Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

The Point Four-ward: Drafting Days Are Here Again

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

 

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers in advance of the 2015 NBA Draft this Thursday, June 25.

1.) It’s been a while since I’ve thought this little about the NBA Draft. I can track my draft fascination all the way back to the mid-90s when I’d anxiously wait for my primer — Chris Monter’s Draft News — to arrive as a cheaply Xeroxed-and-stapled hard copy in the actual, physical mail before deciding on a relative pecking order based on the virtues of players like Todd Fuller, Samaki Walker and John Wallace… only to watch as the Cavs drafted Ukrainian train-like big Vitaly Potapenko who — and I want to be perfectly clear about this — I had ranked below not only the previously mentioned troika of below-average big men but also a fiesty lead guard from Santa Clara named Steve Nash…

… who, of course, I’d never seen play. But, hey, Monter seemed pretty high on him, so why not?

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The Road Forward

Friday, June 19th, 2015

 

Alright so let’s talk offseason moves. Questions by Tom Pestak, answers by me.

If I had to choose between J.R. and Shump I’d go Shump. J.R. is basically a moderately efficient spot-up shooter at this point. With a sprinkling of cross-over stepbacks and 20 point games. But assuming a healthy Irving and Love, spot up 3 point shooting isn’t as critical as stout perimeter D. Nate?

J.R and Shump are fine. Each can play three spots in the Cavs’ system. But Cleveland will still need more wings. J.R. will opt out and command between $6 and $7 million per on a three year deal, with the standard non-fully guaranteed last year. Shump will be the last major guy the Cavs deal with in free agency, unless someone else signs him to an offer sheet, first. I imagine he and J.R. will get around the same sized deals. Shump could get a four year if he wanted, or maybe three year with an opt out.

If the Cavs finally break the curse, will Windhorst have to apologize for his podcast rant last season about how “Gilbert thinks he can buy success?”

Gilbert can buy success this year. The question is, will he? That’s the quarter billion dollar question. If he can get it done for under $200 million, Dan will hold his nose and pay. He’ll also reverse course on the luxury tax system in 2007. Remember, Mr. Gilbert is one of the main guys that wanted this system that, it turns out it, just punishes the competitiveness of small market teams. I bet there’s a lot of ruing going on in the offices of the Q, because the number could be higher than a quarter billion. (more…)

The Point Four-ward: Can He Build It?

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers following their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors in six games…

1.) As a sports fan, I always dread the morning after a loss. The loss, when it is happening and immediately after, is usually a familiar cloud of disappointment and pizza and nostalgia and beer. Therefore, any real pulse-checking on how truly bad a particular loss is going to feel long term often has to wait until the page has turned and I’m faced with a bright new day.

Waking up on (an unfortunately bright) Wednesday, though, my feeling was the feeling of most Cavs fans — if Twitter is to be believed, anyway (and why should it not?): I just don’t feel too bad after this loss.

This Cavs team has been so much fun to watch — well, since the end of January, anyway — and, really, the Warriors were just too good and too deep to expect a team smarting from missing two of their top three scorers to pull off the seemingly impossible. Sometimes, after all, the seemingly impossible seems impossible because it’s pretty damn near impossible. But, man, how the Cavs fought to make us believe otherwise — that it was possible…. that it was going to happen this year… that it was the Cavs turn at destiny.

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3-on-3: Grind or Go Home Edition

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

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1. What is the most important adjustment for the Cavs to make going into a must win game six?

Tom Pestak: They need to have enough energy to finish the game. The Cavs played well again for three quarters and fizzled out in the 4th. Each time fatigue has been an issue. There are no solutions, just compromises. I think the Cavs need to abandon matching the Warriors’ small-ball-at-all-costs and let Mozgov get in a groove. Just as LeBron was unstoppable in the deep post, Mozgov will manufacture many high-percentage looks too. The key will be having someone cutting hard off ball when Golden State counters with the double teams. He’s the most fresh of the rotation players. They might as well play Mike Miller some more too, since the Cavs didn’t get obliterated with him on the court in game 5. The Cavs should also go to hack an Iggy periodically to 1.) get rest, 2.) stay ahead of the 3-point avalanches. Really, they need to remain mentally focused for 48 minutes. They can’t overreact to a contested Barbosa 3 here or a few Iggy 3s there. When it comes to the scouting report, “stay on target”. (more…)

The Point Four-ward: Expectations and Chips

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Since Robert’s on vacation this week, I’m filling in to author this week’s Point Four-ward: four things I’m thinking about as the Cleveland Cavaliers are just a couple wins from an NBA championship.

