Archive for the ‘Links To The Present’ Category

Link to the Present: September 10, 2013 (Third Point Guard Edition)

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

The Cavaliers signed Matthew Dellavedova to a non-guaranteed 2 year, $1.3 million contract.  In June, I excluded the young Aussie and St. Mary’s grad from my top sixty of draft prospects, but also loosely compared him to Steve Nash.  According to draftexpress, he created more possessions from passes out of pick and rolls than any other player considered for this year’s draft.  Compared to drafted players, his Pure Point Rating ranked 4th of the 2013 class.  He’s big, standing 6′ – 4″ with a 6′ – 4″ wingspan, and he reliably hit 36 – 38% of his threes during four years of college, while hoisting nearly six per game.  I hope he makes the roster, then spends most of 2013 – 2014 scintillating Charge fans with dimes galore (before doing the same in Cleveland, once Kyrie starts resting for the playoffs).

Links to the Present: International Edition

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Team Canada bowed out of FIBA Americas tournament, Sunday, after a promising start, losing to Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Argentina over the last three games to seal their fate in second round play.  Tristan Thompson was solid throughout the tournament, on the boards and at the line, averaging 10 boards a game, and 78% from the free throw line.  And yes, he was shooting right handed.  From the field, he was a pretty lackluster 40%.  Having not watched the games, other than highlights, it’s hard to tell the kind of looks he was getting, but TT was shooting at a pretty high rate.  He finished the tourney as the No. 2 rebounder, behind Uraguay’s Esteban Damian Bautista Hernandez.

Canada’s wing scoring and perimeter defense were lackluster throughout the second round of the tourney.  From the the highlights I saw, Tristan and the rest of the Canucks were not exactly committal about closing out shooters.  Luis Scola rained jumpers all the way out to the three point line against the Canadian front court for 28 points in the final game.  While TT, Andrew Nicholson, and Corey Joseph made up the core of the squad, Andrew Wiggins’ absence seems to have been felt quite acutely.  (He’s currently preparing for his freshman year at Kansas).  I’d be pretty pissed if I was part of the Canada Basketball program and Wiggins was the reason I wasn’t playing in the World Cup next year.  Instead, Argentina, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico rose to join the U.S. (which has an exemption from the Olympics) as the Western Hemisphere’s representatives in the World Cup, next summer.  Team Canada will have to wait for Olynyk, Wiggins, and Bennett to join the squad, to try to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

For Tristan’s stats for the tourney, click here. For the scintillating stats of Nate favorite and permanent Tyler Zeller benchmark, Andrew Nicholson, click here.

At Eurobasket, incoming Cavs rookie, Sergey Karasev had been faring poorly, with inconsistent playing time for 0-4 Russia, who played Turkey in their final game, Monday.  He’d average 4.3 points and four boards in 18.3 minutes a game (in only three games), shooting 44% from two, but only 1/6 from three.   Then Sergey went and totally redeemed himself.

Karasev had a monster final game yesterday, scoring 25 points on 70% true shooting in 33 minutes to lead Russia to an 89-77 defeat of Turkey, who finished the tourney 1-4.  For Sergey’s box score, click here.  For his tourney stats, click here.  I’ll leave you with a Karasev interview interspersed with highlights of Sergey’s silky smooth jumper.

Links to the Present, September 2, 2013 (Kyrie Irving edition)

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

I am not sure what came over me, but I inadvertently neglected Kyrie-related links this morning. So, here’s two:

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Links to the Present: September 2, 2013

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

In another summer edition of links to the (almost) present…

Last week, Hoopshype reported that Josh Childress is working out for the Cavs and the Spurs.  During the early years of the Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford Atlanta Hawks, Childress served as their highly efficient sixth-man wing.  Following a 2007 – 2008 season featuring him playing 2300 minutes for the playoff bound Hawks and finishing fourth in the NBA for True Shooting, he bolted via free agency for Greece.  After two seasons helping guide Olympiakos to the Euroleague semifinals, and then with Linas Kleiza, the Finals, he returned to the NBA.  Hopefully he enjoyed the amazing scenery and history of Greece, because the move did nothing for his career.  Since returning, he was signed by the Suns, then amnestied, then picked up by the Nets, but shortly cut, and now…auditioning in September in hopes of making a 25-win team.  My confidence in the Gee / Clark / 20-year old Karasev rotation at the three is marginal, so I hope that Childress finally rediscovers his early form and makes the roster.  He turned 30 this summer.

