Isaiah Thomas Should Become A Spot Up Shooter With The Cleveland Cavaliers 

Throughout last night, there were several reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers had acquired Isaiah Thomas from the Boston Celtics. According to ESPN, “The Boston Celtics have acquired All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers for point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 unprotected first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick”. Although Thomas joining the team seems like a move that would help them; reach the finals to beat the Warriors, that is not the case.

During the past seven seasons, teams who obtained the services of Lebron have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. However, on occasion, the Cavaliers will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

As a result of Lebron needing to use the entire floor to be effective, Isaiah Thomas will be forced to significantly change his skill set and solely become a spot up shooter. Throughout his basketball career, Isaiah Thomas has been described as the type of player who likes to have the ball in his hands constantly. According to Draft Express, Isaiah had the reputation of “holding onto the ball and over-dribbling at times” during his tenure at the University of Washington. As a result of this, Thomas needs to be on a team where he would be the primary ball handler; and is allowed to analyze the defense to determine what is the right play. For instance, the traditional pick and roll offense would be an ideal system for him because he can bring the ball up to the three-point line and ask for a screen. Once the pick was set Isaiah can pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Thomas can go over it and take the open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Isaiah can go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he can score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

However, the pick and roll aspect of Isaiah’s game will be taken away in Cleveland due to the playing style of Lebron. As a result, the acquisition of Isaiah Thomas is not going to change the outlook for next year as they will still reach the finals and will be the underdogs against the Warriors.

The Cleveland Cavaliers Shouldn’t Acquire Chris Paul And/Or Carmelo Anthony

Over the last couple of days, some NBA media members have started to speculate that if the Cleveland Cavaliers lose the finals, they could look into acquiring Chris Paul and/or Carmelo Anthony. During an interview on “The Jim Rome Show”, ESPN’s Chris Haynes stated that the potential Carmelo to Cleveland trade “definitely could resurface, because it’s at this point, if the Cavaliers feel… a Carmelo-Kevin Love swap and just see what could happen”. Furthermore, he also stated that the Cavs could add Paul “because there’s always been talk about Chris Paul and LeBron James teaming up at some point.” Although the concept of acquiring Chris Paul and/or Carmelo Anthony may seem appealing to some media members, it is one of the worse moves the Cavs could ever make.

Throughout the past three seasons, the Cavaliers have incorporated an offensive system that is meant to showcase Lebron’s ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. However, on occasion, the Cavaliers will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

As a result, the Cavs need surround LeBron with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. Unfortunately, neither Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony fall under this criteria; Paul has been described as the type of player who constantly dribbles the ball as he tries to analyze what the opposing team is doing and where to pass the ball. In fact, during an interview on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, his former Clipper teammate Glen “Big Baby” Davis accused him of dribbling too much; stating that Paul “has his way about himself. ‘I’m Chris Paul, give me the ball, I’m gonna dribble, dribble… I’ll shoot”. As a result, any team that was to sign Paul would need to implement an offensive system similar to the Los Angeles Clippers. For instance, Paul would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set Paul would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Paul would go over it and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Paul would go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he would score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

On the other hand, Carmelo has been described as the type of player who only wants to win games if he is seen as the centerpiece of the team. For instance, according to an ESPN the Magazine, he was angry that Jeremy Lin was getting all the attention from the fans and media for leading the team on a winning streak while he was out with a groin injury. In fact, sources close to many Knick players said: “Carmelo’s dream was to go to New York and be the man…….. and all of a sudden this little guy nobody’s ever heard of is living his dream”. As a result, for Carmelo to waive his no-trade clause, a team would need to tell him that he would be the primary offensive option. If a team were to keep this promise, they would have to implement an offensive system that is heavily dependent on isolation basketball. For instance, the team would have Carmelo post up in the mid to low block which would allow him to use his body to back up the defender thus creating the separation for the turn around jumper. Although Carmelo likes to post up, there are occasions when he will receive the ball on the perimeter and call for the screen. Once the screen is set, he will attempt to go over it and shoot the jumper. This type of system would give him an opportunity to put up big offensive numbers which would lead the media and fans to heap praise upon him because they only pay attention to the offensive side of the floor. While this system is beneficial for him, his teammates have a difficult time getting wide open shots. This is because Carmelo rarely attacks the basket which means a defender has to cover less ground to get back to his man if he decides to help on Carmelo.

In conclusion, all of these players are used to having the ball in their hands for a significant amount of time. As a result, they would need at least one season to figure out where everyone is supposed to be on the court and to develop chemistry. For instance, there would be many possessions in the early portions of the first season, where one player will bring the ball up the floor and hold it for the majority of the shot clock. Meanwhile, the other two players are standing behind the three point line acting as spot up shooters. This is because the trio will need multiple games to develop timing as to when they should move without the ball and where to end up.  Unfortunately, Lebron can’t afford to waste a season because he is currently in the back end of his prime as he will turn 33 years old next season. Therefore, I believe that the Cavaliers will keep their core intact and make adjustments to the cast of role players.