1) Matthew Dellavedova belongs to all of us now. “On Wednesday, Dellavedova had the best-selling NBA player jersey on Fanatics, the nation’s largest licensed online sports retailer,” ESPN.com reported. Dellymania has reached fever pitch.

Kyle Welch at WFNY summed up Delly fever well.

Dellavedova went to the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday night after playing himself into dehydration and severe cramps, then showed up for practice; LeBron James endorsed Dellavedova for Australian knighthood; Dellavedova aborted Coach David Blatt’s attempt to put a minutes restriction on the recently hospitalized point guard (“No you’re not”); his hometown of Maryborough, Australia, announced they would name their basketball stadium the “Dellavedova Dome”; and coach Blatt told Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Chris Haynes that he was “full of ****” for questioning the legitimacy of Blatt’s faith in the point guard earlier in the season. And that was all in the last 36 hours!

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On Determination

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

De·ter·mi·na·tion

(dəˌtərməˈnāSH(ə)n)
noun
1. Firmness of purpose; resoluteness.
“He advanced with an unflinching determination.”
Synonyms: resolution, resolve, willpower, strength of character, single-mindedness, purposefulness, intentness; staunchness, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, staying power; strong-mindedness, backbone; stubbornness, doggedness, obstinacy; spirit, courage, pluck, grit, stout-heartedness; Informal: guts, spunk, balls, moxie; Formal: pertinacity. “It took great determination to win.”

In the wake of yet another season-ending injury to a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ “Big Three” (and the third major injury to an original starting five that now features only the “Chosen One”), the easiest path to take is the least painful one… the one of least resistance. The world expects Cleveland (the team and the town) to quit, to tap out, to “Cry Uncle!” after the loss of Uncle Drew. They’d like us to believe there’s no shame in surrender. After all, our team is thin. We’ve lost two of our best three players. Two All-Stars. Even LeBron, as great as he is, can’t possibly carry the weight of this team, this franchise and this city on his muscular shoulders by himself… Can he?

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The Point Four-ward: Let’s Get It Started, Already!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers as they are about to tip-off their NBA Finals match-up against the Golden State Warriors…

1.) A lot of talk leading up to the Finals has been about each team’s likely inability to shut down the opposing team’s star player: LeBron James for the Cavaliers and Stephen Curry for the Warriors.

Just ask James how to stop Curry and he gives you the same answer as when you ask him how the Warriors might slow him down: “You can’t.”

The Finals will come down to more than just James vs. Curry, but it’s still tough predicting how these teams will attack each other — and how more or less likely one team is to shut down the other — come down to two things: 1.) the small sample size of head-to-head match-ups between these two teams and 2.) the fact that this is now the third (at least) iteration of the Cleveland Cavaliers that we’ve seen this season, so who knows what the Cavs will bring?

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The Point Four-ward: Then and Now

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Okay, confession time. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers. Still. To this day.

In particular, as these playoffs have continued, I’ve found myself increasingly suspicious of the narrative that LeBron James is pulling along his current crop of overmatched Cavalier teammates kicking and screaming on his one-man mission to return to the Finals. Clearly, James has been huge for the Cavaliers. No one is arguing against that. It just seemed like there was a difference between this year’s team and James’s previous Cavaliers squads, particularly the one that made the 2007 Finals — that even if the Cavs were leaning on James more in these playoffs (and your can’t argue that James’s 2015’s playoff usage rate of 36.4% is a substantial uptick from the 29.7% usage he posted in the 2007 playoffs) that his teammates this year were performing better in support of James.

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#BlameDelly

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

[Are we sure that Delly wasn’t in Houston last night? That city was also flooded today forcing the Texans to cancel practice…]

Did anything bad happen to you today? Did anything ruin your Memorial Day weekend? Have you seen any unfortunate disasters or annoying mishaps befall people you know or places you go? Chances are… it was all Delly’s fault.

Yes, this pesky Australian spit-fire, recently dubbed practically Public Enemy #1 in these NBA playoffs by any number of talking heads and Atlanta Hawks, should likely be the culprit in everything from your burnt morning toast to the real cause of global warming…

Who knew at the start of the season (heck, even at the start of these playoffs) that the man once derided as “Dellava D-League” would become known as the dangerous and infamous “Aussie Assassin”?

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The Point Four-ward: Letting It Fly

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) It’s darned near impossible to overstate the importance of the three point shot in the playoffs. In the Cavs most recent six game series against the Chicago Bulls, there were several instances where a player getting hot from deep helped to swing the game. There was Mike Dunleavy’s first quarter outburst in Game 1, J.R. Smith’s three big triples in the fourth quarter of a crucial Game 4 that set up the game winning shot by LeBron James, while Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova took turns keeping Game 6 en fuego.

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