The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to pick up Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut; will those two tip the balance of power back to The Land?
It’s a forgone conclusion among NBA pundits and fans alike that the Golden State Warriors are the best team in basketball. A roster with very few significant flaws, Golden State have steamrolled their way to the league’s best record.
If we were to nitpick, however, one could argue that the roster is rather top-heavy. A starting lineup that features four NBA All-Stars is backed up by a less than stellar bench.
But we all saw this coming.
In the moves that were made in order the make room for Kevin Durant this past summer, the once balanced Warriors gave up some key bench players to make room for the Oklahoma City star. We knew that if a team was going to upend the Dubs, it’d be because of their second unit.
Which is why Cleveland’s latest acquisitions, Deron Williams and (presumably) Andrew Bogut, could potentially tip the balance of power.
Deron Williams has already promised to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Andrew Bogut, who was just bought out, is expected to meet with contenders – Cleveland, Houston, Boston and San Antonio – before making a decision.
However, reports over the weekend suggested that he could join Deron Williams in Cleveland, too.
Cleveland Is Now Deep…Really Deep
So, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who made zero trade deadline day deals, may end up having two the most impactful acquisitions of the last month.
Assuming Kyle Korver keeps his spot, Cleveland’s projected playoff starters include Kyrie Irving, Korver (or J.R. Smith when he returns), LeBron James, Kevin Love (when he returns) and Tristan Thompson.
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While among the league’s best, they don’t quite stack up to Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia.
Which is why Cleveland’s midseason acquisitions are so vital. The Korver move adds a steady hand to start in place of the sometimes erratic J.R. Smith, or back him up. That also means whoever doesn’t start – Smith or Korver – will have the chance to give this team the occasional spark off the bench.
But great benches aren’t built on one player, just ask the LA Clippers. So, the additions of Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut give the Cavs one of the league’s best benches (on paper), and may tip the balance of power in the NBA.
The D-Will Upgrade
Right now Kay Felder backs up Kyrie Irving. That’s simply not good enough in the playoffs, especially against Golden State. After all, one of the biggest mismatches for Cleveland in last year’s Finals came at the backup PG slot. Shaun Livingston presents a problem on both ends, but a problem that Deron Williams can handle.
With an array of shooters around him, Williams has the ability to efficiently run an offense while incorporating his shooters, a task too tall for any non-starter currently on Cleveland’s roster. He fits the “playmaker” mold that LeBron and company have verbally expressed a desire for.
And when his shooters go cold, he can score the ball himself, as showcased by his 13 points per game average. While he likely won’t be guarding Livingston due to the height difference, he’ll be a massive upgrade regardless. Not bad for somebody who’ll be getting the veteran’s minimum.
Check out prime Deron control his offense through use of the pick-n-roll!
And who knows, he might even turn back the clock and form a pick-n-roll partnership with fellow new acquisition Andrew Bogut.
Bogus’s Hidden Value
Bogut, a former Warrior, was ousted from the Bay Area to make room for KD. But make no mistake, the Dubs miss him as much as anybody, and he may come back to bite in more ways than one.
His value was amplified for all to see in last year’s Finals. Once he went out in Game 5, the lane he once patrolled became a toll-free lane to the cup for LeBron and Kyrie.
But for as three-point heavy as Golden State is, he’ll still be a critical factor. Bogut’s value on defense will see him play significant minutes with the first team. While it’s true the Dubs do the majority of their work from the outside, having Tristan Thompson as the anchor in the middle is asking for trouble.
The driving ability of Kevin Durant and inside strength of Draymond Green will be limited due to Bogut. Not to mention that his presence with the second team bodes very well with the JaVale McGee situation, who, despite being an internet meme, presents significant matchup problems.
So while the Warriors may have the more talented roster, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ latest acquisitions may turn the tides completely.