Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Countdown…

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Barclays

 

Some observations from the floor of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft:

•Still a lot of conflicting reports about the Cavs intentions with the first pick. Andy Katz tweeted that the team had decided who they would pick but was still deciding if they’d keep the pick. A lot of other people have been telling me that they’re hearing that the pick’s staying put. A lot could change in the next 30 minutes, but the smart money (which, for the record, I have never had enough of to either make more or lose it all) is on the Cavs decision makers being “unified” on who they are going to pick … unless someone blows them away.

(more…)

Arise, Blatt-imus Prime!

Friday, June 20th, 2014

TheTransformersTheMoviemkv_snapshot_011701_20130424_201541The Cavaliers five-week long coaching search finally came to an end Thursday with the team offering the position to former Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach, David Blatt. An agreement has not yet been reached, but is expected soon.

General Manager, David Griffin, and Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert, were pressed to make a decision Thursday before Blatt could meet with the Golden State Warriors, who were interested in bringing Blatt aboard as Steve Kerr’s lead assistant. Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach, Tyronn Lue, also impressed the Cavs in his two interviews with the team and was reported to be the other front-runner for the job. But, in the end, the Cavs chose Blatt, who will become the first coach to go directly from coaching overseas to a head coaching job in the NBA.

(more…)

If There is No parade, I’m Out!

Monday, June 16th, 2014

LeBron is now  2-3 in Finals appearances. When discussing the Heat’s attempt to claw back from a 3-1 series deficit to the San Antonio Spurs, James made the normal “Why not us?”  argument. What followed was both strange and emblematic of a prevailing attitude toward playoff competition.

I’m not sure exactly when it became normal, but there is a sentiment in today’s culture that is neatly summed up by LeBron’s subsequent quote: “I’d rather get my two months off.” Basically, LeBron would rather miss the playoffs completely than lose in the NBA Finals.

What?

(more…)

The Point Four-ward: Coaching Search A-Go-Go

Friday, June 13th, 2014

hi-res-47eb64b2f748447c331706754a0d7fa2_crop_exact

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) If, as reported, the Cavs have interest in Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach, David Blatt, then this past Wednesday was an important day. June 11th marked the end of Maccabi Electra’s season where they lost to Maccabi Haifa 84-82, but still won the club’s 51st Israeli League championship on account of winning the first of two Finals games with Haifa by four points.

I’ll repeat: they lost the game, but still won the championship.

(more…)

Joel Embiid: From Cameroon to Number One Pick

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Joel-Embiid

Joel Embiid is a freak physically who had decent stats in college.  His freshman year matches up pretty well with Tim Duncan’s freshman year.  Those are just numbers though.  There have been plenty of busts that had wonderful college box scores and amazing bodies.  What is important is what actual skills Embiid has that can be seen, not just measured.  So, I deal with the numbers and what is being witnessed separately.  Luckily for Joel, he appears legitimate when you read his box scores and witness him play.

In the Raw

Joel Embiid is a 7’0,” 240 pounds and sports a 7’5” wing span.  Embiid grew up in Cameroon playing soccer and volleyball. He’s only twenty years old and has been playing basketball since 2011.  His path to America through basketball is unique, but his path to actually playing basketball was the same as most people his height.  He was pulled to a basketball camp just because of the chance he may become good.

The camp was led by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and the NBA player immediately saw that Embiid had amazing moves for someone who had never played organized basketball.  Mbah a Moute eventually talked Embiid’s father into sending him to the Montverde Academy in Flordia to play basketball.  However, Embiid didn’t see playing time during his junior year, so he transferred to the Rock School, also in Florida.  Mbah a Moute called the Rock school on Embiid’s behalf to get him a spot on the team.

Kansas assistant coach and former Florida native, Norm Roberts, brought the big kid to the attention of Kansas head coach, Bill Self.  Self watched Embiid practice and concluded he could be a dominant force and a future number one pick.

