Too much dependability on LeBron James has put the Cavs in trouble
Love him or hate him, one thing is certain: LeBron James has been one of the best players of his generation.
Since his grand arrival and second homecoming to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he has been the heart and soul of the Cavs and has been rewriting the NBA history books since then. He has successfully led his team to a championship back in 2016 when the Cavs beat the heavily-favored Golden State Warriors who didn't help themselves when they blew a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals. The Cavs did return to the Finals last season but bowed down to the Warriors anew in just 5 games.
This season, things have not been so good with LeBron James and the Cavs. They started off by losing Kyrie Irving who demanded and was granted a trade to the Boston Celtics in exchange for players that included a problematic Isaiah Thomas who was still recovering from his injury at the time that the trade happened. Sure, they had some nice games. After all, Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade joined the Cavs, too. However, the lack of chemistry has doomed the Cavs as they are not leading the Eastern Conference- something that they have done so easily during the last 3 seasons.
Then, Kevin Love got injured. Again. On the night of the trade deadline, the Cavs traded 6 players (including Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade and yes, Isaiah Thomas) in exchange for 4 younger players. At the start, the trade appeared to be working the wonders for the Cavs as they went 2-0 before heading into the All-Star break. Then, the Cavs started the second half of the season by going 1-2 with their latest defeat coming from the hands of the San Antonio Spurs who still won despite not having Kawhi Leonard around.
The Dependability Problem
What was the one problem that doomed the Cavs against the Spurs and in any other games that Cleveland has dropped this season?
They are depending on LeBron James to bail them out, every single game.
If you've seen the game between the Cavs and the Spurs, LeBron James was guarded by multiple guys and Gregg Popovich made the adjustment by frequently switching the guys who guarded LeBron to make sure he cannot take down his defender. While that didn't seem to work as the King almost got a triple-double on top of his 33 points, there was no significant reinforcement that was provided by the rest of the Cavs as only 2 players (Jeff Green and Jordan Clarkson) were able to score in double figures.
This dependability issue has made the Cavs so much predictable as said by their own coach, Tyronn Lue. In fact, Lue has been working on implementing new sets of offensive plays during practices in hopes that the Cavs can catch the defense, off-balance- without heavily relying on LeBron. Will this work? We'll have to watch the Cavs play to find out.
Regardless of how great you are as a basketball player, you will need all the help that you can get from your teammates. And clearly, LeBron James needs the help of his team especially now that Kevin Love is still out. After all, LeBron James is already at the age of 33 years-old. He might have been able to keep himself away from any serious injury but if the Cavs will continue on their habit of relying on LeBron to bail them out especially during clutch situations, things might get serious.