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2023-24 Regular Season Thread

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From The Athletic:

Nine of the 16 worst defensive seasons in NBA history are happening this season. NINE! The Wizards (120.6 points allowed per 100 possessions) and Hornets (120.3) are duking it out for the worst defense ever. The 2022-23 Spurs (120.0) hold that full-season honor.

This season’s Pacers can finish with both the best offense and worst defense in NBA history. This is what the NBA wants: Sex and scoring sells. It all makes some sense. The flip side is illustrated by the Timberwolves' league-leading defense (105.9 defensive rating) currently ranking just 516th all-time.

Some of this is influenced by the incredible skill development and talent of today’s players. Getting a hand up doesn’t cut it anymore, but the NBA doesn’t have many rules to help defenders. In other words, make sure you watch the Pacers all season. Good and bad records could fall at once.

If sex and scoring sells then why is the NBA mad at Giddey and Ime? LeBron was chasing Kareem and they’re chasing Wilt.
 
Somebody named Ethan Sands at cleveland.com had this column:


Garland missed a big chunk of camp and then the first five games of the regular season so I'm hoping his decrease in assists and increase in turnovers is just temporary. If it's not we're in trouble.

If not for Garland's eight turnovers and poor shooting we would have beat Portland last night. He wasn't the only culprit (Strus and Mitchell combined to go 2-for-15 from deep), but Darius has not been Darius this year.
I did not see the game but heard on radio they had a 16 point lead, then they collasped .That should not happen after you beat the Hawks by a ton...a team far better than Portland.
I have said all season they need to stop gunning 3's as if they're an excellent long distance shooting machine. They are not..but thats the coaches job, instead of saying it in front of the camera. tell your players .
 
I did not see the game but heard on radio they had a 16 point lead, then they collasped .That should not happen after you beat the Hawks by a ton...a team far better than Portland.
I have said all season they need to stop gunning 3's as if they're an excellent long distance shooting machine. They are not..but thats the coaches job, instead of saying it in front of the camera. tell your players .

Do we know that the coaches are not telling the players ?
 
Fedor with a column on a team meeting after "the worst loss of the season".


After repeatedly attacking the paint in the first quarter, piling up 20 points inside, the Cavs unnecessarily went away from that approach. They stopped sharing the ball and settled for outside shots -- oftentimes late in the clock. They attempted one free throw in the first 24 minutes -- on a defensive three-second technical. Despite seemingly having a distinct advantage underneath, and misfiring from the perimeter, the Cavs took 27 triples over the final three quarters. It turned into ugly isolation basketball, as Bickerstaff -- and the players -- failed to make proper adjustments...Bickerstaff used some funky, mostly ineffective rotations and lineups. He went just eight-deep. No Craig Porter Jr. No Tristan Thompson.

In addition to blaming Bickerstaff for not making "proper adjustments" and using "ineffective" rotations Fedor singled out Garland for special criticism, something I've rarely if ever seen him do.

Point guard Darius Garland, who now ranks second in turnovers behind Detroit youngster Cade Cunningham, played with a reckless nonchalance.

Garland committed a season-high-matching eight turnovers. The Cavs had 19 miscues as a team, which Portland turned into 23 points. Garland is supposed to be the proverbial head of the snake, one of the offensive engines. He is supposed to be better, more experienced, hardened by last year’s non-competitive playoff ouster against the New York bullies. That series was supposed to be a lesson -- on the importance of valuing every possession. At the season’s quarter pole, it seems like Garland didn’t learn a thing about that.


Fedor noted that the Blazers' bench badly outplayed the Cavs' bench and singled out Caris LeVert.

Sixth Man of the Year contender Caris LeVert finished with a season-low five points on 2 of 9 shooting. The Cavs were outscored by a staggering 17 points in his 26 unproductive minutes.

He also identified a big problem from last year that clearly has not been fixed despite efforts in the off-season.

The poor long-distance shooting on Thursday doesn’t feel like a one-night blip either. Even though the summer was spent hunting -- and adding -- capable snipers, Cleveland ranks 27th in 3-point percentage...

Before the game Fedor had the same view of the Cavs that I did and had been posting about.

The Cavs entered the night riding a two-game winning streak. They were 6-2 over the previous eight, including wins against a pair of NBA giants -- Denver and Philadelphia. They were coming off perhaps their most complete performance yet -- a 128-105 beatdown against Atlanta.

The vibes were good. The team was close to full strength. They were starting to better understand the nuances of this system while rediscovering their defensive identity. They were playing a team-first, selfless style -- similar to last year’s 51-win campaign. They seemed primed to go on a run, capitalizing on the favorable schedule.


Garland said the Cavs' were "lackadaisical". Mitchell echoed that.

“We did the right things and then we kind of got complacent and they never stopped,” Mitchell said. “We let our foot off the gas. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with a lot of different things and that’s what’s disappointing. Let them hang around and that’s on us. We’ve got to figure that out. We can’t mess around with the game.”

Yeah, it definitely looked like the Cavs got complacent after building a 16-point lead and started "messing around with the game".

We had spurts where it was easy. We were getting whatever we wanted. Then we would just divert from that. - Evan Mobley

The Cavs have a tough run coming up. After Detroit tonight the next five games are against tough opponents; Orlando, Miami, and Boston. All but the first game against Orlando are on the road. It's going to be a huge test. Mitchell says the Cavs will respond.

"We can either sit here and keep having this conversation or we can do something about it. I think we’ll do something about it. I know we will. I just talked to the guys in this group, in this locker room. It’s a turning point.”

They can start by getting a lead on 2-17 Detroit tonight and then "Keep our foot on their neck throughout the entire 48 minutes of the game and not let up", as Garland said.
 