(more…)

Thoughts on the Cavs Coaching Search

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

I was all set to write a scathing criticism of the Cavs coaching search, tonight. So far the search has been filled with mediocre candidates, a failed run at John Calipari, and the conspicuous snub of the 2013 coach of the year. Sensing this, Dan Gilbert and David Griffin decided to preempt my scathe-a-thon by making the one move that would totally redeem them…

They’re interviewing Mark Price on Tuesday.

I’m as excited as Anderson Varejao in a salon full of hair care products.

(more…)

International Men of Mystery; Part Deux

Monday, June 9th, 2014

As evidenced by the seven International players on the Spurs, it is clearly a good idea to look outside of the good ole’ USA to find basketball talent. In part 2 of the “International Men of Mystery” we will check out a couple teenagers whose birth certificates require verification, and a player whom the Cavs clearly like in Damjan Rudez (who is reportedly meeting with the Cavs, today).

Related news: The Cavs are looking at David Blatt for the head coaching job. The American born coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv would bring an understanding of the International game to Cleveland. He coached the Russian National Team to a Bronze medal in 2012. It would be an intriguing hire.

As always, I have a set of scouting questions that help to discern whether a player’s skill-set will translate well to the NBA’s basketball culture.

(more…)

The Point Four-Ward: NBA Finals Edition

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

1370388867000-XXX-74629005-1306041935_x-large

Four things I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Over the years, the NBA Finals have produced only a handful of memorable player v. player rivalries. The playoffs have had their share, but try to name the real iconic head-to-head match-ups in the Finals. Can’t think of many, can you? Magic and Bird, obviously. Wilt and Bill Russell. What else? Michael Jordan and Bryon Russell? No, maybe not.

Generally, the feuding and chippiness that makes us love the playoffs is more often reserved for the Conference rounds, where teams (like Miami and Indiana recently) can meet repeatedly over several years fielding similar rosters and let Player X draw a big red circle around Player Y and go after him with each player’s legacy firmly at stake.

But there is just such a match-up in this year’s Finals, as Tim Duncan and LeBron James will be facing each other in the Finals for the third time in their careers.

(more…)

Choose Your Own Adventure: You Are David Griffin!

Friday, May 30th, 2014

125654

In elementary school, my favorite books were the “choose your own adventure” ones.  I enjoyed being able to exercise limited creativity by picking the end of my Goosebumps book.  Just going through the door on the right could land you in a locked room with some creepy dolls moving slowly towards you to hold your hand.  Ringing the doorbell to the door on your left could lead you to tea with an older woman that needs friendship.  I’m not sure what’s worse.

Getting the top pick has set up the Cavs with a wonderful “choose your own adventure” situation.  The team has the opportunity to take the Jabari Parker path, the Joel Embiid path, or the Andrew Wiggins path.  Each one leads to a new room: some rooms are dark and dreary filled with first round playoff exits, others are bright from the shining gold of Larry O’Brien trophies.

(more…)

The Point Four-ward: Four Things I’m Thinking About the Cleveland Cavaliers

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

luke-walton

1.) An interesting name popped up amidst the New York Knicks current coaching search: Luke Walton. Walton, the former Laker and Cavalier, has never been more than tangentially connected to the top spot on the Knicks’ bench and his name was floated mostly in the same way that anyone who has a previous working relationship with Phil Jackson has been linked to the job at some point post-Steve Kerr pursuit (and, yes, it is too bad that Shaquille O’Neal is part owner of the Kings now taking that tasty morsel off the rumor rotisserie). But Luke Walton as a head coach is not as crazy as it might sound.

Anyone who watched Walton and Shaun Livingston run a fluid, efficient second unit offense for the Cavaliers in 2012-13 could tell just how much the game is in his bones. Walton has had the benefit of growing up around the pro game and then learning under two of the better coaches around: Lute Olson at the University of Arizona and Phil Jackson in Los Angeles (sorry, Byron Scott… we’re leaving you off this particular list). During the NBA lockout of 2011-12, Walton spent his extra dose of free time by joining former AU assistant coach Josh Pastner’s staff at the University of Memphis. Then following the conclusion of his playing career, Walton was named player development coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

(more…)