I enjoyed the Kyrie Irving Era. Discuss.
Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category
Former Cavs assistant coach Chris Jent has left the team to take an assistant coaching position with the Ohio State Buckeyes. My writeup on Jent’s move can be found over at NBC. Best of luck to Mr. Jent, his family, and the Buckeyes.
According to Chad Ford, the Cavs have traded Justin Harper to the Magic for two future second round picks. Fare thee well, Justin. We shall never forget you.
Yes, I know the bylines here are very small. And I know the masthead that I asked my site designer, Spencer Hall, who has built the look of this site from the ground up for absolutely no money and deserves favorable mention from me at any possible time I can give it to him, to have removed a few minutes ago said “By John Krolik.” (If any of you remember, the pre-Spencer site looked like garbage, and for some reason, none of the post titles could have capital letters in them.)
However, it should be pretty clear by now that while I was the only person writing here for a while, that is now anything but the case. I should have had the masthead changed when Tom Pestak first came aboard as links editor, but I am lazy and didn’t want to bother Spencer, because, again, he does everything for free and I feel guilty asking him to do things.
I am making this announcement because a a lot of people on twitter and in the comments section thought I wrote Colin’s piece from last night, which was called “the best thing anyone’s written in a while,” “maybe my (meaning John Krolik’s) best post,” and “John Krolik at his best.” Obviously, that is something I’d like to avoid in the future. Sometime when it isn’t midnight, I’ll probably set up a separate twitter account for Cavs: The Blog so that every article doesn’t tweet under my twitter handle, and I’m already making some site fixes that I should have made months, if not years ago, to make it more obvious that this blog is now very much a team operation.
Tom, Ryan, Colin, Kevin, and Mo have all done or are doing tremendous work for this site, and deserve far more credit for whatever cache it holds at this current moment than I do, to say the least. It makes me very sad when they do not get the credit they deserve for a piece they write so please: even though they’re small read the byline on each piece written on this blog. Thank you for your patience. As a reward, here is the trailer for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Karen O is awesome. Now go read Colin’s piece and realize that he wrote it.
Clementine: I had you pegged, didn’t I?
Joel: You had the whole human race pegged.
Clementine: Hmm. Probably.Joel: I still thought you were gonna save my life… even after that.
Clementine: Ohhh… I know.
Joel: It would be different, if we could just give it another go-round.
Clementine: Remember me. Try your best; maybe we can…
…Joel: I don’t see anything I don’t like about you.
Clementine: But you will! But you will, and I’ll get bored with you and feel trapped, because that’s what happens with me.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
So here we are, eight years later. After all the hope, the triumph, the heartbreak, the bitterness, and a truly awful season of basketball, we return again to the beginning. The #1 pick in the draft.
Only this time, the team is prepared like it wasn’t before. The 2nd player the Cavs take in this draft will be considerably better than Jason Kapono. Anderson Varejao isn’t Carlos Boozer or Ricky Davis. This time, the team is ready to do things the right way from day one.
Of course, Kyrie isn’t LeBron. Maybe that’s the best part, more likely the worst one. But the team has the best thing it could have hoped for: a fresh start. Here are a few more scattered thoughts:
– Kyrie Irving is the guy. I hope there will be no real debate on this. He’s one of two players in the draft with both great production and great athletic tools, and he’s the one with a position. And it happens to be the most important position on the floor.
The “rap” on Irving is that he doesn’t have “superstar potential,” but ever since those new hand-check rules went into effect, hyper-fast guards who know how to score have been consistently surprising people. Marvin Williams was supposed to have more star potential than Chris Paul. A lot of people thought Beasley had more star power than the reigning MVP.
I’m expecting Irving to be “safe,” meaning he’ll step in and flirt with top-10 point guard status fairly soon, but I think he has a better chance of being one of the best players in the league in three or four years than most people do. I am absolutely itching for the Kyrie Irving era to begin in Cleveland.
– I cannot stress enough how important patience will be going forward. Kyrie can be built around, and the team has some pieces in place, but this team will be a work in progress for at least another year, and it must be treated as such. We learned that lesson at the expense of the poor Clippers tonight.
The Clippers made what seemed like a completely logical trade at the deadline: they cut salary and traded for a point guard whose skills compliment those of their budding franchise player’s. It ended up blowing up in their face, hard, to the point where I can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt that the Cavs prevented the Irving/Gordon/Griffin era from launching in Clipperland. (Not a huge twinge, especially since that team isn’t going anywhere until they can get a coach who will make Blake buy in on defense, but a twinge.)
The point isn’t that the Clippers made an indefensible trade: they made their bet after flopping a set with a rainbow flop on the board, the Cavs had two spades in their hand, and they ended up hitting a flush on the river. (My poker is a bit shaky, but I’m pretty sure the odds of the Cavs coming out with that pick were even worse than what I just described.)
