When you make a splash at the trade deadline like the Cleveland Cavaliers did, it's uncharted territory for any analyst, or Gamecaster, to try and wrap their head around. How do you take six players out of a rotation that is expected to, at the very least, compete at the top of the Eastern Conference? All of this after trading your clear-cut second superstar to your biggest competitor in the off-season. It's been a weird run for the Cavs, but what do they really have to lose? Clearly the pre-deadline roster wasn't going to compete with the Warriors (or Rockets) anyway. However, while people go into matching up positions, and figuring out pontential key points in a playoff series that may or may not happen, we at SnapCall Sports like to take the kind of approach that vould help you have a real grasp on how to predict the action. After all, that is our business.
Here are roster changes (picks aside, just talking on-court impact here), for the Cavs:
Larry Nance Jr.
More importantly, here is how it will impact the Cavs on the court, and how you should view them moving forward as you try to predict how the rest of the season will go:
3-POINT SHOOTING: Mostly a wash since Thomas wasn't shooting well anyway, and Hood could be the best shooter of the entire bunch when playing with LeBron.
PASSING: Dramatic improvement. Sending out iso-scorers like Thomas, Wade, and Rose, will help the ball move much more freely. Hill slides in as an easy pairing to start with LeBron since he doesn't necessarily need to be ball dominant to succeed.
OVERALL SCORING: Decrased. No doubt about this one, the idea was surely to sacrifice some offense for defense. Again, Thomas was meant to replace Kyrie, but really wasn't doing that anyway, so it makes this pill easier to swallow for Cleveland.
PERIMETER DEFENSE: Moderate improvement. Losing Isaiah Thomas makes you infinitely better to begin with. Clarkson is at-worst an average defender, and Hill is a veteran who knows his way around. Losing Crowder could hurt, but he wasn't fitting in the rotation anyway.
POST-DEFENSE: Dramatic improvement. Larry Nance Jr. suddenly could become the second best player on the Cavaliers. Who would have thought? Cleveland lost absolutely nothing in this department, while gaining toughness, hustle, and absurd leaping ability in Nance.
ATHLETECISM: Building off the last point, this is the biggest improvement for the Cavs. They were old and slow, and while they were still able to play efficiently on offense, that alone was not going to get them wins. If these younger players buy in and keep the ball moving, while letting LeBron direct traffic, they'll have enough open layups to make up for any loss in individual offensive talent. Just imagine the alley oops from LeBron to Nance. Isn't that worth it alone?
When you start to think about it this way, you can see hope for the playoffs.
The downside is that this team has under 30 games remaining to get themselves ready for a tough post-season, and most of that will have to be played without Kevin Love.
So did the Cavaliers improve? No doubt about it. Did they improve enough to be willing to part with their draft pick? Probably. How will that have a game-to-game and minute-to-minute impact on the court? Well that will be for you to decide, as we take the opportunity to spotlight the new-look Cavs as much as possible down the stretch of the pro basketball season on SnapCall Sports.
For now, as the dust settles on the deadline, don't forget to pop into the SWX/THQ Sports channel for daily Olympic coverage from 10pm ET-11pm ET each and every night. Finish as the top scorer in any of the Olympic Free-4-All rooms, and earn yourself a prize! Finish as the top overall COMBINED scorer in the Olympics, and you'll get the GRAND PRIZE of a $200 Visa Gift Card! The only way to win is to get in the game.