Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

The Point Four-ward: Looking (Somewhat Ambitiously) Ahead

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

16811905-mmmain

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) J.R. Smith’s three point explosion against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday (8-17 FGs… all three pointers) had many Cavs fans on Twitter talking about the team’s starting two guard and his contract status. After all, Smith has a player option for just under $6.4 million for next season. If he were playing like he was as a member of the New York Knicks earlier this season, Smith likely would have picked up that option. And, right now, $6.4 million for the type of production Smith is providing is a bargain.

In Cleveland, Smith has thrived and the team has thrived with him. Cavs head coach David Blatt has referred to Smith as “a godsend” and LeBron James has said the 6-8 Smith has been “everything we needed and more.”

(more…)

The Point Four-ward: Delly Roll(ing)?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

delly

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Matthew Dellavedova may have saved his spot in the rotation with a strong recent six game stretch.

Prior to the trade deadline, the Cavs were known to be looking to shore up their back-up point guard spot. As previously discussed in this column, the Cavs were seriously considering former NBA players then playing in China who would become free agents at the conclusion of the CBA season.

Following an early-season knee injury, Dellavedova was still showing all of the grit and hustle that has made him beloved by each of the last two Cavaliers head coaches. Only now he seemed a step slow(er) and his offense had taken a dip, going from “feisty” to just “showing the occasional twitch.”

(more…)

An Open Letter to Earl Joseph Smith, III

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Dear Earl,

I have two words for you… I’m sorry.

I don’t know if you’ve already heard this mea culpa sentiment from other former doubters, haters or pessimists, but I for one can say in all honesty that I completely misjudged what your impact on this team would be from the start. (more…)

The Point Four-ward: What Is And What Should Never Be

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

lebron-james-steve-nash

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Not long after Steve Nash announced his retirement last week, this story broke: had Nash asked for a buyout from the Lakers around the trade deadline, the Cavs had interest in bringing the 18-year vet on board to spell Kyrie Irving for limited minutes. The move made some sense because a.) LeBron James has always been a big Nash fan b.) both Cavs GM David Griffin and Director of Player Administration Raja Bell are close with Nash from their time together with the Phoenix Suns and c.) the Cavs, at least at the time they were considering this move, were looking to shore up their backup point guard spot.

Nash, however, chose to stay a Laker, the organization with which he wanted to end his career. And, really, you have to wonder if Nash would have been able to give the Cavs even the 10-15 minutes a night they were looking for, as he has not played in a game all season and has only played 65 games for the Lakers since they acquired him prior to the 2012-13 season.

(more…)

Kevin Love is Not Fitting In (to your Preconceived Notions of Kevin Love Fitting In)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Capture

Editors Note: This piece was published with editorial contributions from Nate Smith and EvilGenius, and with scouting contributions from Ben Werth. Also, please check out David Wood’s Links to the Present published earlier today.

On January 13, the Cavaliers lost their sixth game in a row to drop below .500 (19-20).  Kevin Love played particularly poorly, shooting 3-11 from the floor and posting a team-worst -19 in under 27 minutes.  He rode the pine for the entire fourth quarter.  (It was not the first time Love had been benched for the entire fourth quarter of a non-blowout: on December 26th, Coach Blatt, searching for answers, ran with an ultra-small lineup of LeBron-Delly-Dion-MMiller-TT in the fourth quarter and it worked – the Cavs outscored the Magic 27-14 and won by nine.)  Despite the fact that Markieff Morris (or as LeBron referred to him “one of the Morris twins”) torched King James in the fourth, Kevin Love’s lackluster defense and poor shooting was the story of the game, and the “Kevin Love’s Not Fitting In” theme was an undeniable reality of the young (but not that young) season. But ten weeks later, is that “theme” still even relevant?

(more…)

The Hinkie Letters — Part II: “Demagogues and Lemmings”

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Editor’s Note: Tuesday, we published Part I in this series of letters between Tom Pestak, myself, and reader/commenter, Mac on the state of team building in the NBA. The discussion veered off into some pretty unexpected territory: philosophy, generational tendencies, religion… The piece garnered some of the most thoughtful and interesting comments of any article at CtB in some time, and for that, I thank you all. So much has happened since we started these letters. First, the fateful day that Tom wrote us all and said, “Are we sure Mac isn’t Andrew Sharp in disguise?” Sharp’s piece in Grantland (a piece I’ve avoided reading), mirrored so much of what we were talking talking about that Tom and Mac wondered if he was reading our original comments section. The article actually pushed back the publication of this series. Additionally, the Sixers bought out Javale McGee for 100 cents on the dollar, and Sixers bloggers who more are blindly loyal than Saddam Hussein’s Information Minister praised the move. (I stole that Joke from Mac). Hoop76’s, Eric Goldwein wrote a piece that filled Mac with so much rage that he had to watch some old Lewis Black bits on youtube to remind himself “how unattractive it looks to be a goofy guy shaking with anger about some triviality.” Additionally, the first part of this series garnered so many great comments that I’ve even re-written some of my final passages to reference them. The effect may make my final response read more like an epilogue than an organic response, but you guys are too good to ignore.