The point isn’t that the Cavs’ 2.9% chance ended up coming through — it’s that the Clippers, a team in no position to make a legitimate playoff run in the next season or two, made a move that took away from their upside for a short-term gain.
Teams in the Cavs and Clippers’ position should NEVER, EVER DO THAT. The move blew up in the Clippers’ face in the lottery in reality — maybe it would have ended up blowing up if the pick they traded turned into the 8th pick, and Jan Vesely ended up becoming an absolute monster.
The point is that the Clippers should know about far Mo Williams, Vinny Del Negro, Blake Griffin, and Eric Gordon are going to take them, and Griffin and Gordon are good enough so that they should have dared to aim higher and been willing to risk one or two years of underperforming the kind of expectations a talent like Griffin brings. The Clippers’ pick revitalized the Cavs’ franchise — they lesson they should learn from the trade that got it will be just as important.
– Next season is not the season. The season after that may not be the season. But there is progress that can be made, and it’s progress that should be made at the correct pace. I’m actually hoping for a 35-win season next year, with about 12 games where Irving goes off, everything clicks, and we see the team’s potential, which will lead to another high draft pick in a better draft before the team really gears up to become a contender in the East again.
– As for the #4 pick, I really have no idea at this point. (DARN YOU, HARRISON BARNES.) Walker and Knight are the guys I feel best about overall, but that would be a crowded backcourt, and there’s only room for one point guard. Valanciunas and Kanter are both question marks, and I have concerns about the former’s ability to stretch the floor for Andy and the latter’s athleticism. Biyombo and Andy would make a heck of a defensive frontcourt, and I can see using Hickson in spurts to make them both work, but he’d be a bit of a reach. Vesely fits a need, but he’s both a question mark and a reach.
All I really have to say about the #4 pick is that the Cavs should go with fit ONLY AS A TIEBREAKER. The team isn’t good enough to be all that concerned about fit yet. If they feel strongly that one player will be objectively better than another, that’s the player they should take, regardless of position. I call this the “Take Al Horford instead of Mike Conley” rule, because I’m too nice to call it the “Trade down and take Martell Webster instead of Chris Paul because you already have Sebastian Telfair” rule.
As the Cavs look to rebuild, I think the Thunder/Bulls model is the one they should be following. Neither team rushed its rebuilding process or forced any short-term moves, and now they’re built around:
– Offensive weapons at the point who can both score and run the offense (Assuming Irving pans out, check.)
– Wing players who can be relied on as scoring threats (GAPING HOLE — DARN YOU, HARRISON BARNES.)
– Great defensive frontcourts who can finish what guards and wings create offensively(halfway there with Varejao, and the #4 pick could be huge for filling this hole)
– A coach who has a system from day one, especially on defense, and has a plan for how his team wins basketball games. (I have my doubts about Byron Scott — extreme doubts — but I’m willing to see what he can do with a real basketball team.
Great role players are important as well, but those are the main things, and they can’t be forced. The Cavs are still missing a frontcourt piece and a major wing piece, and need a better system than the one they had next year. Those things won’t happen overnight, and the Cavs’ management shouldn’t try and make them.
That’s all I have for tonight. This is a great night, because for the first time in a long time, it really feels like tomorrow will be a brighter day for the Cavaliers. Remember that feeling as the season progresses.
It is once again hiring time here at Cavs; The Blog, which really excites me because I got a TON of really, really good applicants both times I asked if anyone wanted to be links editor, and could only choose one person each time.
As you are all aware, the story of this off-season for the Cavs will be the draft. Two lottery picks, and one of those will be at the very top of the draft. So draft coverage is going to be important. Unfortunately, I don’t really watch college or international basketball, so I always feel a bit out of the loop when doing draft profiles. With the two picks in the lottery, there really should be comprehensive profiles of the top 15 prospects on this site before the draft, and I’m not the one to do them.
So I’m reaching out to you guys. If there are any college basketball fanatics or international ball gurus out there, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject line “Cavs: The Blog Draft Expert” with some brief info about yourself and why you’re interested, as well as a sample of your writing if you have it. (Don’t be discouraged from applying if you don’t have a sample, but it would be helpful if you do.) I look forward from hearing from you guys, and go ping-pong balls!
The Cavaliers are atrocious. There is little quibbling over this fact. It has been confirmed in a painful fashion since late November, when a 106-87 undressing courtesy of the Celtics sent the Cavs into a tailspin in which they lost 36 of their next 37, many by embarrassing margins. Though their play has since improved, one could argue that on paper, they should lose every single game they play. The worst aspect of suffering through a season so bleak is the monotony of watching this team three or four times a week. It’s like being trapped in isolation; one grows delusional and begins to follow these threads of delusion for the sheer want of something to do. Once Eyenga learns how to shoot, play defense, and hones those passing skills, he’s going to be unstoppable! Fans of every team do this to an extent, but happy forecasts are the vice of the miserable fan. This is because an abysmal team extinguishes the realistic chance of victory on a nightly basis. Like the death of a friend might cause one to imbibe, an unceasing string of double-digit losses will force fans to scout their young players’ games for burgeoning skills and scour the college ranks for a savior.