Tristan lead Canada through the Tuto Marchand Cup between August 22nd and 26th.  Of all players from the several countries, he finished fifth in the tourney for points and blocked shots, and second in rebounding.  Unfortunately Canada lost every game; to a Puerto Rican squad lead by JJ Barea, Renaldo Balkman, and Carlos Arroyo; an Argentine team paced by Luis Scola; and Dominican and Brazilian teams featuring no one recognizable.  The great dawn of Canadian basketball may be a few years away.  Tristan though had two double-doubles, including a 21 & 11, committed only two turnovers in four games, and made eight of his eleven free throws; the righty foul shooting starts well enough.

This weekend, the FIBA Americas Competition started in Caracas, Venezula, and so far Team Canuck has faired much better than the week prior.  After three games, they sit at the top of their group with wins over Jamaica and Brazil.  Tristan has struggled shooting from the field, but converted 18 of 21 free throws.  This is going to be hilarious when he drains 85% of his freebies right-handed next season.  Through the three games, Thompson also snagged 25 rebounds in 78 minutes.  Good luck to the Canadian squad, as the top four groups from his 10-team competition qualify for next summer’s FIBA World Cup.

Dion’s Dream Chasers Summit went down last Friday.  I am not sure of details, but Philly.com discussed it Saturday, primarily with a focus on rapper Meek Mill.  Honing in on Mr. Mill (?) makes sense though; he has 2.75 million twitter followers.  I cannot immediately think of any of his songs, but will certainly discuss with Colin, hopefully increasing my street cred along the way.

In other news, Dion told Hoopsworld, “this year, I’m going to show a lot of people who doubted me and still doubt me. I’m going to show them. And I don’t need praise and all of that. I just want to be respected. I’m coming.” No one ever doubted Dion’s bravado, but I like some of these thoughts even better:

  • I’m working on everything, especially staying balanced when I shoot the ball. That’s the biggest thing, as well as taking good shots within the offense; and
  • We have a big year coming up and I need to be ready for my team and the organization; or perhaps
  • If you have a good game or a bad game, you can’t let it affect you. You just have to keep working hard and playing hard every day.

For what it’s worth, my most hoped-for individual storyline of next season is probably, “Dion proves doubters wrong”.

How did I miss this?  C.J. Miles releases rap records every summer?  The link includes the first single from this year’s mixtape.  Although the production quality seems poor (at least on my computer), I like @masfresco’s flow.  He avoids the basic bling and bi&%@$ stuff, and makes do with a one line hook (which probably doesn’t qualify as such).  I wouldn’t have guessed CJ Miles sounded like this.

Links to the Present: California Dreamin’ Edition

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

If you follow Dion Waiters’, and Kyrie Irving’s twitter feeds, you’re  aware that the informal workouts that Sam Amico reported about last week have been going on the last couple of days.  A large contingent of Cavs appears in the pic above — taken at a post workout beach football game (and yes, that concept scares me).  Another pic’s here.  A very brief video is available here of Boobie (still in the mix!), Kyrie, and the boys taken by Keyshia Cole (warning, some comments on these links may contain offensive language).

In cased you missed it in the last few days, Anderson Varejao narrated a “draw my life” video in Portuguese with English subtitles to help promote 2016 Olympic Games in Rio (the video’s really compelling).   Joe Gabriel of Cavs.com broke down the Cavs’ competition in the East this year.  Truehoop’s David McMenamin posted an in depth interview with Anthony Bennettt.  Oh, and yesterday, the Cavs announced that they’ve signed all their 2013 draft picks.  I love the last bit of news, because it means Sergey Karasev will be in Cleveland, not Russia, next season.  He is one of the men that has a chance to be the best player from the 2013 draft.  CavsTV’s  “Summer of Sergey” shows just how electric Sergey could be.

Meanwhile, Anthony Bennett’s been getting his photo taken around townTristan Thompson starts play today in the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup for Team Canada (games can be seen, here).  And Nate Duncan of Hoopsworld posted a piece on Thompson and Waiters being the future of the Cavs — including the problems it presents, and the adjustments those players must make for the Cavs to be better.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a scintillating highlight video of Kyrie Irving from last week’s Jamal Crawford Pro-Am in Seattle.  The God Shammgod-esque handles at the beginning of the vid and at the 43 second mark must be seen to be believed.  In the video, Kyrie dribbles, shoots, dunks, passes, (and yes) defends like he’s one of the best players in the world.

And, oh.  Nice socks, Dion.

