One man's honest opinion about sports in the Motor City, and beyond.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Off the Bench

The Cavs would be a better team if they traded their roster, for the Piston's bench. Honestly. I really believe that is true. Imagine LeBron James, Tony Delk, Carlos Delfino, Antonio McDyess, and Dale Davis as a starting lineup.

Here we have a look at what the current Cav roster looks like, and how it would look with the Piston bench. Without a doubt, the Pistons bench would make that team a lot better.

The biggest improvement comes with McDyess. On the Pistons his role is 6th man, but he is better than everyone on the Cavs besides LeBron James. Please no Larry Hughes argument, because he is not anywhere near as valuable as Dice. Ilgauskas either... That man is one of the most overrated players in the game right now. He is way too slow, and a horrible compliment to James - which is very key when discussing all of this. Putting James on the floor will create a lot of easy baskets for Dice. When James drives, defenders will have to stay honest with Dice (about 9 feet from the hoop, 3 feet from the baseline) or he hits that shot 15 times and puts up 30.

Yesterday's blowout revealed the Cav's complete lack of defense. Which would dramatically improve with the new lineup. Hughes and Snow are considered good defenders, but Delk and Delfino are no liabilities. In fact, I believe, Delfino plays pretty good D. He moves his feet well. So the backcourt D, in my opinion, will remain the same (at worst). The frontcourt defense on the other hand would improve by about a million percent. Okay, maybe not quite that much... But with Dice, Davis, and Lebron together - nobody scores inside on them. Maybe Shaq circa 1999, but other than that teams would have a hard time posting any of those guys up. Off the top of my head, besides Wallace Inc., I can't think of another frontcourt pair that would be considerably better than Dice/Davis... They are both big, play good defense, and can rebound. Teams would end up shooting a lot of jump shots, and if they weren't making them... Dice, Davis, or James will surely be grabbing the board.

When that ball ends up in either Davis or Dice's hands you had better be prepared to run. Because Delk and Delfino running alongside James with a full head of steam will create a lot of problems for teams. James, who is being hailed as maybe the quickest end to end player in the game right now, basically needs to be double teamed on a fast break. Also, Delk and Delfino need to be guarded honestly. Both are capable of hitting open jump shots and finishing at the basket on a break.

Now, as I showed, the Cavs defense would improve quite a bit with the new roster. Mostly because of the front court changes, but that change alone would be a huge improvement. With that said, maybe the biggest improvement would come on the offensive end. LeBron aside, Dice is the best scorer in the group (by far). So right there we have a big improvement for the Cavs. Like I mentioned above, I believe Dice will be a great compliment to James. Also, if James draws double teams and misses shots, you had better pray that someone is blocking Dice and Davis out... Because if they aren't, the offensive rebound goes to one of those guys. (I've seen signs from Delfino showing he's not too bad on the offensive glass either.)

The backcourt offensive improvement, by putting Delk and Delfino with James, is huge. Delk nor Delfino are true point guards, but with James you don't need or want one. First of all, James at 9 feet (or however tall he is), is an amazing point guard. The comparisons to Magic are real. He has unbelievable court awareness. So you don't really want a true pointguard. But what you do want, is two guys who can knock down open shots, and drive to the basket if needed. Also guys who are capable of handling the ball and passing. Which is exactly what Delk and Delfino offer. Delk, offensively, is far far superior to Snow. The upgrade there is obvious. The two spot may be a wash. People will argue that Hughes is better than Delfino, but I'm not sure I buy that. I really like the skill package Delfino brings with him. Offensively he does a lot. With a starting role I believe he would find a rhythm, and as the 3rd/4th option, he would be able to take good shots all the time, and make quite a few of them.

Having Dice and James will create tons and tons of easy shots for Delfino and Delk, and I believe both are totally capable of knocking them down. Putting Dice, Delk, and Delfino on the court with James will create a situation where opponents will have to guard him honestly. Double teaming will not work. Those guys will be able to spread out on the court, and someone will be open. Not to mention Davis will finish near the net. Which, he will have no reason to roam too far from.

After really looking at all of this I am starting to think that this team would possibly be #2 in the East, and top 5 in the league. This is assuming Dice/Davis could stay healthy, and average close to or above 30 minutes a game. The situation would be a perfect fit for Delfino in my opinion. Also, James would never have to worry about playing a bad offensive game (which already happens infrequently). When James is off Dice, Delk, or Delfino would be able to carry the load long enough for James to find his shot. You would have the best offensive player in the league (sorry Kobe), and three guys capable of going for 25 on any night...

Rebounding: This team would instantly become a top rebounding team in the league. In James, Dice, and Davis are three men capable of averaging 10 boards a night. Delfino is a smart and athletic rebounder as well.

Final Note: Mad mad mad mad props to Joe Dumars. To put the best starting 5 in basketball together, and to have that much talent coming off the bench, is just an amazing feat. I think there are a lot of teams around the league that would take those 4 guys teamed with their current best player.



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