I think the Cavs are good. I know that isn’t a very controversial thing to say at the moment; they are 28-10 and are in first place in the Eastern Conference.
But, my take on the Cavs is slightly controversial, because I think that LeBron’s teammates are actually pretty good. In fact, I’m tired of people blaming his teammates when his team fails to win a championship, and continuing to treat LeBron like he’s the Second Coming. I’ve already blogged elsewhere that I think people give LeBron too much credit, in comparison to other superstars that people are generally harder on (here and here).
Look at Cleveland’s big men. I know that Shaq, Z, and Varejo each have their limitations. But, still, that’s got to be one of the best groups of 3 big men in the league. Ilgauskas is consistently underrated. As recently as Sunday, Varejo had the best “plus-minus” number in the ENTIRE LEAGUE. And the old, slow version of Shaq that they roll out on the court every night is still Shaq.
The Lakers have a better group of big men. So do the Spurs, and the Celtics. I’ll even give you the Hawks, the Magic, and the Mavs. But that’s probably it.
In terms of guards, Mo Williams was an All-Star last year, and continues to be one of the better scoring guards in the league. He’s averaging 17 points and 5 assists. Delonte West and Daniel Gibson are pretty solid as far as guards coming off the bench go.
I’m not saying that anyone would confuse the Cavs without LeBron for the Dream Team. I’m just saying that, as far as supporting casts for superstars go, that is a pretty solid one. Now that they’re 28-10, I hope we can all agree that it’s a solid team. If they don’t make some serious noise in the playoffs, I hope we can all agree not to continue making excuses for LeBron that we don’t make for other superstars. His teammates are good enough to go 28-10, and they’re good enough to win a championship. If LeBron doesn’t lead them to one, people shouldn’t make excuses for him.