A hefty amount of Greek literature (at least the texts that have survived this long) discusses Eros, primordial god of sexual love and beauty. Because most of humankind strives for such things, there is a strong link between Eros and desire, to the point where the deity’s name and the term have grown together, like the intertwined roots of a timeworn tree. Fragment 130 from the poet Sappho characterizes Eros in stark terms: “Eros the melter of limbs (now again) stirs me– / sweetbitter unmanageable creature who steals in.” This is one of the most apt descriptions of the sensation. Desire is a phenomenon which infects us. It melts us and stirs us and while we might writhe uncomfortably throughout, when the experience ends, we wish it would not have ceased and immediately leave off in search of something that will perform the process on us again. It’s this thirst for desire’s turbulence that causes some of us to suffer from drug or gambling or sex addiction. For many more of us, it’s a large part of the reason we love sports.
As a passionate fan of most NBA teams, one’s chief desire is to watch their team win on a regular basis. As a fan of an elite NBA team, one’s desire is devoted not just to wins, but to the acquisition of a championship. As a fan of a cellar dweller like the Cavaliers, your desire is a source of confusion. You want J.J. Hickson’s jumpshot to improve. You want Christian Eyenga to play smarter on the defensive end. You want these things to not happen during the season because you want the team to lose, so they can draft the player you want—Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Kemba Walker—and you want that player to be terrific. This is weird because, as a fan, you have literally no control over any of these things. If you are desirous towards a man or woman you work with, you may be able to win their affection through intelligence or charm or humor. J.J. Hickson’s jumpshot will improve or not improve based on his talents and the amount of time he spends developing those talents; you are powerless to alter it one way or the other. We use “we” when we refer to our favorite teams, but, despairingly, that “we” indicates only the pain or joy we feel due to decisions and events we cannot influence.
It would be easy to feel panicked in this situation. And while desire encapsulates angst and worry, panic is distinctly unpleasant. So, you want something to assuage this panic and prove to you the things you cannot control are being performed by trustworthy individuals. A Celtics fan may experience cottonmouth in the final moments of a tight playoff matchup, but they do not panic. Paul Pierce has hit that pull-up jumper from the elbow before. Ray Allen knows how to come off a double screen and knock down a clutch three. If you leave Big Baby open, there’s a good chance he will make you pay. Familiarity breeds solace.
In 2011, there is no championship for the Cavaliers to win; there are no playoff games for which we need a 4th quarter assassin. We need a future before any of those things are possible. GM Chris Grant will be the architect of that future, and he has done little to encourage Cavs fans to place trust in him. This is through no fault of his own. He’s just the new guy; we will learn more of his strengths and weaknesses over the coming years. It’s difficult to know how much input he had on the Cavaliers’ front office decisions over the five years he spent working under Danny Ferry (Dan Gilbert, upon his promotion, characterized him as “instrumental in a lot of things we’ve done”), though he obviously acquired enough influence that the Cavaliers felt comfortable handing him the keys. Since he has become the face of the Cavs’ front office, the only major transaction he has made was, by consensus, “good”: a top 10 pick in exchange for a couple role players and the burden of a talented underachiever with a lousy contract.
One wonders whether this top 10 pick will be a starter or all-star; if he will be overwhelmed by the NBA and end up balling in Greece with an ancient Sasha Pavolovic; or if he will desert us at the peak of his powers. Because that’s all one can do: wonder and hope. Maybe write an overlong blog post. The only certainty for a Cavalier fan is that this team will be constructed without their consultation. If the Cavs draft the next Darko with the fifth pick, we are afforded remarkably useless tools of dissent: boos and profanity. Anger will grow in desire’s stead.
But hope is a mysterious power. Battered as Cavaliers fans are, one dreadful season cannot drain us of our hope. We have experienced the euphoria of serendipity too recently to forsake hope. Drunk with its fervor, I send a plea into the ether of cyberspace, perhaps into the ears of someone who can help: build us a future. Build us a young team with talent and promise for whom we can desire victory. Give us look out for us next year! Then develop those players and add energy guys and bench scorers and athletic defenders who nail open corner threes. Build us a team for whom we can desire a playoff run. Build us a team that pushes a better one to seven games. Build us a team that exceeds expectations. Then add a final piece. A late-round draft pick, a reclamation project, a veteran who sets screens and rebounds. Give us a team for whom we can desire a championship. A team that melts our limbs. A team down four with three minutes left in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals. Give us desire, and let it render us dizzy and furious and barely swimming in its spirit-rendering sap.