back had been bothering him and that he would take it easy if need be according to a report from Sam Amico of Fox Sports. James said he is doing fine, but he wants to be cautious in monitoring his back issues. It’s the pre-season; there’s no reason for the 29-year old to risk anything at this stage in his career. LeBron spoke at practice on Monday about sitting out one of the back-to-backs on Tuesday and Wednesday but he has not decided which one yet. That means one of the two upcoming games will be deprived of both Irving and James.

Besides from fans not getting a first glance at the newest assembly of superstars, other concerns stem from the Cleveland Cavaliers not putting in enough time for chemistry in the pre-season to be ready for the regular season. Five pre-season games remain, and, at the earliest, Kyrie will returning with three left before the season opener against the New York Knicks on October 30. The Cleveland Cavaliers are only returning five familiar faces from the 2013-14 season. The team chemistry will need to be worked on, a lot, and there have already been some cases of habits that won’t work with the new Cleveland Cavaliers. The early concern from fans regarding the stars not seeing sufficient time on the court together might be a little exaggerated, but nothing is going to be given to this team without them fully functioning as a unit.

Fans shouldn’t be concerned that they’re going to be missing out on seeing the most intriguing trio in the NBA; they’re going to have many looks this season. Long-term success is more important than showcasing your talented players in an exhibition. Although team chemistry is also very important in developing a championship team, taking precautions in games that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things is the most logical method.

It should be nice to see Delly get some minutes as the starting point guard; no backup has stood out thus far as having a chance in making the 12-man roster. Although the Aussie isn’t known as being a ball handler, he has the skills and court vision to provide solid backup minutes and he has the option to hand the ball to Dion Waiters, who has experience with handling the ball as well. The only problem with the second option is that Waiters hasn’t adapted to the new style of sharing that Blatt is implementing in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ offense. That means we should see plenty of Delly taking the ball up the court and getting solid work in with the starting Cleveland veterans.

Injuries suck, but they also present opportunities. Dellavedova will get much-needed experience as the primary point guard. Kyrie is a proven player and he will be able to adapt quickly, as he has shown, to playing next to Love and LeBron. Fans should just be happy that the team is out to protect its stars and that nothing was in nature serious. There is no reason that these players should be expected to play in exhibitions when they are hurt and have close to or more than 100 games to play in a season.