The Warriors have young stars and younger players in position to develop, but they already appear to be a step ahead of the Cavaliers, as Monday’s blowout win and last year’s Finals demonstrate, observes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Cleveland has to be concerned, with 31-year-old LeBron James showing signs of exiting his prime and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combining for just 11 points Monday, especially since the Cavs don’t appear to have a lot of ways to improve their roster aside from drastic moves, Bontemps opines. The Cavs have a deep bench, but the status quo isn’t working, contends Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. James chalks it up to inexperience for Irving and Love, and the four-time MVP said “young guys” on the team are putting too much stock in what they read about themselves, according to Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
“We’ve got some inexperienced guys that haven’t played enough meaningful basketball games where they can fall back on,” James said. “When it gets a little tough sometimes, it’s not like they can kind of fall back on previous experiences to try and help them get through it.”
See more from the Eastern Conference:
- Sixers ownership was worried last summer that drafting Kristaps Porzingis, who was largely shrouded in mystery at the time, would have alienated fans amid GM Sam Hinkie‘s slow rebuilding process, so they wanted the team to draft one of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell or Jahlil Okafor with the No. 3 pick, sources have indicated to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Philadelphia took Okafor, of course.
- Nets offseason signee Shane Larkin was experiencing a breakthrough year, but he’s slumped this month and has lost his starting job to journeyman Donald Sloan, notes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Interim coach Tony Brown cautioned that the team isn’t “down on” Larkin, however.
- MLive’s midseason grades for the Pistons range from an A-minus for soon-to-be restricted free agent Andre Drummond to a D for Reggie Bullock. That’s even though the team privately wishes Drummond played harder, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. The Pistons picked up Bullock’s team option for next season after his strong play in October, which Bullock has failed to carry over into the regular season. Stan Van Gundy and his coaching and front office staffs received a B-plus.