From the desk of Mac:

Nate, I agree with you, if there is actually a process and it is a good one and it gets good results, nothing wrong with that. But too often these days calling something “a process” is a lot like declaring “it is what it is” . . . it is just a placeholder for having something useful to say.

(more…)

The Point Four-ward: More Rest For The Wicked?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

luol-deng-hassan-whiteside-goran-dragic-lebron-james-c198424127e8c319

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Count me among those who were actually surprised to see LeBron James suited up for Monday night’s game against the Miami Heat. After tweaking his knee in Sunday’s game against Orlando, James, who has spoken publicly of his desire to get some more rest before the playoffs start, chose to stay in for this road contest against his former team (and, likely, because of that).

After a couple of months in which James has sat out the occasional game on occasion (most recently, at home against Portland and on the road against Indiana) in order to give his body a couple more days to get right, James played, only to aggravate a wrist injury (in a collision with Hassan Whiteside) for his troubles.

Cavs head coach David Blatt has stated his desire for the Cavs to hold onto the second seed in the East going into the playoffs, so it’s unlikely that James will take off as lengthy a stretch as he did in December into January. Especially with the team resting Kevin Love, the Cavs need James if they are to win enough games to give Number 23 a prolonged rest.

As of now, Love is expected to play tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, though nothing definite has been announced.

(more…)

The Hinkie Letters — Part I: “The Process”

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

First off, check out Cory’s extremely entertaining recap of an extremely underwhelming Cavs loss last night. Second, over the past few weeks, Tom Pestak and I have been exchanging letters with long time reader/commenter, Mac. The conversation started in the comment section of the Reader 5 on 5, as a reaction to this piece in ESPN the Magazine on Sam Hinkie and the Sixer’s “Plan to win (yes, really).” The whole piece struck Mac and I as naive at best, or as Mac said.. “The things they [the Sixers] are doing and saying about how the short term pain is all for long term gain are the things PE/finance guys do and say whether they intend to save your company or bleed it dry and leave other people to bury the corpse.” Mac expounded.

I am really sick of people patting themselves on the back for not being archaic dinosaurs like Jeanie Buss or Russ Granick and understanding what the Sixers are doing is really smart. Tanking and being a free rider while other people try to be good sports because the league doesn’t really work without a good faith effort to not mail it in unless you are a top five team is really smart, in the way that putting your money in tax shelters in the Bahamas and not paying your share of taxes is smart. It is smart in the way that forming a corporation and putting your assets in it and making your kids shareholders so you don’t have to pay estate tax is smart. It is smart in the way that rich people living in economically segregated neighborhoods so their kids can go to the best possible public schools funded by local property taxes is smart. It is smart and worthy of praise if maximizing self-interest is the epitome of human intelligence and achievement. It is strange to me that millenials, who in many ways seem much more progressive and empathetic than my generation, seem to so easily accept the premise that as long as it is legal, screwing over the common good just to get every last squeeze out of the orange for yourself isn’t merely acceptable, but the only rational thing to do.

If you haven’t checked out the comment section of that piece, I recommend you do so.  It’s one of my faves, and Mac, Ross, C6H12O6, and CLF all contributed to an enlightening conversation. We went deep down the rabbit hole. Naturally, this sparked an offline conversation about the state of team-building in the NBA between Mac, our resident cynical skeptic (me), and our defender of capitalism, Mom, America, and Apple Pie (Tom Pestak). We’re sharing it with you in a two part series that will run this week. Enjoy.

(more…)

The Point Four-ward: Just The Most Recent One

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

lebron-james-dirk-nowitzki-chandler-parsons-9f89392df6504d19

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Professional athletes have a fickle relationship with the term “statement game.” They don’t like it.

Well, that is, they don’t like it unless they do.

Most of the time, players will give statements like this one by LeBron James following the Cavs 127-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks:

“It’s just the most recent [game]. Obviously, we played a great game. The best thing about tonight is we played a complete, 48-minute game. We pushed the tempo, we shared the ball, we defended, it was a great game for us.”

Just the most recent game.

(more…)

Uniformity: Dressing for Success

Friday, March 6th, 2015
lbjyea

Yay?

USP NBA: NEW YORK KNICKS AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS S BKN USA OH

…or, Nay?

The Cavs are looking sharper in the alt blue unis…but are they lucky?

Though seemingly mothballed after the home loss to the New York Knicks for what could only have been karmic reasons, we’ve seen a recent resurgence of the Cavs alternate blue uniforms. Since their unfortunate debut, the Cavs have evened up their record in the alt unis to 2-2. It remains to be seen if this positive trend continues, but for now it appears that the blue will factor more heavily in the mix.

However, this seems like all the uniform experimentation we can expect as Cavs fans this season (not including the forgettable special “first name” X-Mas jerseys). We’re seeing a plethora of new designs and color schemes being used around the NBA this year, and it’s curious that the Cavs aren’t at the forefront of that… especially given the connections two certain all-stars have with a certain major shoe and athletic apparel company.

So, how did we get here? (more…)