What LeBron's Loss Means for the BayHawks

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Almost every NBA expert, analyst, writer, blogger, and fan had the Cleveland Cavaliers penciled in for at least a trip to the NBA Finals. When LeBron James and company were knocked out in the Eastern Conference Finals, the city of Cleveland was stunned, crushed, and confused.

There are probably hundreds of articles out there detailing the fallout of the Cavs and the disappointment of their banner season not ending with a championship banner, but very few articles, I’m sure, that covered the ramifications of the Cavs’ early departure on the Erie BayHawks.

Let’s face it. This loss makes things much more interesting in Erie heading into next season. All of a sudden, LeBron James is one year away from unrestricted free agency, which means the Cavs have exactly one season to make the pieces around him fit or risk losing him to another team. And where might some of those pieces be developed? With Cleveland’s D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks.

With the best record in the league, the Cavs’ draft choices are nothing to rave about. They’ll select last in each round (30th and 60th overall), but that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of adding valuable pieces. Let’s face it. As good as this team played during the regular season, they did not know up when faced with the pressure of a tough playoff series. They could use upgrades at several positions as well as a deeper bench, and an infusion of young talent wouldn’t hurt, so long as they’re ready to play right away. LeBron isn’t going to accept any signs of a rebuilding phase. They’ll have to retool on the fly.

It’s not like it’s impossible to get a quality player at pick 30. In 2008, Mario Chalmers went 34th. In 2007, Carl Landry went 31st and Glen “Big Baby” Davis went 35th. In 2006, the Cavs made a quality late pick, nabbing Daniel Gibson with the 42nd selection. In 2005, the Knicks grabbed David Lee with the 30th pick. And in 2004, Cavs forward Anderson Varejao went 30th to Orlando before being traded to Cleveland.

The pressure is on the Cavaliers front office and scouting department to get it right. Whoever the pick is, they’re going to be expected to contribute, and the same may hold true for pick 60. Each player may get a chance to hone his skills for a few games with the BayHawks, and if so, it’ll be a treat for the Erie fans because these potential future BayHawks could also wind up as teammates on the do-or-die 2009-10 Cavaliers. The pressure on next year’s Cavaliers team is going to be immense. Many feel it is championship or bust.

If LeBron James is fresh off winning a title, it’ll be very tough for him to sign elsewhere. But if the Cavs fall short again next year, the BayHawks may suddenly become breeding ground for a whole new brand of Cavaliers—the post LeBron era Cavs. That’s a prospect Cleveland doesn’t want to think about. If they’re to avoid it, they may need to lean on some quick, quality development of players in Erie this coming season.


Post a Comment

About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter


    A Proud Erie Blogger