Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Prince Kyrie Most Valuable He, All-FIBA

Monday, September 15th, 2014

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Kyrie Irving and the USA Men’s National team won the FIBA World Cup of Basketball over the weekend and received gold medals for their efforts. After they routed Serbia in the final game, 129-92, Kyrie was named to the all-tournament team, and named tournament MVP. This is a stunning rise for Irving, who was not even the USA’s projected starter when the tournament began. After finishing 30th in points per game, and 18th in assists for the tournament, the award was unexpected. But while Harden was the top scorer for team USA, and Kenneth Faried brought unexpected and much needed energy to the squad, Irving was the man who steadied the ship for the team throughout the tournament. For the first time since I’ve watched him, Irving received accolades not as much for scoring, but for things that don’t always show up in the box score: defense, hustle, leadership, and selfless play. (Of course, it didn’t hurt that he went 6-6 from three in the final game and shot over 60% for the tourney). If this season marks the return of the King to Cleveland, Kyrie must surely be crowned prince.

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The Point Four-ward: When Steady Is Exciting

Friday, September 12th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Kyrie Irving drew some compliments from commentators Marc Kestecher and Fran Fraschilla during ESPN’s broadcast of Team USA’s 96-68 win over Lithuania in the semi-finals of the FIBA World Cup. During the fourth quarter, Fraschilla mentioned how “steady” Irving has been throughout this tournament, adding that when you think about Irving’s performances it’s difficult to pick out a bad one. Irving has been “average” at worst, and generally “very, very good.”

Irving, who played a team high 34:27 minutes on Thursday, also led the team in scoring with 18 points. His +19 was second only to James Harden’s +20.

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The +/- Fun Zone

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

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Back in April, Cavs: The Blog writer Tom Pestak took a ton of time to try and figure out which Cavs two man units were the most effective using plus-minus data for individual players and plus-minus data for two man units.  To make some sense of that data, a little math was required.  Plus-minus (PM) numbers don’t take into account how many minutes players and lineups played, so it needs to be adjusted to be looked at as a per 48 minute rate.  Once that rate is figured out it can be used for all sorts of fun stuff.  By comparing players’ expected PM/48 in lineups to their lineup’s actual on the court PM/48, you can see how well the players made magic together.  If the numbers match up, then the unit played average, but if the two numbers are drastically different, the unit either under-performed or over-performed.

Tom did this exhaustive exercise for two man units on the Cavs. The conclusion: everything commonly thought was more or less wrong.  CJ Miles was a beast, Andy V and Matty D made everyone better, and Kyrie only exceeded an expected PM/48 number when playing with Miles.

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The Point Four-ward: Getting Way, Way, Way Ahead of Ourselves

Friday, September 5th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) I caught up with fellow Truehooper Graydon Gordian earlier this week. Graydon is Editor Emeritus of the Spurs’ blog 48 Minutes of Hell and this finally-August-hot September evening was the first time we’d talked hoops since the Cavs’ Hulked-Out off-season began. Possibly because I immediately demurred to his own loyalties (“There’s no way I want any part of the Spurs, should the Cavs make the Finals this year,” said I) we strolled down Hypothetical Way, talking about the likely Western Conference contenders and how, should all of the 950,000 things that must go right for any team to dream of playing into late-June go right for the Cavs this year, each of them might match up against the wine and gold from Nor’thrn ‘Hia.

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Underrated Andy

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Sorry, Kyrie, but Anderson Varejao is the third most important player on the 2014-2015 Cavs. I came to this conclusion as I watched Andy outplay his starting teammates, Tiago Splitter and Nene, in a losing effort versus Spain, Monday. In a game in which Pau Gasol looked as good as he has in six years, Varejao played very well, and reminded us that his presence is vital if Cleveland is to contend for a championship this season.

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For the Love Of…!

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

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It’s impossible to say something that hasn’t already been said about the this off-season.  We’re all aware of the impact on the league and the region, and we’re also aware of the potential consequences that come with trading Wiggins and Bennett.  I’m not here to put the last three months into an NBA context because I wont be able to contribute anything fresh (and, lets be honest, no one really knows what will happen this season or any future season). More, I think the largest unspoken impact this summer has had, and the impact that has been largely overlooked, is on a fanbase dying for something to be positive about.

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The Point Four-ward: The Great American Lineup Buffet

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) The Cavaliers recent signing of Shawn Marion continues an off-season theme for the team. No, it’s not “sign guys nearly as old as Robert,” though I do appreciate David Griffin’s signings allowing me to talk knowledgeably about the late-90s with some degree of relevance for a change. It’s this: from LeBron James to Kevin Love to Mike Miller and rookies Joe Harris and Dwight Powell, Griffin has been limbering up his roster to give head coach David Blatt lineup flexibility that could, Griffin hopes, put your bikram yoga instructor to shame.

While Blatt may tinker a little in training camp, the bulk of the regular season will probably feature some pretty conventional lineups and there’s no telling at this point what this team’s most successful version of itself will be. Still, it’s difficult to look up and down this roster of players who can play multiple positions and not see some fun potential five-man units. Here are some of my favorite combos:

Kyrie Irving-Dion Waiters-James-Kevin Love-Anderson Varejao

This is the Cavs’ presumptive “best” lineup should you happen to fall on the positive side of the Waiters conversation. This is the line-up that, if it does not start games, will likely finish them. What it lacks in paint-bullying rim protecting it more than makes up for with a.) well-documented chronicling of how this team lacks a rim protector and b.) an offensive unit that features five outstanding passers, enough shooting (probably), four guys who can create their own shot and pick-and-roll pairings galore.

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Shawn Marion, by the Numbers

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Over this last weekend, “The Matrix” committed to the Cavs. Shawn Dwayne Marion has been an all-star, an NBA champion, and an offensive and defensive Swiss Army knife throughout his career in the NBA. But Marion is also 36 years old, has played 15 seasons, and has just under 39,000 regular season minutes under his belt (eighth among active players). There’s no doubt that as a veteran minimum signing, Marion is worth having on the team. He’s a bargain at that price, if just for his experience and professionalism alone. But coming off a mediocre season, it’s worth exploring whether the Cavs should commit significant minutes to Marion. Is he still a solid performer, or has the game mostly passed him by?

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The Point Four-ward: Get Those Hands Up!

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Still finding yourself on the fence about whether or not to embrace Kevin Love? Well, sipping from a frosty, ice-brewed, beachwood-aged mug of Kevin Love highlights should put some flash back in your step, mister. I’d been resisting spending too much time aboard the Love Boat this summer, but since we’re in that dangerous stretch between Summer League and Team USA games (where madness truly does lie), I thought I’d spend a minute or twenty with the Cavs presumptive 2014-15 starting power forward. And you know what? Kevin Love does all those Kevin Love things that everyone says he does. But the thing that really stuck out was how much of his 10-minutes plus of highlight footage spanning an 82-game season came on the two occasions where Love was matched up against Tristan Thompson.

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Cavs Haiku Throwdown

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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Kevin Love is coming to Cleveland, LeBron James wants to stay in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving is locked up for five years, and vets are flocking to the Cavs.  It’s a whole new era now after being one of the craziest off seasons for the Cavs since the King left. As an exercise in meditation and reflection, The Cavs: The Blog bloggers have crafted some heartfelt basketball related Haikus.  Do you have some basketball Haikus that have been brewing in your brain during this off season?  Let us hear them.

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