Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

The Point Four-ward: Wait(ers) No More

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Speaking purely from that place where we sports fans can still grow attached to players in purely sentimental ways, I will miss Dion Waiters very much. He was the first professional athlete I ever interviewed face-to-face and I’ll always be a sucker for his unique personality which always seemed to be running on those parallel tracks of inflated self-regard and never feeling properly regarded.

I was firmly in the camp that thought Waiters could experience a real break-through in his this season, his third. But I was also one of the people (along, apparently, with the crossed fingers of everyone else on the Cavs) who thought Waiters would be able to adapt to playing with LeBron James, becoming more of a catch-and-shoot player who could focus on being a stout defender with the starters and sate his appetite for dribble-driving against second units. That, it turned out, wasn’t Waiters game.

So, I thought he could be an offensive spark plug off the bench… and sometimes he was. But if his long-two jumper wasn’t falling, the positives that the team got from Waiters dropped off a cliff. I’d defended Waiters for his whole Cavs career, but even I found myself saying to a friend over the weekend, “This might just not be working [with Waiters].”

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The Case for Saint Weirdo

Monday, January 5th, 2015

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One of the more divisive topics here at CtB, is former writer Colin McGowan’s brilliant article on Pete Beatty’s anagram nickname of “Saint Weirdo” for Dion Waiters. If you aren’t familiar with anagrams, it’s a word play that dates back to Moses, in which you rearrange the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase using all of the letters exactly once. The goal of a skilled anagrammatist is to produce an anagram that reflects upon the subject-Saint Weirdo achieves that on multiple levels.

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The Point Four-ward: New Year’s Daze

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

 

Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) A lot of what I’m going to say here is anecdotal rather than analytical. These are points and ideas born from conversations I’ve been having over the last couple of holiday weeks. They are more temperature-taking than anything else but, as with other recent Cavaliers seasons, I’ve found it useful to see exactly at what point the fan base (and myself) go completely off the rails. That point could well be now.

The overriding feeling of those I’m talking to is the same as mine: these Cavs just aren’t any fun.

And it’s not looking to get any more fun if, as reported today, LeBron James misses the next two weeks nursing a holiday cookie tray of injuries (or, more precisely, diagnosed strains to his ailing knee and back).

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The Point Four-ward: Flat Tops and Crazy Eyes

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Two separate reports Tuesday could have bearing on the Cavs’ current search for a perimeter defender. First, Chris Haynes from Northeast Ohio Media Group (via The Plain Dealer) reported that the Cavs had moved on from attempts to trade for Minnesota swingman Corey Brewer. The Timberwolves, hit with injuries to key wing players Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio, are now reticent to move Brewer, their best perimeter defender (though Andrew Wiggins might have something to say about that soon).

The other bit came from Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, who reported that basically the entire New York Knicks roster has been put on the trading block. While the Knicks would prefer to part ways with J.R. Smith (Really?? Nooooo….), the Knick who might actually be a good fit with the wine and gold is fourth year shooting guard, Iman Shumpert.

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The Point Four-ward: Catch Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

First off, if you haven’t read Ben’s excellent recap of last night’s big come from behind win against the Raptors, what are you waiting for??

1.) Read the following quote from Cavs head coach David Blatt:

“I think it’s important that you know how to catch yourself. We didn’t have an easy time in the first half and we caught ourselves at halftime. We recognized what we were doing wrong and what we needed to improve and we did that. We had very little defensive intensity.”

Now, tell me, what game that came from.

Okay, it’s not like it was so long ago. That was Blatt speaking after the Cavs 110-88 win in Brooklyn on Monday night. But it could have easily come from last night’s win against the Raptors, as well.

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The Point Four-ward: Is This The Real Kyrie Irving?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

Pre-point: If you haven’t checked out David Wood’s recap of last night’s Cavs/Bucks game yet… GO. NOW.

