Cavs Weekly Recap: Kyle Korver...Secret Savior?
Ahh, we’ve reached the “boring” time of the NBA season; the space we are in; pre all-star break, post Christmas is the worst. It’s like when you notice that ash in the webbing of your hands. Leaves you in a bit of a conundrum. On one hand (no pun intended) you want to grab some cocoa butter or coconut oil and lather up them webbings so patrons at social gatherings do not think you are completely homeless. But at the same time, it’s January. It’s cold in the majority of the country (I’m a Florida boy, its been in the 40s. Anything under 65 is a state of emergency for me so yes, cold everywhere). The ash is going to haunt those webbings everyday in this cold and we still have months left in this cold weather. Is it really worth lathering up the webbings? That is where the NBA has left us. We just want to get to the dunk contest already so AG can get the crown and trophy he deserved last season. These January games and storylines are uneventful, boring and flat out meaningless. Are they really worth paying attention to? The answer was no, an emphatic one at that. Until, that is, it was announced last week that Kyle Korver would be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Holy shit, this is huge.
Since we last spoke about the Cavs (Christmas W over the KD-led Warriors) they have been meh at best. Cavs have a 5-2 record since the holiday. LeBron has missed some games to rest and Kyrie has been injured for a majority of the games. But hey, they are staying afloat I guess. I could easily breakdown the wins and losses but we do not give a damn about that. The Kyle Korver trade is just perfect and changes the landscape going forward. Korver is one of the best shooters the league has ever seen. He distorts defenses and changes schemes because he simply is not a player you can help off of. He’s a career 42.9% 3-point shooter. As LeBron said earlier today in an interview ahead of tonight’s matchup with Utah, “When he walked in to the locker room, I told him ‘if you want to fit in, when you catch the ball… shoot it.” It’s that simple. Listen, I’m not saying Korver is some never-before-seen Ferrari pulling up to a car show. He’s not. He’s probably more like a Prius; great on gas mileage, consistent, predictable, and relatively silent.
Korver has averaged 10 points per game since coming into the league. But his mere presence on the floor represents so much more. Remember two seasons ago when the Atlanta Hawks had their entire starting lineup in the all-star game (HAHAHAH, btw)? They became a hugely efficient “space and pace” offense seemingly out of nowhere. The coaching change attributed to the success but you know who was the main culprit & the catalyst that allowed the offense to go? Kyle Korver. The space he provided for Jeff Teague drives and Horford face ups out of the post was huge. As was the attention he garnered when running off of screens, causing confusion. Much like Klay out in the Bay (may have to trademark that), his mere presence puts defenders in perilous positions. Do you double him off of the screen to prevent a backbreaking 3 and give up wide-open attempts at the rim? Or simply allow Korver to catch and shoot the rock (which he is historically great at)? Choose wisely.
During his time in Atlanta, in order to get his looks he damn near ran around screens the entire shot clock until something opened up. Kover is 35 (turning 36 during the Cavs inevitable playoff run), so expecting him to do that and be super effective is unrealistic, but the beauty of the trade? With LeBron James, Kyrie, and Love; He does not need to. All he has to do is drift to open spots on the floor and be ready to shoot. The Cavs offense was already a handful to deal with. Now? Potentially goes to the next level. Will defenders help on Bron and Irving drives? Or stay on shooters and allow them to live at the rim? During the aforementioned interview with LeBron James, he admitted to studying about 25 minutes of Korver tape to get an idea of where he likes to catch the ball and how he likes to catch it (example: If he prefers to catch high and go straight up or catch low since he prefers to dip into his shot). It’s truly going to be basketball porn for basketball nerds such as myself to see this offense incorporate Korver. I do not think adding Korver suddenly makes the Cavs better than the Warriors. But it’s a move I have been telling D. Parris has to be made since LeBron was still in Miami. Korver teamed with Bron just makes so much sense in my eyes. We’ll get to see just how much sense tonight for the first time. I’ll be tuned in.