With the team still floundering despite the recent addition of Luol Deng, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant spoke Wednesday about his disappointment with the team's performance this season. As FOX Sports relays with video, it's become a balancing act of frustration and optimism as the Cavs dig into the second half of 2012-13.
"We're just barely halfway through the season with a new coach, a lot of new players, a lot of people trying to understand their roles and fit in and establish the foundation," Grant said. "I just think it's a really long season."
On Tuesday, the Cavaliers got torched by an ailing Pelicans team that's similarly sputtered this season, with New Orleans leading by as many as 22 in the second half of a 100-89 victory. It felt like a reminder that Kyrie Irving, as good as he is, may never be the kind of No. 1 pick that Anthony Davis is. The Brow went for 30 points, eight blocks and seven rebounds in the win and simply impacts many more facets of the game than Irving.
82 games gives a team lots of time to work through issues and find a rhythm, but Cleveland's issues have been widespread and varied. From the apparent locker room issues involving Dion Waiters to the awkward situation with Andrew Bynum prior to his departure in the Deng trade, it hasn't been a simple problem of X's and O's for coach Mike Brown. Grant seems to attribute the larger issues to an ongoing transition with a young team.
"Anytime you're going through these situations, where you're trying to implement principles and a foundation and build that, certainly those types of questions come up," Grant said when asked of Brown's relationship with the players. "Mike has done a fantastic job with these guys individually."
Despite all the turmoil, Grant remains supportive of his players and coaches, insisting that this group hasn't been given enough time to gel. Since acquiring Deng on Jan. 7, the Cavaliers have posted a 5-6 record, a mild improvement, but one that's underscored by a number of wins against weak teams. Deng looks more like a minor piece than a legitimate season-changing guy, and that's not really surprising.
With preseason expectations for the playoffs and the midseason addition of a former All-Star, the Cavaliers surely expected to be higher up in the standings now. However, with the fifth-worst net rating in the league, per NBA.com, it stands that Cleveland probably just isn't that good.
Still, the message preached Wednesday was patience, and that appears to be the Cavs' plan. The team has a core it won't stray from just yet.