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Talent Does Matter, Just Ask the Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship, in part, because they were lucky enough to have some great players.

Maybe that sounds like a put-down, like they didn’t work for it, and that’s not what I mean at all. This is not me raining on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ parade—which, by the way, was an incredible parade. 1.4 million people showed up! It was a gorgeous day. And they are world champions! What I’m saying is that talent matters.

The Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a small market, plenty of adversity, and a lost championship last year to become champions this year. That’s an accomplishment, no matter how much talent you have. Hard work, hustle, persistence and relationships all matter—a lot, both on and off the court. But let’s take a deeper look at the role of talent.

The Cavs had the number one pick in the NBA Draft 4 times in the last 12 years—3 times in the last 4 years. The only team I can come up with in professional sports that had this kind of run with number one picks is the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL. Granted, they have done nothing with those picks (yet), which proves talent isn’t everything.

Having the number one pick in professional sports allows that team to pick the best player (often most talented) coming out of college (sometimes high school – see the NHL & the MLB).

As to who the Cavs drafted, take a look:

2003 – Lebron James
2011 – Kyrie Irving
2013 – Anthony Bennett – bust, traded to Minnesota with Wiggins for Kevin Love
2014 – Andrew Wiggins – netted them Kevin Love

Granted, Bennett ended up being a bit of a bust, but he and Wiggins were traded for Kevin Love. Say what you want about Kevin Love, but he is a big part of the Cleveland Cavaliers success and was a huge factor in the deciding Game 7. The fact is, that without these draft picks, the Cavs wouldn’t have won. Lebron James was of course the Finals MVP and in many ways willed his team to victory. He had one of the greatest plays in NBA Finals history with his block late in the final game. And in case you missed it, Kyrie Irving was spectacular in the finals and hit the biggest shot of the series. These players all have one thing in common—talent. Make it 2 things—they are all on the Cavs as a result of having the number one pick. Some teams never had the 1st pick let alone 4 of them.

It’s not easy to find talent (especially if you don’t have the first pick), it’s even harder to convince talent to join your group and it’s difficult to keep talent (see Lebron’s decision), but keep trying as it will help your business (Lebron comes home). Don’t just settle for a warm body. Talented players/people can come right into your organization and impact it positively right away. And with sports and business being a numbers game in many ways, talented individuals give you better odds of finding success than those less talented.

Finding talent is a complicated process which is why the other factors are so important, but talent does matter—a lot, just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers.


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3 Key Points:

1) Talent isn’t everything, but it’s pretty important!

2) Don’t settle.

3) While not a guarantee win, having your team stacked with talent will increase your odds of success!





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