We all knew intellectually there would be growing pains when LeBron James and Kevin Love joined Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.
But this has been uglier than we expected.
The Cavaliers have lost four in a row now, are 5-7 and the cracks are showing — Love wants more touches in the post, Irving is pounding the ball into the ground with his dribble and not really adapting to being the point guard in a motion offense, and LeBron is visibly frustrated with his teammates at times. Which is impacting his effort on defense as he coasts back after bad turnovers — and they need his effort on defense because this is not a good defensive team right now. At all.
LeBron’s willing to shoulder the blame for this as the team’s leader, he told the Associated Press.
“We got a four-game losing streak, so I stink,” he said. “I’m not doing my job….
“Me being the leader of the team, if I start hanging my head low then it’s going to start going to everyone else,” he said. “They look up to me. They look to me to make a difference and I’ve got to stay positive even through the rough times. As I’ve said before, this is not the darkest point that we’ll see this year. I’ve seen dark and this is very light to me.”
Obviously this is not all on LeBron, but what is becoming clear is the sacrifices that it took for the Heat to come together are going to be slower in materializing in Cleveland. In South Beach you had Dwyane Wade, who already had a ring, and a more seasoned Chris Bosh, both of whom (along with the other veterans on the roster) understood the sacrifices needed to win. And it still took more than a season for them to really find their identity.
Love and Irving and the rest of the Cavaliers are not there yet. These kinds of sacrifices come harder to younger players looking to get theirs.
Until they do LeBron will stink. Sort of.