In The Cavs’ Own Words
SLAM asks the Cavs why they will (or won’t) end up as NBA Champions.
by Tracy Weissenberg / @basketballista
In an NBA TV interview late in the season, analyst Kenny Smith asked LeBron James to finish the following statements.
Kenny Smith: The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship because:
LeBron James: ‘Cause we covered each other on both ends of the floor.
Smith: The Cleveland Cavaliers did not win the NBA championship because:
James: ‘Cause we didn’t trust each other, at one point we lost trust in each other and everybody went south.
I was surprised James responded to the second statement, since usually a player won’t acknowledge a possibility other than winning. The honesty was refreshing and I decided to ask James’s teammates the same questions to see how the responses varied.
Cleveland will win the 2010 NBA Championship because “we’re the best team in the NBA.”
Cleveland will not win the 2010 NBA Championship because “I don’t know.”
Cleveland will win the 2010 NBA Championship because “LeBron James.”
Cleveland will not win the 2010 NBA Championship because “I couldn’t answer that one, I can’t even finish that one. My mind’s on the championship, so I can’t think of why we wouldn’t win right now, I’m only thinking why we would.”
Cleveland will win the 2010 NBA Championship because “it was destiny. Destined to happen with the guys brought here, the unselfish play, no egos involved, you know just to do it for the team mentality…just a great group of guys assembled together to have one common goal.”
Cleveland will not win the 2010 NBA Championship because “I don’t know how to finish that one.”
Cleveland will win the 2010 NBA Championship because: “’cause we’re the best team from start to finish.”
Cleveland will not win the 2010 NBA Championship because “we got too confident and fell somewhere down the road.”
Cleveland will win the 2010 NBA Championship because “everybody played together.”
Cleveland will not win the 2010 NBA Championship because “everybody didn’t play together.”
The Cavaliers expounded upon James’s assertion of trust as the deciding factor between a championship and another long summer. “Oh, it’s everything,” said Parker, “trusting teammates, that’s why we’ve had the success we’ve had so far and that’s why we’ll have continued success.”
And when a team has trust, chemistry is sure to follow. Parker said, “I’ve always been a big believer in that chemistry off the court carries over on the court.”
Jamison said team chemistry is so important because “you’re with these guys more than you are with your family.” 12-year Cavalier Ilgauskas said, “[GM Danny Ferry] and the front office guys have done a really nice job to bring in quality guys…guys care about each other, play the right way…we keep building, the new guys that come in and they fall right in place.”
“It’s like a group of brothers here…we feed off of one another, we try to keep each other loose,” said Moon. Second year forward JJ Hickson said, “You could see it throughout the regular season how well we get along. It’s like a big family and when you put our talent with that type of atmosphere, you know we’re gonna be hard to stop.”
Hickson is one of the few young players on an experienced Cavaliers team. When asked what he discusses with the younger guys, Jamison said, “Our whole mentality is that we’re here for a reason — this is what it’s all about. It’s about this moment, the Playoffs. Every time we hit the floor, we need to improve, trying to be the first one to get 16 wins and so forth. The young guys on this team, they know the magnitude of what they’re involved in and why they are here and why every individual on this team is here as well. So anything less than a championship is a failure and we all realize that. You know we welcome the pressure, we welcome the challenge as well, but our young guys know why we’re here, what’s at stake, and what we’re trying to accomplish.”
With the Playoffs underway, I look forward to seeing if the Cavaliers can continue the momentum trust and chemistry created during the regular season and if they can get through any post-season rough patches without compromising these invaluable qualities.