Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What Would a Dion Waiters Trade Look Like?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

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First off, I am firmly in the camp that believes the Cavaliers should not trade Waiters. This year’s Cavs offense has been 10 points per possession better with Waiters on the court, and he is part of the most efficient Cavs lineup. Since ESPN reported that he was being hawked on the open market, his play has been stellar. Scoring has ticked up, but what’s been most impressive is how he’s improving his shot selection towards the mostly-layups-and-threes prescription and reducing his tendency to fire away from midrange.

You could examine this cynically and come to the conclusion that he is seizing the opportunity to audition for the rest of the league. There are some rumors (which feel pretty true given the soap opera of the past two weeks) about the iciness of his relationship with Kyrie Irving. Signs may point to his desire to get out of Dodge, but punting the most dynamic player of a frustrating Cavs team would be a mistake. He gets a lot of flak, mostly based on his propensity to shoot everything all the time and who the Cavs passed on to take him, but he has shown noticeable improvement. Waiters’ ability to slash through multiple layers of defense provides precious movement for a stagnant offense. There aren’t any other players on the team besides Kyrie who can impose their will to the degree Waiters can, regardless of his deficiencies. He likely has a way to go as a player, and it feels as if he is on the path to realizing this potential, be it as a sixth man (my money is on this) or as a starter.

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Kyrie & Dion, and the Free Agent Class of 2013

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

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Many areas plague the early performance of the Cleveland Cavaliers, particularly on offense.  Those include poor individual play, a lack of team chemistry, potential redundancy of skills between various players, limited implementation of an offensive system…this list could extend for a while.

Today, I will briefly look at two of those problems.  First, the combination of Kyrie and Dion in the backcourt, then the impact of the 2013 free agency haul of Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack, and Earl Clark.

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5:34 Remaining in the First Quarter

Monday, November 18th, 2013

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Author’s Note:  This article was conceived on Saturday morning, for publishing early Monday.  I hadn’t started as of 7:00 pm Sunday though, as Mallory inquired about posting the podcast Monday.  I replied, “Absolutely”.  Some of the discussion / questions below about the players only meeting and aftermath are slightly dated.  Time moves fast in a basketball hot-spot like Cleveland.

After the fifth game of the season, Dan Gilbert tweeted that if the season were a game, nine minutes remained in the first frame.  Now eleven games in, not much more time ticked off the clock.  Unfortunately, six minutes and twenty-six seconds into this analogical game, the Cavs initially falter 18 to 11.  A Kyrie turnover netted the opposition a transition bucket, as did a long rebound off a Dion brick.  Largely invisible for the first half of the quarter, Earl Clark subbed out for CJ Miles, who mercifully drained a long three.  Other than that, a Tristan put-back, and-one serve as the only highlights.  In this hypothetical game, down ten midway through the first, Kyrie called timeout, where a small tussle appears to break out on the Cavalier bench; upon returning from the brief hiatus, Kyrie spell binds with a dizzying dribbling display into a deep trey.

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Early thoughts on the Season…

Friday, November 8th, 2013

C.J. Miles, David West

Lacking creativity, and also time between work and family, today I offer a few simple bullets on the early season.

1.  C.J. Miles for Sixth Man of the Year?  Let me take a 5-game sample and dream for a bit.

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Sizing up the Pacific: The Sacramento Kings

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

The Sacreattle Superkings were the subject of a protracted and fairly nasty relocation struggle last year, a struggle which highlighted how highly sought after NBA franchises are since the one in the tussle was a fairly terrible one. The Kings, now of Sacramento for the foreseeable future, have been trudging through 6 seasons of awful basketball. Unlike their elite early-2000’s contemporaries, Sacramento flamed out pretty bad after their highest point, even less gracefully than the Suns. However, their ownership group appears to be of a more (read: not actively trying to sabotage their team’s on court fortunes) supportive kind.

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Sizing up the Southeast: The Charlotte Bobcats

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

The Charlotte Bobcats are an NBA team that is probably full of nice guys who try real hard and this might be the nicest thing I can say about them. Hey at least Byron Mullens doesn’t play for them anymore!

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Sizing up the Southeast: The Washington Wizards

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Another “sizing up”, and another time I draw a team on the up-and-up.  Today we’re covering the Washington Wizards!

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Sizing up the Central: The Chicago Bulls

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Yesterday, Robert looked the Pacers up-and-down and concluded they were still top dogs. Today, I’ll be peering west on I-90 and checking out how the Bulls and the Cavs match up with one another.

The Cavs augmented what was already a fun, somewhat strange team with some fun and definitely strange players. All of which theoretically play basketball with each other and then hopefully win games together. Keep in mind there is an opponent involved (this tends to slip through the cracks every offseason, as everyone tends to be overtly optimistic about team prospects), more often than not from the Central Division. Perhaps the most intriguing of this crop is the Chicago Bulls, a team whose ’13-’14 prospects are a genuine mystery.