Links to the Present: TT’s “Ricky Vaughn moment” edition (Updated)

Monday, August 12th, 2013

We’ve been a little lax of late, so forgive us for not mentioning sooner that team Canada played a two game series against Jamaica on the eighth and tenth.  In these exhibitions, Tristan Thompson’s developing right handed jump shot was on display.  In the first game, TT’s offensive was pretty nonexistent.  He scored only four points on 2-9 from the field and 0-2 from the line where, yes, he shot right handed.   Despite the poor shooting, he grabbed a game high 8 rebounds, and chipped in two assists and two steals.  He also played decent defense.  Thompson helped to hold Jamaican centerpiece and former Cavalier, Samardo Samuels, to 15 points on 5-14 shooting with 7 turnovers.  Team Canada won 81-72.

In the second game, Tristan was dominant, leading team Canada to a 17 point comeback for a 77-72 win.  In 23 minutes of action, Thompson scored 16 points and grabbed 10 boards and shot 6-11  and 4-4 at the charity stripe, including two clutch free throws in the final two minutes.   Click here for the post game interview with TT, and a few highlights.

Tristan’s switch to right handedness has been an interesting story this summer, and I’ve long said that if he can pull it off, it could be his “Ricky Vaughn discovers he needs glasses” moment.  (Though it’s now 24 years old, Major League is still required watching if you’re a Cleveland sports fan).  Michael Grange of Canada’s Sportsnet leads the coverage charge with a lengthy article on Tristan’s conversion, here.  Also in that link is a radio interview Tristan did with Grange and Tim Micallef on SportsNet 590′s Tim and Sid show.

By all accounts, the conversion of TT’s primary shooting hand from left to right is unprecedented in professional basketball history.  But Austin Carr has been beating the “TT shoots better righty” drum since the Canadian’s rookie year.  Jason Lloyd previewed the “conversion” during Tristan’s improved play last February.  Cavs the Blog staffers have been noting Tristan’s more deft right hand for some time.  Tristan finally took heed to all our advice some time last November, and conducted a little experiment, according to the Grange article.

“We got back to Cleveland and got one of the ball-boys to record me and I shot 100 jumpers with my left and 100 with my right and it was significantly better with my right-hand. There was just a better flow to it with my right, it looked smoother…”

Also according to Grange’s piece, the Cavs are doing everything they can to help Tristan with the conversion, and are fully on board.

The Cavaliers have hired Dave Love, a shooting coach from Calgary who learned from the highly-respected Chip Engelland… Engelland is currently an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs and widely credited with successfully revamping Spurs star Tony Parker’s shot.

Tristan will be further refining the right handed J when team Canada plays in the 2013 FIBA Americas Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela from August 30th, to September 11th.  The tournament is an important qualifier for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.  I can’t wait to watch.

In other Cavs news, Sam Amico tweeted Sunday that the Cavs will be getting together for informal workouts in L.A. some time next week, with Kyrie Irving organizing. Amico also tweeted that LeBron can opt out of his contract next summer, and that it will be a story all year — in case you didn’t know

Finally, and most importantly, the Cavaliers mascot, Moondogg, is apparently available for weddings

Update: Click here, for Brendan Bowers’ story about Anderson Varejao helping a stranded Brazilian couple return home from the Cleveland Hopkins Airport.  Man, do I love Wild Thing.

Update II: Bradford Doolittle of ESPN Insider (account required) and Basketball Prospectus predicts the Cavs to be the NBA’s most improved team, here.

Links to the Present: August 5, 2013 – D.R.E.A.M Edition (Dion Rules Everything Around Me)

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Some day, Dion Waiters will appear in Dos Equis commercials.

His charity bowling event took place Sunday.  Check out this three minute video at the nba’s website: a couple hundred people; Dion battling early adversity to dominate; push-up challenges; and it’s all for a good cause.  That’s a fine day.

Also, a nice article from Donna Ditota at Syracuse.com, discussing the effort that Waiters is putting in on-and-off the court this summer.  It’s definitely worth a read, featuring discussion of Dion’s growing relationship with Coach Brown; his long developing respect for Jim Boeheim; and his expected role on the Cavs next season.

Thanks for helping keep summer interesting, Dion.

Links to the Present: August 3rd, 2013 (Dion Waiters making moves edition)

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

So, we have fallen silent at Cavs:the Blog.  It’s summer time, and free agency is largely over, especially now that Greg Oden signed with the Heat.  Summer League and Team USA camp are behind us, and the crew at C:tB has settled into needed rest.

Not Dion Waiters though.

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Links to the Present: National Teams Edition

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Suddenly, the Cavs are rife with national team players.

The Plain Dealer kicked off the coverage of the USA Basketball mini-camp, where the Cavs top every NBA team with three invitees, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tyler Zeller, who are hoping to use the experience as a stepping stone to regular season success.

