Random dribbles on the Cavaliers during their first week of camp …
1. One of the best things about the current group of Cavs is that they actually like each other. That much is pretty evident by those who view practice and keep up with the team off the court.
2. That sounds basic, but just know in the NBA, it’s not often the case. Players may like and enjoy their teammates on the court and in practice. But they’re generally not friends, hanging out and going to dinner after work is done. They almost always go their separate ways.
3. These Cavs can do that, too. But they are also a tight-knit group, an unselfish group, a group that knows how to work hard and avoid drama.
4. None of this is to say there won’t be challenges, but when it comes to pro sports, this team appears to be as cohesive as it gets. Basically, those who remember the revered “good guy” Cavs of Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Mark Price of the 1980s and ’90s should enjoy these Cavs equally as well.
5. Yes, three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell fits that culture. So do Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, without question the quietest guy on the court. But it’s not just the main core. The likes of Caris LeVert, Kevin Love, Isaac Okoro and Ricky Rubio are in on it, too. In fact, the entire roster is.
6. As relayed earlier, Garland put the early days of practice this way: “It’s great vibes. A lot of energy. It’s still a lot of guys that’s starting to get to know everything, get to know everybody. But immaculate vibes around the gym. Everybody’s coming in [with] high energy, ready to work.”
7. You can’t help but credit president of basketball operations Koby Altman and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff for creating this environment. And I remember when Altman was supposedly about to get canned. That was only, like, two years ago. Oh how times have changed.
8. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich once told me that San Antonio tries to acquire players “who have gotten over themselves.” These Cavs seem to fit that rally cry.
9. You may be thinking, “Yeesh, Amico. You sure are blowing a lot of smoke about a team that hasn’t won anything. Heck, they haven’t even made the playoffs.”
10. All of that is true. But there is something different about these Cavs, something we haven’t seen in a long time. They are young, with the right mix of age and experience. They are talented, with the right combination of size and speed. And they just may be the deepest team in the East.
11. But what may benefit them as much as any of that, maybe more, is that they get along and enjoy playing with their teammates. They clearly admire their coach. They are already excited about building off last year’s pleasant surprise of a season. And all of it can really take them places.