Getting to the top is an excruciating challenge for every team or athlete, but to remain in that position is like dealing with a totally different animal. It’s where the real oppressive work comes. And LeBron James and the Cavs are starting to feel the heat of being the NBA’s defending champions.
As if that is not enough pressure to deal with, the Cavs are doing it with an 8-man team. They have lost 3 key players to injuries. Kyrie Irving has hamstring tightness and missed three games. Kevin Love is out due to food poisoning. And J.R. Smith has been away for a while now after suffering a thumb injury.
Will LeBron James ‘ willpower be enough to keep the Cavs afloat throughout the season? Against Chicago, the Cavs leader twisted his ankle after landing on the foot of Michael Carter-Williams.
LeBron James ‘ wear and tear
Apart from Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith and Kevin Love missing games the Cavs have been having lesser practice sessions too. The fact that they don’t have a stable backup point guard is something that’s slowing them down, and it remains to be seen how much LeBron James can take in terms of fatigue and overall leadership.
“It can [wear on you],” LeBron James told ESPN. “It’s just tough. It’s slowing up our process because of what we’re trying to build.
“Obviously we’re trying to build it with a lot of our guys out just on the injured reserve list right now. We’ll get better, guys will get healthy, but obviously we know Bird is out for the remainder of the season, we know J.R. Smith is out for a great period of time. Hopefully, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love can get back soon. Duns was out a couple game. We really don’t have those many bodies anyway. Guys just got to continue to get better. Step in.”
No backup point guard
The Cavs ‘ lack of a backup point guard is no big secret. Iman Shumpert isn’t really a fitting solution, although he’s been filling in for that void. The same goes for Jordan McRae. The Cavs have Kay Felder, but he’s a rookie in a team that’s prepping to defend a championship title.
“Kay’s in the process of learning on the fly,” James said. “He’s a rookie and is going to have his mistakes and things of that nature. It’s tough on him because we’re a franchise trying to win a championship. He has to have a fast-track mind. But we don’t have a backup point guard,” LeBron James said in a report by Cleveland.com.
“Us having 13 assists tonight is not who we are. I had half the team’s assists and that’s not good for our team because we’ve got guys who need the ball in their hands and put the ball in the right position and the right spots for them to be successful. It’s tough for us.”
Life at the top of the competition is no bed of roses. It comes with the territory for those who are considered the best. For now, the least LeBron James can do is hold the line until Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith is back, ready to share the weight on their shoulders. One can never be a champion without that drive.
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