The Cavs Top 5 Game Changing Players Not Named LeBron James

After watching the Cleveland Cavaliers absolutely dominate the Boston Celtics, I think we can all agree, LeBron haters included, that the Cavs are the favorites to come out off the East. Can they beat the Warriors? That’s a question I’m still not ready to answer.

It saddens me to say that I was one of the many who thought the Cavs, entering this season, would dominate all year long. I even thought that once Isaiah Thomas was inserted into the lineup they would become even more unstoppable. So the lesson we all learned from this is that, unfortunately, the NBA is not fantasy sports. You can’t just throw statistically great players on one team (key word: statistically) and expect for everyone to just automatically be on the same page and for everything to work out perfectly. Great teams typically have players with diverse skill-sets who even each other out once they get on the court. The Cavs had proven scorers, most of whom were exiting or already out of their prime, and unreliable defenders. At its worst, it’s a recipe for disaster. And we clearly saw it at the very worst.

With their most recent acquisitions, this looks like a whole new team. So let’s jump in. Here is my list of top 5 game changing players for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In fairness, since he is the greatest player on the planet, I’ve excluded LeBron from this list.

5. Cedi Osman


Who is this guy? I didn’t even know he was on the team till a couple days ago. Cedi Osman is the Cavs’ rookie from Turkey who was recently inserted into the starting lineup, though this likely won’t last for too long now that Rodney Hood is with the team. In Osman’s first NBA start, he put up 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. With his strength and speed, he’s shown he can be a capable scorer and playmaker while also being very aggressive on the defensive end.

If Osman gets playing time, he has shown he can make an impact on the floor. However, once Kevin Love is back from injury it’s very unlikely that Osman will be receiving any minutes at all. He probably knows this, so look for him to go all out as he continues to play this season. Keep this guy on your watch list in deep fantasy basketball leagues.

4. Jordan Clarkson


For the past couple seasons, I’ve considered Jordan Clarkson (when he was in LA) as the Marcus Smart of the West so acquiring arguably the best point guard off the bench in the league was a huge acquisition by the Cavaliers. He can do everything from hit the open 3, to drive and score or dish to the open teammate, and he can also defend. He will be the energizer bunny off the bench, which is huge since there are now a lot of “top heavy” teams in the league meaning that the bench usually consist of sub par players.

Jordan Clarkson will likely never be a consistent starting point guard in the NBA but he is clearly at his best when you look at him as the Lou Williams/ Jamal Crawford type who can come off the bench and completely change the game for the team.

3. George Hill


George Hill is the definition of efficiency in the NBA. He doesn’t try to do too much and never does too little. This is the type of guy that will work perfectly in a LeBron James-run offense. I know, Hill by no means is anywhere near the talent Kyrie Irving was for the Cavs but, hey, LeBron won two championships with Mario Chalmers as his point guard so I’m sure this can work.

One of the many good things about George Hill is that he is battle tested and has been through tough playoff match-ups when he was on the Indiana Pacers, which seems like forever ago. Don’t be surprised if we see Hill as a go to guy in the clutch whether it is defensively or on the offensive end. Hey, he’s done it before.

2. Rodney Hood


By far, the biggest acquisition the Cavs made by the trade deadline was getting Rodney Hood. Tyronn Lue should keep Hood coming off the bench but give him starters’ minutes. This way when LeBron needs to rest, Hood can go in and dominate, and then they can go ahead and bring him in the game in crunch time moments.

Rodney Hood is the Cavs’ closest next person to be able to go on the court and, efficiently create his own shot. The crazy thing is that he’s only getting better, which is why Coach Lue will likely have no choice but to place Hood in the starting lineup.

1. Kevin Love


Coming off of reports that teammates (aka Isaiah Thomas) was blaming Kevin Love for the Cavs’ struggles and deserting the team, I think it was a blessing in disguise that Love got injured. It really showed that he is a key component to this team. Before Isaiah Thomas came back from injury, Love was having his best stretch of games in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform. He was playing like the best power forward in the game (of course, not named Anthony Davis) and this was because the team had constant ball movement, allowing him to launch threes all game. And as Kevin Love does well offensively it gives him the momentum to be more aggressive and be a ball hog on the boards.

Kevin Love can most definitely demoralize another team when he starts to get it going offensively. It is unfortunate he quickly becomes the scapegoat whenever the Cavs’ play poorly but there’s a reason this team is still yet to trade him. Don’t forget, he was the man that defended unanimous MVP Stephen Curry one-on-one in the closing minute of game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, which resulted in the Cavaliers obtaining their first NBA Title and completing the best finals comeback in NBA history. Think this way, Love will be back and well-rested for the playoffs. Watch out.

This new Cavs team hasn’t even practiced yet. Once all become familiar with one another by the time the playoffs begin, this will be one of the scariest teams in the NBA. And it’s really because this team has depth, their young and athletic, and it’s clear who the go-to guy is. But, of course, to actually know you have to play the game so time will tell whether or not this team is the real deal.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my top 5? And is this team ready to make a run for the title?

Till next time,


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Tom Brady / LeBron James: Why we continue to compare sports biggest athletes and clearly favor one over the other


The most overused acronym in sports is G.O.A.T. Fueled by debate shows on networks such as ESPN and FOX Sport 1, there is an ongoing argument and declaration that a person is the greatest of all time in his or her respective sport. We are now at a time where LeBron James is being talked about as the greatest NBA Player of all time and Tom Brady discussed as the greatest NFL Quarterback of all time. Though one plays football and the other basketball, sports fans and media frequently bring up Tom Brady when discussing LeBron James or vice versa to paint a metaphorical picture of what the GOAT should look like. However, the criticism clearly falls heavier on LeBron James and favoritism is always bestowed upon Tom Brady. Well here are my thoughts on the subject.