1.) Saturday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers was my favorite Kyrie Irving game in a very long time. I, like many Cavs fans, had become a little calloused to the wiles of some of Irving’s more obvious skills on the basketball court, because — as we were reminded again and again last season — what Irving did well did not seem to translate into winning basketball. He dominated the ball. He’d pout when things got tough or didn’t go his way. He played defense so poorly most of the time that he actually became the opposing team’s sixth man on the floor on offense. There were feuds and buddy ball and a whole lotta stuff coming from Number 2 that were key factors in the grueling slog that was the #SesasonOfHuh (promotional non-sequitur: look for the e-book/paperback that is the definitive guide to all things Huh with writing by some of the most talented and beautiful Cavs bloggers around coming very soon… for serious… GET EXCITED!).

All of this made me enjoy Irving — an undeniably talented ballplayer — just a little bit of a lot less.

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The Case for Citizen Sans

Friday, November 21st, 2014

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In a press release for Citizen Kane, Orson Welles described the film as an examination of one man’s character.  That “six or more people could have as many widely divergent opinions concerning the nature of a single personality. Clearly such a notion could not be worked out if it would apply to an ordinary American citizen.”  Dan Gilbert is everything but ordinary, and few owners in sports create such divergent opinions.

As a litmus test for this article, I posted a question on my Facebook asking for opinions on Gilbert. Good and bad. The anti-Gilbert responses ranged from “he’s a classless cry-baby,” and “a giant tool,” to him being the primary reason that former commissioner David Stern vetoed the Chris Paul deal to the Lakers, as if he were the Illuminati puppet master who secretly pulls the strings behind the leagues moves.  The pro-Gilbert side defended his investments in the Rust Belt, the open pocket book he runs his franchise with and his commitment to charity. Either way, people knew who Gilbert was. If I would have asked a similar question about Peter Holt or Wyc Grousbeck, there probably wouldn’t have been a single response.

“Really Charles, people will think-” – Emily Monroe Norton

“-What I tell them to think.” – Charles Foster Kane

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The Point Four-ward: Brewer(y) Tour

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Over the weekend, reports surfaced that the Cavs were interested in trading for Corey Brewer of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cavs have the trade exception they acquired in the Keith Bogans merry-go-round and, therefore, would not have to include a player in the trade. The Wolves are said to be looking for “future assets” in exchange for freeing up their glut on the wing and the Houston Rockets have also been listed as a potential trade partner. The Cavs roster stands at 15 right now, so if they don’t include a player in the trade, one would have to be released.

If this trade happens, Brewer likely slides right into the starting lineup, moving Shawn Marion back to the bench. At 6-9, Brewer brings tremendous length to both the shooting guard and small forward spots. Outside of being Kevin Love’s preferred touchdown target for his outlet passes, Brewer has never been known for his offense. He’s never developed into even an average three-point shooter (29% for his career), but he has a tendency to find ways to contribute across the box score.

2.) The Cavs interest in Brewer seems to come down to two things: a.) his relationship with Love and b.) the Cavs front office realizing that their defense is even worse off than they thought coming into the season.

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The Point Four-ward: Sputter, Sputter, Sputter, Vroom

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA…

1.) As recently as last year, people were describing LeBron James as being one of the fastest players in the NBA. While perhaps not tops in terms of sheer speed, James’s ability to cover large swaths of the court in precious few strides made him one of the quickest players his size ever. That’s why so much is being made of the relative snail’s pace of his play this season. What Cavs fans have seen thus far is one of the most athletic players in league history running and jumping like he’d added 20 pounds in the off-season rather than dropped it.

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The Dion Waiters Zone — Updated

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

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Dion Waiters has been one of the more interesting human beings to follow since he was drafted.  Out of Syracuse he was billed as a talented scorer with as much upside as anyone not named Anthony Davis, and was favorably compared to Dwyane Wade (by both Chad Ford and Byron Scott).  Former Cavs: The Blog editor and friend Colin McGowan anagrammatically foretold the coming of “Saint Weirdo” in a post-draft prophesy, and Waiters has mostly fulfilled the moniker.

His brashness strikes me as a defense mechanism—it’s what allows him the single-mindedness that makes him great at basketball—and when it’s punctured, he retreats inward. I think that’s what happened at SU: Boeheim shouted him down a few times, and Waiters didn’t initially respond well because he felt naked and embarrassed.

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