The Cleveland Cavaliers redid their team in February.
Just fifteen-and-a-half weeks later, they are in the NBA Finals.
There has been talk about being meticulous about developing an NBA team into a championship contender.
Now we know we can toss that idea.
Cleveland’s overnight success in NBA terms, despite trading nearly half their team, makes that clear.
Despite the overhaul, the Cavs are now on the world stage. They were mediocre before that.
Despite the overhaul, the Cavs are now in the NBA Finals. They had just a 58 percent winning percentage before that.
Despite the overhaul, the Cavs went 19-10 even in the regular season. Before then, they were only 31-22.
Collectively, the Cavaliers getting Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, George Hill and Larry Nance was worse than losing Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert and their own 2018 first-round pick.
Even if you can with sincerity say that there wasn’t a talent drop-off, there was just more there (six players and a draft pick) than now (four players).
Truly, the Cleveland Cavaliers blew up their team to a point that it was hard to understand, but it worked—near-literally—in no time.
Other NBA general managers have invited the plodding approach. That seems very clear to have been the case with Dennis Lindsay, GM of the Utah Jazz. He let Paul Millsap, who has been an all-star, all-rookie, and all-NBA defensive team honoree, and Al Jefferson, an all-NBA and all-rookie honoree, walk. That set up the Jazz for a trip through the wilderness—they didn’t even make the playoffs for five years.
However, Lindsey nor Jazz fans, nor enthusiasts of any other NBA team that is bad for so long, need to expect that that must happen.
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