The Road to the Championship

LeBron James, playing in the weak Eastern Conference, has the easiest road to the NBA Finals every year. This is my favorite argument to listen to only because it’s so lame and lazy that it just sounds like an excuse for why LeBron can’t be the G.O.A.T. Getting to the NBA Finals every year is impressive no matter how you look at it. The way I see it, many notable NBA free agents stay west or join a western conference team to avoid LeBron James until absolutely necessary, which is in the NBA Finals. It will be interesting to see how many players start to move East if he goes West this offseason.

So LeBron James gets all of this criticism about the “easy” road to the finals but no one ever examines Tom Brady’s road to the Super Bowl. Let’s take a look at the teams that play in the same division as the New England Patriots: Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Miami Dolphins. All three teams have been absolutely terrible for as long as Brady has been in the league. And, yes, this includes the Rex Ryan led Jets that Pats fans were so afraid of. Each year, Brady has an easy road to the playoffs typically getting a bye week in the playoffs because his team is able to rack up wins against the three teams mentioned above during the season. So for the Divisional Round of the playoffs, they are usually facing one of the worst playoff seeds in the AFC. When you think about it, the usually well-rested Patriots’ first competitive playoff game is Conference Championship and then the Super Bowl.

Based on the path LeBron and Brady takes, Brady’s road appears easier than LeBron’s when you factor in how consistently poor the competition is in the AFC East and how well-rested the Pats are compared to the tough games the other teams have to endure beforehand as they vie for Super Bowl contention. In regards to LeBron, he does have an easy path but his greatness makes it look way too easy than it actually is.

One man has been accused of cheating and one has not

The worst LeBron may have been accused of is flopping, which is one of the more disgusting things players do to bait the referees into calling a foul. However, what can LeBron do if he is constantly driving to the basket and getting punched and slapped with no foul called. Overall, it is on the referees to determine what is a flop versus an actual foul and make that call accordingly.

Tom Brady, on the other hand, has been mentioned with allegations such as Deflategate. This is actual cheating, but surprisingly it’s never compared to steroid use in baseball where players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will never fully get the credit they deserve because their names were mentioned with an ugly allegation. I’m not saying that Tom Brady shouldn’t be a Hall of Famer, but no G.O.A.T. should ever be mentioned in the same sentence as cheating.

Take LeBron off the Cavs / Take Brady off the Pats 

Take LeBron James off the Cleveland Cavaliers. We’ve seen it. They are in the lottery every year. Let’s go further. Take him off the Miami Heat. Their chances of winning the championship are reduced to zero percent. What we do know, which ever team he is on, they are instant contenders in a star-studded league.

Take Tom Brady off the New England Patriots. We’ve seen it. 2008 with Matt Cassel. Matt who? In a year where Brady went down with injury, Matt Cassel stepped in and had arguably his best year as a pro. Matt Cassel, by no means, will go down as one of the greats but he was able to fill such a role when his number was called. And then most recently, when Brady was suspended for Deflategate, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett (two young QBs) were able to step in and earn some wins. The only constant in this matter is Head Coach Bill Belichick, who should be given the most credit for the Patriots success over the years. It makes one wonder, what would Tom Brady’s career look like if he played under anyone other than Bill Belichick?

Greatest of All Time

Sacramento Kings v Chicago Bulls

LeBron James and Tom Brady, statistically, are two of the best to play in their respective sports and both will be missed when it is time for them to depart the game. However, I would label neither as the G.O.A.T. because of reasons mentioned above.

I would take only one player over LeBron James and that is Michael Jordan. Jordan never had an easy road to the finals, and faced multiple (at the time) future Hall of Famers before getting to the finals and winning every time he got there. Many proclaim Jordan as the G.O.A.T. in basketball and I most certainly agree, but it’s really hard to compare him to centers like Kareem Abdul Jabbar or Bill Russell since they played different positions and the role of a center versus a shooting guard is a drastic change.

I would only take Brady if he and Belichick came as a packaged deal. They are the greatest Head Coach/QB duo in sports. Other than that, there are many other quarterbacks I would take over Brady from Joe Montana to Bret Favre. From Peyton Manning to Aaron Rodgers. I’m sorry but Brady lost to Nick Foles and Eli Manning (twice!) in the Super Bowl. The guys I just mentioned lost to QBs such as John Elway, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson.

This idea of a player being a G.O.A.T. is thrown out so easily that it really defeats how sacred the term should actually be. Growing up, the amount of times I heard Kobe Bryant being mentioned as the greatest basketball player of all time and even having to listen to the whispers regarding Stephen Curry being compared to LeBron James and Michael Jordan the year he won unanimous MVP was just ridiculous.

It’s okay if sports fans make these preposterous declarations because most of us sports fans really don’t know anything. But to tune into a show and listen to analysts, who get paid to do research and provide accurate and compelling information to viewers, make statements that are downright insulting to the game really shows how much a “prisoner of the moment” even members of the media become as they watch the game. This notion of being a prisoner of the moment is part of sports, but it’s hard to take anyone’s opinion/information seriously if one week they make an argument then the next week they say something that completely contradicts their previous statement. With the Pats most recent Super Bowl loss, hopefully we’ll cool it with the Tom Brady G.O.A.T. talks for a while.

I’ll leave with this. In order for someone to truly be the greatest, a la Muhammad Ali, the term can’t thrown out so loosely because it ultimately undermines its value. Let’s wait to see how players end his or her career and see how it compares to the greats before boldly and irresponsibly associating terms like G.O.A.T. with their name.

Until next time,


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