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Was Mobley's comment a way of him saying "yeah, we were playing good until Mitchell and Garland started playing like selfish assholes".

I wonder at what point Mobley will give them all shit for the style of basketball they fall into? No longer being the young guy on the team. Imo, he should have more say in the locker room than Garland at this point.
 
Was Mobley's comment a way of him saying "yeah, we were playing good until Mitchell and Garland started playing like selfish assholes".

I wonder at what point Mobley will give them all shit for the style of basketball they fall into? No longer being the young guy on the team. Imo, he should have more say in the locker room than Garland at this point.
I'm wondering what he said in the team meeting.

To Garland and Mitchell's credit, they did take responsibility and admitted there is a problem rather than writing it off as "just a bad game".

Mitchell said that after the Cavs scored 20 points in the paint in the first period the Blazers adjusted by going to a switch-heavy defense and the Cavs failed to adjust back. He said other teams will take the same approach. If that happens the Cavs need to get the ball into the low post where Mobley or Allen will have a mismatch following a switch.

The good thing is that after tonight's game against Detroit the Cavs will have three days off to work on what needs to be fixed and for LeVert and Wade to get fully healthy (hopefully).

The big problems so far are 3-point shooting (they rank 26th despite adding Strus and Niang) and defensive rebounding (they rank 21st). They're very good at forcing missed shots (6th in opponents' effective field goal percentage), but bad at getting the rebound (74%). Allen and Mobley help out a lot in contesting shots, resulting in misses, but it leaves the opponents' big man in position for the putback. The Cavs need to be better at contesting shots and forcing misses without getting help from Allen or Mobley.
 
So first Ethan Sands has a column pointing out how Garland is playing at a significantly lower level than last season. He's worse in shooting, assists, and turnovers. Then the following day, after the loss to Portland, Chris Fedor blasted him for playing "reckless" and "nonchalant". For the first time in his career the media is really criticizing him, and pretty harshly.

We'll see how Darius responds in these next five games against Orlando, Miami, and Boston. He was a little better against Detroit with just two turnovers and a +13. His shooting was not good (9-for-23) and he had just five assists, but he was better.
 
I cannot believe JBB just saved his job for the season and the Cabs season has been saved tonight with a win over the Pistons.
 
These next five games will be the toughest five-game stretch of the season. Two games in Boston against the Celtics, who are 9-0 at home. A road game against 11-9 Miami, who thrashed the Cavs in Cleveland. And two games against the 14-6 Orlando Magic.

The good news is they have three days off to work on some things in practice and to hopefully get Wade and LeVert healthy. Okoro is back and coming off a great game. Allen is playing very well with four double-doubles in his last seven games. He's shooting 69.2% on the season.

Donovan Mitchell has missed 16 of his last 19 three-point attempts. Since returning from his injury he's shooting 36.4% on a high shot volume and it's hurting the team. I don't know what's going on with that, but he needs to fix it over the next three days.

Darius Garland's three-point shooting on non-corner 3's, which is where he takes most of them, has declined from 41% last year to 32% this year. He needs to work on that this week as well as improving at not committing turnovers when he finds himself in a crowd of defenders.

cleaningtheglass.com has the Cavs 8th in defense and 23rd in offense in non-garbage time. Over the last two weeks they've been 1st in defense and 25th in offense. Obviously it's the offense that needs to improve, mainly Mitchell getting back to being an efficient scorer, especially from deep, and Garland reducing turnovers and finding his 3-point shot.

Caris LeVert ranks in the 9th percentile among wings in points per shot attempt at 102.1. He needs to get a lot better offensively. However, he makes things happen; the Cavs are 11 points better offensively with him on the floor (but 7.9 points worse defensively). LeVert is in the 88th percentile in assists per usage rate. He's at his best attacking the rim and passing off. He's only hitting 29% of his non-corner 3's and 32% overall. At this point in his career it's unrealistic to expect him to become a good shooter, but last year he hit 39% from deep. He's at 31% this year.

If Mitchell, Garland, and LeVert could improve their 3-point shooting it would really help improve the 23rd ranked offense. Just the three of them getting back to last year's figures would be fine. Mitchell is down over 4% from last year while Garland and LeVert are down almost 8%.
 
Actually they have one other brutal five-game stretch in mid-January where they play Milwaukee three times and Atlanta and Orlando on the road. Two of the three games against Milwaukee are on the road. But Boston and Orlando have better records than Milwaukee and Miami is better than Atlanta, so I still say these next five games are the toughest of the season.
 
From The Athletic:

Nine of the 16 worst defensive seasons in NBA history are happening this season. NINE! The Wizards (120.6 points allowed per 100 possessions) and Hornets (120.3) are duking it out for the worst defense ever. The 2022-23 Spurs (120.0) hold that full-season honor.

This season’s Pacers can finish with both the best offense and worst defense in NBA history. This is what the NBA wants: Sex and scoring sells. It all makes some sense. The flip side is illustrated by the Timberwolves' league-leading defense (105.9 defensive rating) currently ranking just 516th all-time.

Some of this is influenced by the incredible skill development and talent of today’s players. Getting a hand up doesn’t cut it anymore, but the NBA doesn’t have many rules to help defenders. In other words, make sure you watch the Pacers all season. Good and bad records could fall at once.

I mean the influx of shooting is the primary reason for this and will continue to be the reason the numbers rise. It's harder to play defense when everyone on the opposing team can shoot from distance.

Eventually, hopefully, the NBA moves the line back a bit and brings back some more nuanced back to the basket play.

As of right now, it's just not an efficient way to play.
 
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