Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

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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Kyrie and The Crucible

Friday, November 7th, 2014

LeBron James has never played with a high-level true point guard before. Dwyane Wade was the closest thing he had to a guy who could function as a high-level creator next to him, but since Wade is secretly a 6’4 power forward without the rebounding, Miami got away with an inverted situation, having LeBron function as the primary creator, Wade slashing to the basket off the ball, and Bosh providing the floor spacing despite being the tallest of the three.

That’s not going to work in Cleveland. This is evidenced by the fact that it is currently not working in Cleveland. It’s early, but the Cavs currently rank 19th in offensive efficiency, 22nd in True Shooting, and dead-last in assist ratio. The defense is a larger issue, as only the Lakers (bless these horrible Lakers) and the Jazz have a lower defensive efficiency than the Cavs. For those of you keeping score at home, the second-worst defense in the NBA held the Cavaliers to four assists last night.

The Cavaliers need to run an honest-to-god offense, and they need to start running it soon. For that, two things have to happen: Kyrie needs to have a come-to-Jesus moment and LeBron needs to find an effective middle gear.

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The Point Four-ward: O-Boards Don’t Lie

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

 

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First, if you haven’t checked out Ben’s excellent recap of the Cavs/Blazers game, it’s right here.

And now: Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) It’s tough to believe, but these Cavs — the Cavs of the most highly anticipated offense in years coming into this season — are shooting just 42% from the floor so far this season. LeBron James continued a cold start to the season going 4-12 for 11 points against Portland. That included going 1-6 in the paint, a ridiculous number for a finisher as good as number 23.

Against Portland, though, everyone caught the cold hand. The team shot just 36.5% for the game. Kyrie Irving was 3-17 and (in a disturbing trend) was thoroughly outplayed by slumping-until-yesterday Damian Lillard. Dion Waiters was 3-11 and didn’t attempt a three-pointer. Only Kevin Love, who led the team with 22 points and 10 rebounds, managed a remotely efficient offensive game.

I know it’s early, but the team’s stagnancy and passivity on offense is a little disturbing. There’s been precious little of the weak side action that we saw freeing up so many good looks in the preseason and the ball’s been more of a moderately warm potato than a hot one.

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The Case for The Decision

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

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One of my many manifestations of maladaptive behavior is that I force myself to see things from another perspective. It’s a time consuming chore and I regularly lose sleep over it. The ultimate goal is finding true objectivity for better or worse, and making a final judgment independent of emotion and societal moors. We are weaned from childhood to find a moral of a story. There is always something positive to be found even in the worst of situations. Every Tuesday, I will present a Cavaliers-related event that was a catalyst leading us to this moment in a different light. To get this one out of the way, I present a topic that I lost plenty of sleep over, the case for The Decision.

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LeBron James Through The Years

Friday, October 24th, 2014

 

Hi. I’m John. I started this website in 2008, and was its Editor-In-Chief until after the 2010-11 season. I spend lots of time doing law school-y things now, such as going to law school. This season, I’m going to be doing a weekly column, as well as some other things as time allows. Over the past 11 seasons, I have watched LeBron James play basketball an unhealthy amount, and I’ve learned a few things about his game over that time. (These columns will be more varied as the season goes on, but don’t be surprised if the first few are LeBron-centric: I’m still getting to know this brand-new Cavs team, while I have 11 years of intense LeBron-watching under my belt.)

Since LeBron James now plays for the Cavaliers again, I thought it would be useful to go back through the last decade-plus of LeBron, and see how he got from the 18-year old kid out of St. Vincent/St. Marys to the four-time MVP and two-time champion who will be suiting up for the Cavs this season. One of the (many) things I always say is truly incredible as LeBron is that he not only came into the league as the most talented prospect of the modern era and lived up to the hype right out of the gate, but he’s improved and changed his game more from when he was first successful to when he hit his prime as much as any player in NBA history.

Follow me past the jump for more (a lot more):

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The Point Four-ward: Fantasy Versus Reality

Monday, October 20th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Well, the bloom is officially off the rose. The Cavaliers have lost. All the tiny cracks and fissures Cavs fans have seen in their team over the first four preseason games finally busted open full and wide in the team’s 108-102 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. The turnovers. The consistently inconsistent implementation of David Blatt’s new offense. The porous defense. The less-than-fully-active roster. All of those were on full display and, in the end, the result was predictably not in the Cavaliers’ favor.

