Blogtable: Can Cavs make it back to The Finals if Derrick Rose replaces Kyrie Irving?
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
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If Derrick Rose replaces Kyrie Irving as Cleveland’s starting point guard, do you expect to see the Cavs in the Finals again next June?
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David Aldridge: Can’t answer that until I see what they get for Irving. What if Philly or Boston, for example, go all-in to get him? The Cavs could get a real haul from either of them, and LeBron + talent usually = Finals.
Steve Aschburner: Yes, yes I do. I think Rose would be on his best behavior to prove he cares about winning and to spruce up his marketability for the summer of 2018. Cleveland still has some marvelous shooters who could benefit from drive-and-kick plays by the Chicago exile. Besides, let’s face it, LeBron James has this Finals thing down to a science now and, because of that, it’s still easier to imagine the Cavs taking four out of seven from the Celtics than it is the other way around. Cleveland vs. Golden State IV, y’all.
Shaun Powell: He’s not going to replace Kyrie, because Kyrie isn’t going anywhere (IMO). And if he did, then yes, the Cavs would return to The Finals, not because of Rose, but because LeBron (assuming his head would be in the right place) remains the game’s greatest player.
John Schuhmann: What the Cavs get in a Kyrie Irving trade will affect the Cavs’ chances of reaching The Finals a lot more than Derrick Rose will. The best-case scenario for Rose is that he doesn’t hurt the team on both ends of the floor. He averaged 18 points with the Knicks last season, but doesn’t make his teammates better when he has the ball, isn’t a threat when he doesn’t have the ball, and is a defensive liability. For the Cavs to compete for another championship, they can’t be depending much on a guy they were able to sign for the minimum.
Sekou Smith: I don’t see any reason why the Cavaliers wouldn’t be able to make The Finals again with Derrick Rose in the starting lineup. As long as LeBron James is healthy and driving the bus, the Cavaliers remain the class of the Eastern Conference. If he plays at the level he did last season in New York, Rose will be more than serviceable enough for LeBron to push the Cavaliers back into that space in June where the Warriors will likely be waiting for a record fourth straight time. Again, the point guard position is not an area of concern … until the Cavaliers get to The Finals.
Ian Thomsen: Let’s wait to see who comes in the Irving trade. The one thing we do know is that players improve alongside LeBron (a dynamic that cuts both ways, as Irving is about to realize). If they can become younger, deeper and more athletic, then who’s to say they won’t be back in the Finals? The good thing about the Rose signing is that he gives them the kind of playmaker that LeBron was seeking last season – as well as an instant replacement for Irving.
Lang Whitaker: Yes, as long as Rose is playing alongside LeBron James. To be honest, you could probably field a team of three Blogtable members alongside James and Kevin Love and have a chance at winning the Eastern Conference. While Irving is clearly the better player, Rose, to me, plays rather similarly to Irving, with the ability to beat his man off the dribble and not much emphasis on passing or defense. The big differences are Irving’s ability to finish in the paint and his outside shooting, where Rose simply has to get better. But I can see Rose fitting in with Cleveland in the same way Deron Williams was able to catch passes from LeBron and beat scrambling defenses off the dribble.