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The Day the Boos(ic) Died

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Wowza, what a Monday! Free Agency is in full “contracts can’t be officially signed for another week” swing and CtB hits you with Kevin’s epic lead-out to the draft and lead-in to free agency, Mallory’s podcast with the always spectacular Scott Raab and now … a couple of Instagrammed snapshots and personal anecdotes.

*cough* *cough*

Aim to please, folks. Aim to please.

But seeing the draft in person is a weird jag. After last year’s draft, Scott Henkle and I talked at length about the unique experience of attending the draft as a fan/spectator in a piece for The Classical. This year, the experience was equally unique, just replace “drinking overpriced beers” with “the nagging feeling that you should always be tracking down ‘the scoop’ and then realizing that the NBA will bend over backwards to make sure the scoop they want you to get finds you— and not one bit more.” Access to the recently drafted players — especially the top picks — is very controlled and has everything to do with getting these players on as much television as possible.

Dennis Scott and Anthony Bennett

Anthony Bennett’s name was called. Then he was ushered to his on-air interview with Dennis Scott of NBA TV. Then onto his press conference, which ran a scant five minutes, before he was ushered to the “Live Shot” area (the Nets’ practice court converted into about a dozen booths, a veritable gamut of TV interviews) where we were told he would be for over an hour. Not only was other press not allowed to hear the “Live Shot” interviews, but we weren’t allowed to wait (okay, fine, creepily linger) outside the area.

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Measured Expectations

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The stuff dreams are made of... Giannis Adetokunbo's hands.

As a sports fan, it’s often a challenge to remain reasonable. At this time of year, at draft time, it’s a real challenge not only to manage our expectations, but to not get swept away. It’s difficult not to fall in love with some player’s unique skill set or measurements. That’s because the draft is all about imagination — and, more often than not, players who can be termed “very good basketball players” do not excite the sports fan’s imagination. There’s something else there that makes us dream big about certain guys.

Every year, very good basketball players tumble down the board on draft day and go on, in many cases, to have fulfilling pro careers and (one might imagine) lives. What really makes a sports fan see red at this time of year are the players who may not be the very best basketball players, but who have some wrinkle to their make-up that convinces us that Player X has it. This is why we go nuts over guys with wingspans never before measured or verticals never before reached or athleticism never before embodied. These are the things that whisper, “This guy is different. Okay, well, how different? How about future all-star different? How about future defensive anchor of a NBA championship defense different? How about solid rotation player different?”

But, hey, that last guy was a pick toward the back of the second round. So … you know, that’s really good!

Fans even know that, no matter how much a singularly exciting skill or statistic is, likely, their fascination is getting sold a bill of goods. We have numbers to help protect us from our sports imaginations, but even those numbers are being used to suggest a hypothetical projection of some future time; that’s using numbers to fuel imagination. And imagination, at the end of the day, is what makes this all so much (kinda) fun anyway.

No, Rudy Gobert is not likely to be the type of shot obliterating big man in the pros that he was at the combine. We know that. But … maybe. No, the fact that Giannis Adetokunbo has looked (occasionally) amazing against pretty low level competition does not mean he’ll look even remotely like that going against NBA players. But, man, have you seen those hands?! Do you realize he grew three inches this past year and is now a hyper-athletic 6’9” small forward prospect? Maybe, maybe… Yeah, sure, Alex Len’s a good player. He’s got good size and decently developed skills for this point in his career. But, wow, Nerlens Noel just looks better doing it. Those hands. That hair. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

(Side note: Yes, it’s official. This is the first year I have become irrationally attached to a player’s pro potential based, largely if not in full, on his hair style. It’s a piece of the package)

Every year, there’s a player who should be a full-on imagination all-star, but who gets caught up in someone (or many people’s) insistence that we have moved beyond imagination, that we are reasonable people now.

Kenneth Faried should have gotten everyone’s imaginations excited. He sure did mine. His rebounding was that bizarre wrinkle in his make-up that (along with his hair – See! It’s a real thing) should have had people dreaming up scenarios where Faried played … well, about as good as he has in his first couple of years. But he was too short. Conventional wisdom suggested that he might not be able to achieve in the pros what he did in college. It happens. And so GMs talked themselves down, away from the rebounding (and the hair!) and decided to let conventional wisdom rob them of a very exciting young player. It happens.

So, who will it be this year? Who will be the player whose singular skill, combination of intangibles or collection of measurements will be looked past because we’re being smart? And who will teams reach for because, for an instant, they blinked and let imagination get the better of them? Here’s to this draft’s imagination all-stars: you may not end up being great players but, just for a moment, you showed something that made the less rational fan part of my brain go, “Right now, I can see him being awesome. It may not happen, but I can just see it!”