Most things about life are less terrible than the Cavaliers

January 19th, 2011 by John Krolik

The Cavs are one game away from the official midway point of the season. Normally, this is the point where I would try and compare all the good things about the Cavaliers to all the bad things about the Cavaliers and see how they do or don’t even out. However, seeing as to how the 2010-11 Cavaliers are playing historically terrible basketball and are a miserable wasteland where all that is good and happy comes to perish, I’ve decided to try and measure all the bad things about the Cavaliers with all the good things about the rest of the world and see who wins. Without further ado:

Bad thing about the Cavaliers:

I’m looking at the Synergy data on the Cavs’ defense, and dear lord it is horrifying. The Cavs are giving up an average of .95 points per possession, which is dead last in the league. They are giving up .97 points per possession in isolation situations, which is dead last in the league. They are giving up .94 points per possession to the ballhandler in pick-and-roll situations, which is dead last in the league. Essentially, if you have the ball, a live dribble, and the intention to score, the Cavaliers have no idea how to stop you.

Good thing about the Earth:

Puppies!

Bad thing about the Cavaliers:

Seriously, though, the Cavalier defense is unbelievably terrible. They are giving up 1.09 points per possession in spot-up situations, which is dead last in the league. Spot-up shooters make 42% of their spot-up threes against the Cavaliers, which is actually better than the Cavs defend the three in all other situations. Given the choice to stop penetration or protect the three-point line, the Cavs have decided to do neither. The only thing keeping you from getting the shot you want against the Cavalier defense is your imagination.

Good thing about the Earth:

Alison Brie on Community.

That clip is everything good and bad about the internet: after watching that episode for the first time (I’m catching up on the show right now), I YouTubed “Alison Brie gravy train” and that video was the first thing to come up. That’s amazing. On the other hand, the video was uploaded by a one “Sexwithturtles,” and the comments are fairly a fairly saddening exploration of what human discourse becomes when anonymity is granted. Goddamnit, people on the internet. At least use capital letters or something.

Bad thing about the Cavaliers:

The only thing the Cavs do well defensively is guard the post — they give up .81 points per post-up possession, which is the sixth-best mark in the league. They’re also the 13th-best team in the league at defending the roll man on pick-and-rolls. Both of those things are almost entirely because of Anderson Varejao, who is out for the year.

Good thing about life:

I don’t know, sunsets or something. This is going to be harder than I thought.

Bad thing about the Cavaliers:

The Cavaliers are also terrible at offense. They score .88 points per possession, which ranks them 28th out of 30 teams. They are the worst team in basketball in isolation, but when they do manage to get out and run, they average less points per transition possession than any other team. Wait, both of things are terrible.

Good thing about life:

Every time I see Mike Brown on ESPN, I think about the end of Frost/Nixon and imagine Mike Brown telling Byron Scott “Perhaps I should have been the hard-hitting journalist and you should have been the coach of a LeBron James team. Also, I don’t regret not playing J.J. Hickson more against Boston. He sucks. He SUCKS. I want you to put that ON MY TOMBSTONE,” while Scott smiles and awkwardly shuffles away with the other girl from Vicky Christina Barcelona.

I know that Byron Scott can coach, but it is outstanding how Scott has been completely impervious to criticism while stoically watching the worst team in basketball than Mike Brown was for grimacing at the team with the best regular-season record in the league. Armchair coaching has gone from “On a team populated with LeBron James and guys who can’t create their own shots, why does the offense go through LeBron on nearly every play! There is nothing about that strategy that makes fundamental sense on a very basic level!” to “Well, if NBA players are going to make the wide-open threes this defense allows on a nightly basis, it’s pretty clear that a loss was an inevitable act of God.”

Bad thing about the Cavaliers:

Mo Williams scores .66 points per possession in isolation and as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll situations, and gives up .87 and .95 points per possession on those same situations on defense. Good lord, he is a victim of the Peter Principle.

Good thing about life:

The Strokes.

Bad thing about the Cavaliers:

Ramon Sessions gives up 1.15 points per possession in isolation situations. I didn’t even know that was possible. Also, Antawn Jamison gives up 1.06 points per possession in isolation, 1.14 points when defending the roll man, and 1.11 points when his man spots up for a jumper. I’m not sure if Antawn Jamison could successfully defend a woman’s right to vote.

Good thing about life:

I can’t put this clip in here since it involves a man who was eaten by a bear dropping repeated F-bombs on the park service for not doing enough to defend the bears, but everything about this Timothy Treadwell rant narrated by Werner Herzog is amazing. I demand Werner Herzog narration on professional coach rants immediately. “It is here that Van Gundy crosses a line with Rashard Lewis that I will not cross. He attacks the power forward who took him to the NBA finals. It is clear to me that Lewis’ lazy rotations and passive offense are not Van Gundy’s real enemy here. There is a larger adversary out there — the rest of the NBA’s belief in strict positional definitions and mid-range shots. It is here that his rage becomes incandescent. (I know Lewis doesn’t play for the Magic anymore, but I couldn’t imagine who else that rant could have been about.)

Also, sometimes I imagine Mike Brown wrapping up the season politely in his video diary before getting fired, then totally losing it and going on a Treadwell-like rant. “I did it. I won home-court advantage. I protected the paint. Defensive rotations rule. Mike Brown conquered. F**k Inside the NBA.” I think about cathartic Mike Brown rants more than most people do.

Bad thing about the Cavaliers:

Of course the Cavaliers are all but guaranteed to have the worst record in the league in a year with a weak projected draft that top prospects might not even come out for because of the lockout.

Good thing about life:

There’s always Jimmer Fredette. That’s all I have for now. This is a picture of a kitten. Soon the Cavs will play again.

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