Kyle Korver entered the NBA in 2003. He hasn’t been thought of as a journeyman, but this is quietly his fifth team in his fourteen career. Two weeks ago, Korver was traded in season for the second time in his career. The first trade sent him from his first team, the Philadelphia 76ers to the Utah Jazz. Korver was sent from a middle of the pack team to a team with higher aspirations back then, just as he was this year when the Atlanta Hawks traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Korver’s change of scenery again elevates him from a middle of the pack team, a team with much higher aspirations, aspirations of repeating as NBA Champions.
The first game Korver played with the Cavaliers was their loss in his former home of Utah. His results were less than stellar, scoring two points against the Jazz, and two points the following night in Portland against the Blazers. He did pour in 18 points in his first win with Cleveland against the Sacramento Kings two days later.
Expecting this set up to work right away would be asking a little too much. Korver was clueless on the floor for much of the time before he could get a couple of practices under his belt, which is completely understandable.
“The first couple games I felt bad because we didn’t have much put in at all and they were trying to force me the ball a little bit and we lost. You could tell they were trying to get me going and trying to find me to get this going a little bit.” Korver told reporters on Wednesday following his first practice in Cleveland.
The day following that practice Korver looked much more comfortable on the floor, scoring nine points against the Phoenix Suns. He also said he finally felt like a member of the Cavs. “I finally got to see my family in Cleveland yesterday and it was kind of like ‘okay, I guess we really are Cavs now.’ Until somethings fall into place off the court too things don’t really feel like they are all the way real and settled.”
The level of comfort that Korver has with the team is only going to increase as time moves on. Even though the team is only 2-3 in his five games early on, he can see the bigger picture. “No one seems to be panicking here [following the loss to the Warriors], I’m just going to follow their example and get better.” He said.
After playing to try and beat LeBron while he was in Atlanta, the tables have turned for Korver. The past two seasons the Cavaliers have swept the Hawks out of the playoffs. “It’s interesting. I’ve spent so many years on the other team. They’ve put me into depression for a week or two after the season. Over that time you respect their game but you really want to beat those guys. It’s interesting to come on the other side but this locker room is amazing and they’ve been so welcoming to me. It’s a really tight group.” Korver said.
With the team not playing their best basketball of the year at this moment, it would be an easy route to point a finger at the new guy, but that would be the wrong route to go, and certainly one the Cavaliers aren’t taking.
“I see where we’re going, I see how it’s all going to come together. We’re going to click into the right mode here shortly and we will be ready to go come playoff time. I’m just kind of following their lead and keep trying to learn and do my part better.” Korver said.
Time will tell how this experiment works in the playoffs, but one things is for certain. Korver won’t go into a post-season depression after losing to the Cavs this season.