By: T.J. Zuppe
There are more ways than one to win a championship in the NBA. For those lucky enough to find themselves in a destination city like Miami, Los Angeles, Boston or New York, building super teams through free-agency is the quick fix. Other organizations not as fortunate - like the Cleveland Cavaliers - are forced to find other avenues to a coveted title.
As the Cavs are built largely through the draft, losses begin to accumulate. Fans are forced to relive the good old days to get enjoyment from their basketball team. One Cavalier in particular played a big part in making those days enjoyable.
Former Cavs center Brad Daugherty stopped by the Auto Show at the IX Center and visited with the Hooligans on ESPN 850 WKNR to discuss the current Cavaliers construction, Kyrie Irving and the likelihood of Lebron James returning to Cleveland.
How would you compare how the team you were on was built to the one the Cavs are building now?
“The thing that we did well was we went out and got veteran guys who could come in and give you instant performance… We went out and we got Larry Nance and Mike Sanders and they were immediately impactful to our basketball teams and were for several years to come. I think that’s the key.
“As I look at this basketball team now, obviously, Kyrie Irving is a great player and they’ve got some pieces and parts. Hopefully (Anderson) Varejao gets better… This basketball team needs some veteran players who can be impactful… Then you got to compliment a (Dion) Waiters and an Irving by going out and getting a ball handler. Probably a small forward type individual that can put the ball on the floor and take the ball to the front of the goal… You get those type of guys, you’re going to have a heck of a basketball team, but it’s very difficult to do.”
Can you build a team in the NBA only through the draft?
“You can build around the pieces but you keep getting younger every year and keep going into the draft, you’re not going to get any better. The game is too fast and moves to quickly, by the time you develop players, it’s too late.”
Does Kyrie Irving being a point guard hurt his chances to lead the Cavs to a championship?
“You can win a championship in this league now with a ball hander. As far as being a point guard, that’s a tough spot for someone like Kyrie. Now, we’re looking at him to make everyone else on the floor better. On some nights, that’s going to hurt his game, hurt his performance. I don’t need that out of him. I want him being the dynamic player that he is. Creating mismatches. I want to take advantage of his talents and get him in mismatches and get him the opportunity to score. I think when he is in the open court and scoring the basketball it makes my team better.
“This basketball team, I’m looking for a really strong small forward. Someone that he can play off of that can get them 20 a night that can make him better. Because now you can’t just focus on him.”
What do you think of the possibility of Lebron James returning to the Cavaliers?
“I think it’s a realistic opportunity. As I look at Lebron James, he’s had his opportunity to win a championship… I think the whole linchpin is what Pat Reilly (and the Heat) do to keep him there. If they continue to reload, he’ll stay put. Everyone wants to reach the pinnacle and be in the class with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and those guys…
“I think he has a lot of allegiance to Ohio. I think he would love to come back if the situation was right. I’ll tell you, it will be difficult at best. Right now, I give it a 35% chance but we’ll see how it plays out. I’m keeping hope. I’d like to see him come back to Cleveland in 2014 and hopefully Irving is still young and healthy and I’d like to see what would happen.”
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