CLEVELAND -- When the Cleveland Cavaliers walked off the court at Oracle Arena following a Game 5 loss to the Golden State Warriors and the completion of the 2017 NBA Finals, they did so disappointed with the results, especially after mounting an historic comeback on the way to the championship the year prior.
And while that disappointment lingered into the offseason, a new feeling is in the locker room at the start of training camp, and that is one of resolve.
“Guys are hungry,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said after the first day of practice. “That left a bad taste in our mouths.
“Coming back this year, I just think we’ve got a lot of different looks, a lot of different versatility, offensively and defensively, so I’m looking forward to this year. I’m very excited. The guys are very excited. It was very competitive. Have a lot of guys that deserve to play and that can play, so it was a great mix.”
And the players agree with Lue’s assessment of the mindset heading into the 2017-2018 season.
“I was definitely angry,” center Tristan Thompson said. “You never want to get a ‘gentleman’s sweep,’ losing 4-1. Guys are motivated and hungry. I think guys have that burning desire to get back on the court and take back what we feel is ours.”
According to Lue, the Cavaliers spent the first day of practice installing offensive and defensive sets and getting everyone acclimated to the systems, especially after the team added guards Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon and Isaiah Thomas, as well as forwards Jae Crowder, Jeff Green, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic through trades and free agency during the offseason.
“It’s a challenge every year, especially when you add new guys, and the guys we added, four or five new guys,” Lue said. “It’s always tough and challenging. Anytime you get new pieces, new players, it’s always challenging, but I’m up for the challenge and so are the players. We’ll figure it out and it’ll be a good year for us.”
Although Lue understands the challenge of integrating new talents, he appreciates the professional nature displayed by the players in figuring out what is best for the organization, which he attributes to their buy-in to the Cavaliers’ culture and desire to once again pursue an NBA Championship.
“We’ve got a great group of guys and they understand that it’s all about winning and sacrifice,” Lue said.