Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dark cloud on sunny day

The weather is starting to warm up. The sun has been out. Opening Day and the NBA playoffs are just around the corner. And you have been feeling good about both the Indians and the Cavs.

Things were looking up.

Then on C.C. Sabathia's second pitch today in his last spring training start, his pitching hand gets hit with a line-drive and then the Cavs dump one against the pitiful Knicks.

Instant stomach ache.

I know in the big picture, this day will just be a minor road bump. C.C. should be fine and as for the Cavs, either they beat the Bulls on Saturday or not. And even if the Cavs stumble to the fifth spot, which would be disappointing they would still get home court advantage over Toronto or Miami. And honestly, the Cavs might play better against a good team than a sub .500 team.

But days like this just allow Cleveland sports fans to have their imaginations run wild with black cloud conspiracy thoughts.

I am less concerned with the Indians as C.C.'s x-ray was negative and the games aren't real yet. The Cavs and this lack of a rotation bothers me.

A few years ago, New Jersey made the finals twice in a row and then fired Byron Scott. They have not been back but no one has ever called for his replacement's head. Scott earned the wrath of his superstar, Jason Kidd. Mike Brown better be careful. He has seemingly gone out his way to alienate every veteran on this team. I know Larry was struggling with his shot but so was LeBron. I don't understand benching Gooden and Larry for almost all if not all of the fourth quarter. If I am sick of Gooden being Brown's scapegoat then he must be too. Brown has no plan of who plays and when. It must drive the vets crazy. It can't please LeBron either.

Almost everything that has worked for the Cavs this year has come out of desperation. Boobie only got to play because Larry was hurt. Sasha only got to play because LeBron got hurt. Larry and Sasha became the starting guards because Boobie got hurt. Newble's season minutes were in the single digits until he was forced off the bench.

A recent complaint has been the lack of bench scoring. Well your best bench scorer is now a starter. Marshall has seen his minutes slashed. And Damon Jones has his house for sale and has had to buy some new suits as he now owns Newble's inactive spot. Many a Cavs fan complained about Damon Jones earlier in the season and I am not saying he should be playing more than 10 minutes but he was scoring off the bench. What has Boobie done in his return. Will it take him stubbing his toe for Damon to get a chance to play.

If a coach has no plan for his bench, how can the bench be expected to succeed?

As ridiculous as it sounds, Mike Brown's job could be at stake. And I think it should be. This is the NBA not high school or college basketball. If a coach's players do not believe in him. He is not long for the job.

A week ago I would not have said this. But Brown's ridiculous quote about a rotation not being important shattered that. Yes, of course, each game is different. But no one know their role. Z and Gooden get the ball in the first quarter and then are often forgotten. Snow plays 30 minutes than five minutes. Newble plays good defense and knocks down open shots but then gets banished back to the bench. Damon goes from trusted leader to towel boy.

And the scary thing is with LeBron, the Cavs still can make noise in the playoffs. But for Mike Brown the bottom line on his future for the Cavs rests on more than just winning a few rounds of playoff basketball. If they lose in the first round, he should be the scape goat and veteran coach should be brought in.