Love Hurts?

The Cavs might be too good for their own good
August 25, 2014

IN 2012--13 a Lakers team featuring Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol went 45--37 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Down in Miami, a trio of superstars—LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh—led the Heat to their second consecutive NBA title.

James of course is back in Cleveland, and on Aug. 23 he will be teamed with power forward Kevin Love, if, as expected, the Cavs' trade with Minnesota becomes official. Those two perennial All-Stars will pair with point guard Kyrie Irving to give the Cavaliers a potential superteam. But could they more closely resemble the Lakers than the Heat?

Yes, at least according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science called "The Too-Much-Talent Effect." It says that teams in interdependent sports such as basketball can be harmed by having too many stars who can't or won't make sacrifices for the good of the team. In studying 10 recent NBA seasons, researchers found that clubs with more than 55% of its players producing an Estimated Wins Added in the league's top third have seen their winning percentages start to decline. For the Cavs, who also have Shawn Marion, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varej√£o and Dion Waiters, that means they could wind up less than the sum of their parts.

"Can you take that top talent and coordinate it effectively? That's the key," says Adam Galinsky of Columbia University, one of the paper's authors.

Galinsky says to keep an eye on the four most indicative traits of a well-coordinated team: assists, defensive rebounding rate, field goal percentage and turnovers.

For this year's Cavaliers, Galinsky says the player who may be most affected by all that talent is Waiters, a skilled third-year guard: "They'll need to decide by the trade deadline whether or not they should move him."

By that time we may also know whether long-suffering Cleveland fans should brace for more disappointment.

THEY SAID IT

"We take your lunch box. We take your sandwich. We take your juice box. We take your applesauce. And we take your spork and we break it."

Steve Smith

Ravens wide receiver, describing his new team's style of play.

GO FIGURE

0--15

The Red Sox' record on Aug. 15, the birthday of noted Boston fan Ben Affleck, since Good Will Hunting hit theaters in December 1997. The Sox lost to the Astros 5--3 last Friday.

7'5"

Height of Sim Bhullar, the first Indian-born player to sign with an NBA team. If he makes Sacramento's roster he would be just the eighth player of at least that height in NBA history.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 18

Days for the Twins' Triple A Rochester affiliate to finish a no-hitter. On Aug. 11, Logan Darnell threw six hitless innings to end a rain-suspended game from July 24 in which Trevor May blanked Durham for three frames.

21

Goals scored in one game by forward Yanick Djouzi Manzizila, who helped Kongo United beat Balrog 30--0 in a low-level Swedish league game.

THREE PHOTOSDAVID LIAM KYLE/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (IRVING); DAMIAN STROHMEYER/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (JAMES); JORDAN JOHNSON/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (LOVE)55 The Cavs do not want to cross this percent of an NBA team's players that are in the top third of the league's Estimated Wins Added PHOTOJIM DAVIS/THE BOSTON GLOBE/GETTY IMAGES (AFFLECK) PHOTOGARRETT ELLWOOD/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (BHULLAR) PHOTOROB CARR/GETTY IMAGES (SMITH)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)