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Sunday Thought - Maybe Colangelo was Right?

The exodus of the Cleveland Cavaliers made Franchise wonder if maybe Colangelo was right after all...

After seeing the Cleveland Cavaliers flop out in six games to the Boston Celtics, the media went crazy.

They made sharks in a feeding frenzy look tame in comparison, and since that historic Thursday evening, we've all been avalanched with a series of Lebron stories.

Will he leave Cleveland?

Has his desire to be the ultimate sports business magnate overshadowed his desire to win titles?

Is he closer to Dr. J than MJ?

If he leaves will the city of Cleveland sink like Atlantis?

And on and on...not to mention that I find it hilarious that GM’s think they suddenly know where LeBron is going; after all, these are the same GM’s who choose Adam Morrison over Rajon Rondo and Marvin Williams over Chris Paul.

However I want to talk about something else today - the Cavs themselves.

As I discussed on Friday morning, Cleveland's loss for me was much more than simply a matter of LeBron being hurt, "distant," or not giving 100 per cent effort.  

This was a Cavs team that by game five was in disarray.  They did a horrific job making adjustments to the Celtics' attacks, (I mean seriously, SHAQ on KG in game 6??), they lacked poise under pressure, and most importantly, got almost nothing from their off and late-season additions.

Contrast that to the Celtics, grizzled veterans who played as a team from the first jump ball these playoffs and yes, while older and slower than in years past, worked as a cohesive unit, especially on D, to get the job done. Doc Rivers didn't need to keep drawing up plays, this team's core had been through the wars.  He simply needed to be the motivator, and time and time again during TNT's "plugged-in" segments, you could hear Doc doing just that; spurring his troops onward.

To me, the big lesson from this series was that chemistry and team cohesion matter.

Not that that's a huge Smurfs "ooooh..." "aaaaah."

But I think at times both get pushed pretty far into the broom closet behind things like talent and coaching.

However I started thinking back to NBA Finals teams in the past decade and I couldn't think of a single team outside of the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons that made late-season additions and won it all.  Even that Detroit team, which added Rasheed Wallace, had a very solid core in Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, RIP Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince.  They also had Larry Brown.  This wasn't quite the same as a team of Anthony Parkers and Delonte Wests adding Antawn Jamison.

In fact, the team that fell to the Pistons in that finals is a great example of some of the worst chemistry of all time, the 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers, who even with off-season acquisitions of Karl Malone and Gary Payton, failed to win it all, combusting in the end.

I didn't reach back past a decade but I think it's safe to say that very few "trade deadline deals for key players" end up being an NBA Championship team's final piece to the puzzle.  Yes, adding a James Posey type here or there, or a bench upgrade fine, but trying to incorporate someone who is used to being the offensive center of attention?

Not so easy.

This got me thinking about the Bryan Colangelo's end-of-season presser that I attended.  Over and over he gave "trying to incorporate nine new faces" as the main reason for the team falling short of pre-season expectations.  I think most of us sitting there rolled our eyes at that.  I mean, the team did play well in stretches, so was that really a valid excuse?

After watching the Cavs malfunction, I'm wondering now if a bunch of us, myself especially, didn't give this rationale enough credit.

It's simply very hard to incorporate so many new players, even if you get a chance to do it from the start of the season. And when you think about it, Hedo reporting to camp out of shape and drunk exhausted, Reggie Evans foot and Chris Bosh's knee injuries couldn't have helped either.  And when the fit was never there to begin, as I felt was the case with Hedo, things can really go horribly awry.  Perhaps going back we all should have seen this coming and even my original 42 win mark would have been a tad lofty.

One final thought though.

If that's the case, and we should have seen this coming, shouldn't Colangelo as well?  I mean, even if you do think that BC was right, and that the number of new personalities, not to mention cultures, that the team had to integrate was simply overwhelming, you still have to question why he tried in the first place.  I mean, he's a GM with decades of NBA experience!  Wasn't it quite possible that this would blow up in his face?  And wasn't that maybe not the safest bet in a season when keeping Chris Bosh was close to priority number one?