Yes, this is Thursday. Leave me alone. I was busy. Once again,. I'm joined by Scott and Rick from Waiting For Next Year for a little discussion. This week's topic: 1991-92 Cavs vs. this year's squad. Mainly not about the actual basketball. More about time traveling and home court advantage and cows. Read on.
Vince: Debate topic: 1991-1992 Cavs vs. this team.
Rick: Well, a couple things jump out at you right away. First, the current Cavs hang their hat on defense. It is the primary focus. You certainly can't say that about the former Cavs. They did a good job rebounding, and Nance certainly could make you think twice about driving the lane, but they weren't as intense a defensive team.
The obvious answer is that LeBron James makes all the difference in the world. The Price/Daugherty/Nance Cavs couldn't beat the team with the best player in the world (MJ) so why would they be able to do it against the LeCavs? Hard to argue that point to be honest.
Scott: Video clips linked to said teams:
90s: Jordan over Ehlo.
Today: No regard for human life.
Vince: Alright, let's break down the starting five for each squad and see if the 1991 incarnation has an edge anywhere.
1991-1992— Mark Price, Craig Ehlo, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Hot Rod Williams.
Current — Mo Williams, Delonte West, LeBron James, Zydruans Ilgauskas and we'll say Ben Wallace since he played most the season as the starter.
Scott: Price and Mo are scary similar given the evolution of the game.
Delonte would be lock down on Ehlo.
The other three would have to guard James and just hope to deny any passes to Z.
Rick: Price and Mo are both excellent shooters, but Price was much more of a true point than Mo. That match-up would be worth the price of admission for me. Price was the king of the early shot clock three pointer. If he sensed the other team gaining momentum he would just dribble the ball with a few feet of the three point line and launch. Beautiful shot.
Delonte and Ehlo would be the ultimate wash to me. Ehlo could play some defense on guys not named Jordan, and Delonte West is no Michael Jordan. I don't see either player having a huge offensive night. If anythig, Delonte probably gets caught playing help defense leaving Ehlo open in the corner.
Nance would be a problem for the current Cavs. He could neutralize Andy or Z as offensive weapons, depending on whom they put him on. Although, it isn't that much of a stretch to put him on LeBron.
The recipe for stopping the '91 Cavs would be to get them out of their comfort zone on offense. They loved to dump the ball to Daugherty at the corner of the lane. He would dribble and wait to see what you did defensively. Double team and he passes out of it. Often times just to rest. Don't double and he uses the baby hook, the up and under, or the jump shot. Leave your feet and he slides by you for a finger roll or soft shot.
Deny Daugherty the ball. Put Andy on him. I don't think he would appreciate Andy's style of defense.
If the LeCavs are making outside shots, no way the former Clevelanders can beat them. (Although you could say that about 99% of teams.) LeBron would prove to be too much for Hot Rod to guard. He would blow right past Williams. Nance would have to collapse, leaving Andy or Joe Smith wide open. Daugherty wasn't a great defender. He got the reputation of being soft for a reason. He was. He was the best passing center of his generation, but I said many times watching that team that I would rather have the best shot blocking center, or best rebounding center over Daugherty's skill set. He was a good player, don't get me wrong- but he got out-muscled too often. Against the current Cavs they would exploit it.
Scott: Dare we even discuss the benches?
Terrell Brandon, danny ferry, bobby phills...
Danny Gibson, Andy Varejao, Sasha/Wally
Rick: Well, Phills was a rookie and really didn't play much. Brandon was a rookie as well, but certainly showed promise, especially when Price was hurt. Andy and Joe Smith would be huge off the bench for the Cavs, and Wally as well. Wally would back Ehlo down and score in the post.
Vince: Alright, maybe let's also take a look at the vaunted 88-89 squad for defensive reasons. That team was second in defensive efficiency according to basketball-reference, while being in the top ten in offensive efficiency. Obviously, Ron Harper is the difference between the two. Is that squad a better matchup for that reason?
Rick: That could certainly be...
Vince: PER's for each.
Mark Price: 22.7
Mo Williams: 17.3
Brad Daugherty: 23.0
Zydrunas Ilgauskas: 18.9
Craig Ehlo: 13.8
Delonte West: 14.2
Larry Nance: 21.4
LeBron James: 31.6
Hot Rod Williams: 18.6
Ben Wallace: 12.1
Rick: Impressive numbers for the '88 squad, but the bench would be a bigger issue for this team. Mike Sanders and Craig Ehlo would be it for the '88 club. Neither of them are much of a problem for the current Cavs.
Scott: I was seven years old. Just throwing that out there.
Rick: I'm 36 years old, and have seen a lot of Cavs basketball. I really didn't watch much of the miracle of Richfield team, so I can't speak for that group. I am also more 'old school' than any of the writers at WFNY, and I'm telling you that there is no way this current Cavs team is topped by any of the previous teams. The only way any team wearing Cavs uniforms beats them is if we put together an all-Cavs team.
Vince: Maybe the better question to ask is this: In a seven game series, the current squad wins in how many games?
Rick: I'd say the current Cavs win in 6. But who has home court advantage?
Vince: You have to assume this squad is at the Q and the old squad is at the Coliseum.
Scott: And is the crowd split between a bunch of guys with moustaches/stonewashed jeans as well as LBJ jerseys and WFNY t-shirts? Does the former not know who LBJ and company are yet? Will the Richfield loudspeakers play November Rain and MotownPhilly? This all matters.
Vince: Alright. Let's lay this down.
The crowd while at the Q is what we have now. The crowd at Richfield is full of people from that era. Obviously, they have no idea who any of the current Cavs are, but watching LeBron, they immediately connect him with Jordan, and thusly, hate him.
Music at the Q is normal, music at Richfield is from that era, but if you pay attention while you're at games, you'll know that the two are not all that dissimilar. In fact, much of the same shit is played.
One factor we can't forget about: The farm animals outside of Richfield. Don't know if they really play a factor, but they're definitely worth mentioning.
Proximity factor: LeBron is much closer to Richfield at his lavish Akron mansion. He might like that and play better there.
Scott: So that’s a yes on the moustaches and stonewash? Obvious distraction to the current Cavaliers — it would be like playing in front of 20,000 people in costume. Think Rocky Horror. Perhaps more so than the animals.
Rick: I have to say, I would more than likely be pulling for the 'Old Cavs'. Especially if I got to go back to Richfield. Those seats were comfy. Not very pretty, but comfy.
Vince: What about distractions for the older Cavs? Lottery tickets dropping from the ceiling, music filling every open moment during the game, the Scream Team, Nicole, the contests during timeouts, plus all the pretty ladies in the seats.... They might feel like the stepped into the middle of a carnival gone very wrong.
Scott: I think of it like when that girl flies through that kids bedroom window in Animal House. Though the regurgi-cam has to go.
Rick: Well, what happens when Mark Price's band Lifeline gets blared through the old Richfield PA system? It's a bit of a different sound than Young Jeezy.
Scott: I assume that’s the equivalent of pumping crowd noise into the dome when the other team has the ball.
Vince: See, the 1991 Cavs aren't just showing up for a game at that point. They're showing up into an entertainment warzone littered with landmines like Lil Wayne and Gewn Stefani.
Not to mention, the cheerleaders! I have to imagine they are dressed a bit more risque these days, and athletes are notoriously distracted by cheerleaders.
Rick: Ok, we're not talking about the 50's here...
Scott: Don’t forget Loudville.
Vince: Don't forget the cows.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.