More coverage: Check out the 50 second mark of this video to see Dion throw down a nasty between the legs slam during “dunk practice,” at the mini-camp (oh yeah, there are about a dozen other sick dunks on there too — it cannot be overstated how athletic these guys are).

Tuesday, Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal profiled Kyrie Irving in Las vegas and, his “growing up” this summer after a rough end to last season. Lloyd included this little tidbit: according to anonymous sources, “Irving is nearly a lock to be part of the 2014 FIBA World Cup team that will compete in Spain next summer.”

In other national team news, Team Canada’s training camp starts next week, and the roster has yet to be finalized, but Tristan Thompson certainly is a lock to be involved.  He’s front and center on the poster for the culmination of team Canada basketball activities, the Jack Donahue International Classic featuring Team Canada versus Team Jamaica  on August 8th and 10th.  Anthony Benett won’t play or practice because of his shoulder injury, but he may still be on hand.

Speaking of Bennett, CavsTV on Cavs.com has a lot of good stuff, including the newest web series, “getting to know Anthony Bennett,” which debuted yesterday and continues today.  Who knew UNLV had such a nice locker room?

Sergey Karasev will represent team Russia in EuroBasket in Slovenia from Sept. 4th-22nd.  Rick Noland of the Chronicle-Telegram profiled Karasev yesterday after his introductory press conference by the Cavs. Bob Finnan of the News-Herald had a nice writeup on Karasev, Tuesday.  The Manu Ginobili comparisons are as thick as the hair on Wild Thing wig night.

In essence, the Cavs have a realistic shot of having 6 players in international play next September at the inaugural World Cup of Basketball: KI, Dion, Karasev, TT, Anthony Bennett, and Andy.  That doesn’t even include who they may draft or sign next offseason…  In honor of that, and in the hopes of keeping Andy healthy through next summer, I just bought this, and will be wearing it during every Cavs game in the coming season.  I can’t wait to get all of the Cavs’ players’ international jerseys.

Checking in with Dion, take a gaze at this pic of Waiters chuckling with Kevin Durant.  Also, Dion’s tweeting about out one of his many offseason endeavors, the “Dream Chasers Sports and Entertainment Summit,” which endeavors to “bring together some of the biggest names in both sports and entertainment to discuss everything from chasing dreams successfully to what it takes to make it in the industry as an athlete, musician, entrepreneur and business executive.”  The summit is August 30th, from noon to 7:00 in Philly.  Dion Waiters does not lack ambition.  There’s even a rumor that Waiters played for the Reds in ’91.

Wrapping it all up, the intra-squad scrimmage for team USA, “the Blue and White game,” is tonight at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas at 6:00 PM Pacific.  Click here for tickets (notice the ad with Kyrie front and center)… NBATV kicks off their coverage of the national team at 7:00 Eastern, and then will show the game, live, at 9:00 Eastern, with a repeat at 11:30.

Links to the Present – July 20, 2013: Andrew Bynum is Joe Namath edition

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

We are a day late on this news, but the Cavs introduced Andrew Bynum yesterday. He said “this is definitely a playoff team”; a guarantee the new big man is now obliged to follow through on.  One day into his official employment with the Cavaliers, so far, so good; Bynum is spending a lot of time with the doctors and in the gym.

Real GM reports (via Jason Lloyd / Akron Beacon Journal) that Mike Brown wants Dion Waiters to strictly play shooting guard.  This is completely rational, assuming the back-up point guard option is not Donald Sloan.  Fortunately, Jarrett Jack is not Donald Sloan.  Coach Brown seems to be stressing defense with Dion, and from reports, the young protege is listening.  Dion possesses potential to be an impactful player at that end of the court, and hopefully he gets there.

Finally, according to Jason Lloyd, Tyler Zeller will miss the remainder of Summer League; he requires stitches on his left ring finger.  The injury is not serious, and he was likely to sit out the remaining games regardless.  He will participate in next week’s USA Basketball Mini-camp.  Glad to hear that Tyler is okay, but this shocking blow may derail the team’s ongoing Summer League championship aspirations.  Losing his 10 point, 8 rebound averages requires a Herculean effort from Kenny Kadji in order to hoist the Cavs into the final four.  Their quarter-final appearance starts at 4 pm EST against Miami.  Come on, Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League Team!!  Avenge the blown 27-point lead from March!!  Beat the Heat!!

On a more serious note, it would be cool if the team won and Dion, Carrick Felix, etc, kicked butt.  Possibly this has been reported somewhere already, but Dion is probably not much longer for summer league either though.