Now (he says for about the millionth time), most of this is just preseason stuff. Coach Blatt is clearly choosing to have his club ready to begin the season physically, even if that means making sacrifices in cohesion that result in all of the above. Friday was Kevin Love’s and Shawn Marion’s turns to sit, meaning Blatt hasn’t had his full roster to play with in-game since the Cavs’ preseason opening win against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

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The Point Four-ward: Keepin’ That Bench Warm

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) The preseason is a time, much like one’s college years, where a certain amount of experimentation is to be expected, so too much shouldn’t necessarily be made of where one’s decisions might get one. For instance, there was a point in the final minutes of the first quarter of the Cavs’ 107-80 preseason win over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Sunday where head coach David Blatt’s substitution pattern yielded a lineup of Matthew Dellavedova, Mike Miller, Shawn Marion, Anderson Varejao and Lou Amundson. This group saw a grand total of 90 seconds of action together, but it did highlight that, for the bevy of players the Cavs have who can routinely create their own shot, they are still capable of putting a five-man unit that is… well, decidedly less able to do that.

I know, I know, it was 90 seconds. That’s all. In fact, it was a 90 seconds where the Cavs even outscored Tel Aviv 6-3. But if you take away Dellavedova’s buzzer beating J with three defenders on him, that 90 seconds was essentially the Cavaliers’ version of the Island of Misfit Toys and featured such unlikely plays as Varejao feeding the ball to Amundson like he was Amundson’s grandmother (and Amundson finishing off his plays like he was, say, my grandmother). Marion didn’t look comfortable trying to create for himself, missing an eight foot hook shot right before Delly’s heroics, and, Miller didn’t take a shot as part of this lineup.

In fact, Varejao’s insistence that he and Amundson become the next Steve Nash-to-Amar’e Stoudemire seemed like it was done partly in fun (and only partly, you know, because Amundson was open under the hoop) as you could almost see the players in that lineup look around and said, “Really? With these guys??”

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The Point Four-ward: Calm Before Storm

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Last year and forever ago...

Last year and forever ago…

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) The Cleveland Cavaliers will hold their annual pre-Training Camp Media Day this Friday, September 26 at Cleveland Clinic Courts. No actual basketball will be played, with the only chance of sweat to be broken coming in the unlikely event that someone feels it appropriate to ask LeBron James about his “hairline rumors.” Still, Media Day is the grand public preening, the public’s first look at the 2014-15 Cavaliers assembled together, the Memorial Day to the wonderful summer that is the NBA season (which, somewhat contradictorily, takes place almost entirely during the winter… but you get the idea).

2.) With the addition of A.J. Price and Lou Amundson, Cavs General Manager David Griffin has said the team’s training camp roster, now featuring a full 20 players, is set. Or, rather, it’s set until it’s not. Griffin has made it clear that the team is still interested in adding Ray Allen, should the 39-year old guard decide he wants to play this year. There will also continue to be rumors linked to whatever big man du jour people think could help shore up the team’s biggest on-paper weakness.

So, here’s who the Cavs have busy at home writing their names on the tags of their underwear as they prepare to go to camp:

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Bring the World Some Extra ‘Zine

Friday, September 19th, 2014

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If you’re a regular reader of Cavs: the Blog, part of the reason (we hope) is that you enjoy good, fresh, engaging writing about (what we assume is) your favorite basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

If the above statement is true — and you’ve never had a pleasure to get your hands on any of the previous four installments of CavsZine: The Bible of Cavs Fandom — well, you’re in luck. The fine folks at CavsZine, which features writing from your favorite local and national Cavs scribes, Cavs-centric illustrations, humor… oh, and some of the most amazing free goodies (see CavsZine exlusive Mark Price sticker above, for example) this side of a free Taco Bell chalupa on game night.

This year, with the aid of their first Kickstarter campaign, Cleveland Jackson, Alex Raffalli and company are upping the ‘Zine’s production to better be a Bible of Fandom for a championship contending team.

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