For anyone who thought the Cavs got better following the deadline deal to acquire Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West, they should spend a few minutes watching Thursday nights Cavs, Wizards game. In fact, every coach in the NBA should watch the game to understand how to defend the Cavs.
The Wizards made life impossible for LeBron on the offensive end last night. Due to the offensive deficiencies of Ben Wallace, Washington was able to rotate Wallace’s defender (in this case Jamison) off of him and double team LeBron each time he looked to make a move. It was border line embarrassing that a former All-Star is that inept offensively that an NBA team could pay so little attention to their offensive game, but it worked to perfection.
With LeBron worrying about how to blow past two defenders and Washington making it so difficult for LBJ to get into the paint, the Wizards took advantage. On the rare occasions when LeBron penetrated and settled for dishing off to Wallace, Big Ben was just looking for the closest guy to kick the ball back out too. With range that doesn’t extend past the dotted lines, Wallace provides little threat for the opposition.
The +/- numbers even validate this claim: Wallace was the only starter that the Cavs lost points, while he was on the court… Wallace -6 and the second closest starter was +3.
With Zydrunas Ilgauskas out with an injury and Drew Gooden now playing for Chicago, the Cavs are currently without a big man who can knock down the medium range shot. The Cavs might have added bigger names to their roster with the deadline trades, but there is no way they became a better team.
LeBron has big shoulders, but with Big Ben bringing him down, it could prove to be too much of a load to carry.