Ponder this starting lineup for a moment: Andrew Bynum at center Anderson Varejao and Earl Clark at forward Jarrett Jack and Kyrie Irving at guard. Off the bench: Alonzo Gee and C.J. Miles with Clark sliding over to power forward and Jack playing point guard when needed. You have a two-deep of established NBA players at every position which the Cavs haven’t had in years. Is it a playoff team? If they play Mike Brown defense they would certainly have a shot.

Of course the puzzle is missing a couple of pieces. No Dion Waiters no Tristan Thompson no Tyler Zeller. And no Anthony Bennett or Sergey Karasev. Is it possible that the Cavs could begin the season with none of their vaunted youngsters in the starting lineup save Irving or even in the rotation? Probably not but the important thing is that it is possible. Folks are assuming that Jack and Clark were brought on board to assist in redeeming the promises of a playoff spot that were made on draft night. That certainly was a factor but I think it’s quite likely that Chris Grant as usual is taking the longer view. And I would bet Mike Brown played a role as well. The long view is this team is about two years away from being really really good and that the main goal for the 2013-14 season is to figure out which players have the talent toughness and intelligence to be part of the core of that good team.

Last year was a non stop comedy of bad defense turnovers and ill-considered shots. Some of it was due to inexperience some was due to in my mind to a lack of emphasis on fundamentals and some without a doubt was due to a sense of entitlement. There is no question that Brown will stress fundamentals more than Byron Scott did but at the end of the day players respond to the incentives that are placed in front of them and last year’s players knew two things: that there was nobody else with enough talent to threaten their playing time and that they weren’t going to win many games regardless of whether they worked hard on defense. Mike Brown knows that both of those things had to change.