Links to the Present: Unveiling Edition

September 17th, 2014 by David Wood

nike-lebron-12-the-twelve Yesterday, LeBron James released his new signature shoe at the Nike Headquarters.  This is the twelve shoe to earn his approval, and the King is very happy with it.

“I would like this shoe,” [LeBron] joked. “But I love it because it has my name and logo on it.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Prince Kyrie Most Valuable He, All-FIBA

September 15th, 2014 by Nate Smith

prince+ali

Kyrie Irving and the USA Men’s National team won the FIBA World Cup of Basketball over the weekend and received gold medals for their efforts. After they routed Serbia in the final game, 129-92, Kyrie was named to the all-tournament team, and named tournament MVP. This is a stunning rise for Irving, who was not even the USA’s projected starter when the tournament began. After finishing 30th in points per game, and 18th in assists for the tournament, the award was unexpected. But while Harden was the top scorer for team USA, and Kenneth Faried brought unexpected and much needed energy to the squad, Irving was the man who steadied the ship for the team throughout the tournament. For the first time since I’ve watched him, Irving received accolades not as much for scoring, but for things that don’t always show up in the box score: defense, hustle, leadership, and selfless play. (Of course, it didn’t hurt that he went 6-6 from three in the final game and shot over 60% for the tourney). If this season marks the return of the King to Cleveland, Kyrie must surely be crowned prince.

Read the rest of this entry »

Links to the Present: Kyrie and Marketing Edition

September 15th, 2014 by David Wood

ALTERNATIVE CROP US forward James Harden (R) celebrates after receiving the trophy from Spain's King Felipe VI (L) after the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships final match USA vs Serbia at the Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid on September 14, 2014. USA won the match 129-92.  AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Yesterday, Kyrie Irving reached a new milestone in his basketball career, MVP of the FIBA World Cup. He had 26 points on 10-13 shots and 6-6 threes to lead all scorers during the 37 point Team USA defeat of Serbia. Irving is coming back to the Cavs a more experienced player and should be ready to play alongside LeBron James this season.  Irving has the right attitude to play with All-Star level guys.

“With USA Basketball, you’re part of something bigger than yourself,” Irving said. “I put myself in there. Whatever coach needed, whatever all my teammates needed, I was willing to do every single day. I think we all shared that, the heart and passion. Read the rest of this entry »

The Point Four-ward: When Steady Is Exciting

September 12th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

d86b698b87c7

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Kyrie Irving drew some compliments from commentators Marc Kestecher and Fran Fraschilla during ESPN’s broadcast of Team USA’s 96-68 win over Lithuania in the semi-finals of the FIBA World Cup. During the fourth quarter, Fraschilla mentioned how “steady” Irving has been throughout this tournament, adding that when you think about Irving’s performances it’s difficult to pick out a bad one. Irving has been “average” at worst, and generally “very, very good.”

Irving, who played a team high 34:27 minutes on Thursday, also led the team in scoring with 18 points. His +19 was second only to James Harden’s +20.

Read the rest of this entry »

Not a (Team USA) Recap: Team USA 96, Lithuania 68 (or, Individual Play)

September 11th, 2014 by David Wood

625x527

Team USA looked bad during the first half, while Lithuania looked competent.  America’s offense looked like a bunch of guys just playing pickup ball, and the defense just didn’t exist much of the game.  The score at the end of first half didn’t reflect that though. The talent gap between the two teams was too big for Lithuania to overcome, as they entered the second half of the game down by eight.  James Harden blew the game open in the third quarter by scoring 16 points and missing only one shot. Kyrie kept the US lead growing in the fourth quarter scoring 11 points  in the period to go with two assists.  The US could have ended the game by a larger margin if they had made their free throws instead of going 11-20.

Read the rest of this entry »

Links to the Present: Goofy Stuff Edition

September 11th, 2014 by David Wood

Photo13-1024x1024 Dion Waiters is getting some attention these days.  If you need a laugh this afternoon, check out Will Gibson’s swag evaluation over at Waiting For Next Year. The results are shown above. Dion is representing the Cavs well.

This confidence, this attitude, this—for lack of a better word—swag, has become Dion’s defining trait.  Swag isn’t just an on-court thing—it applies to fashion and lifestyle, too.  Dion knows this.  Before the 2012 draft, he said, “I am going to look real fly. Sharp. I will turn my swag all the way up.” He engages with fans on Twitter, often afterhours. He’s a fun human to have with us on Earth.

Read the rest of this entry »

The +/- Fun Zone

September 9th, 2014 by David Wood

index

Back in April, Cavs: The Blog writer Tom Pestak took a ton of time to try and figure out which Cavs two man units were the most effective using plus-minus data for individual players and plus-minus data for two man units.  To make some sense of that data, a little math was required.  Plus-minus (PM) numbers don’t take into account how many minutes players and lineups played, so it needs to be adjusted to be looked at as a per 48 minute rate.  Once that rate is figured out it can be used for all sorts of fun stuff.  By comparing players’ expected PM/48 in lineups to their lineup’s actual on the court PM/48, you can see how well the players made magic together.  If the numbers match up, then the unit played average, but if the two numbers are drastically different, the unit either under-performed or over-performed.

Tom did this exhaustive exercise for two man units on the Cavs. The conclusion: everything commonly thought was more or less wrong.  CJ Miles was a beast, Andy V and Matty D made everyone better, and Kyrie only exceeded an expected PM/48 number when playing with Miles.

Read the rest of this entry »

FIBA World Cup Report: and then There Were Two (Cavs)…

September 8th, 2014 by Nate Smith

Three Cavs continued their FIBA Basketball World Cup march this weekend. First off, Erik Murphy and Finland failed to make it out of pool play. Of course, since Murphy has the same odds of making the opening day Cavs roster as I do, calling him a “Cav” is generous. Kyrie, Andy, and Delly did, however, make it to the elimination round and one of them failed to advance…

Read the rest of this entry »

The Point Four-ward: Getting Way, Way, Way Ahead of Ourselves

September 5th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

i

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) I caught up with fellow Truehooper Graydon Gordian earlier this week. Graydon is Editor Emeritus of the Spurs’ blog 48 Minutes of Hell and this finally-August-hot September evening was the first time we’d talked hoops since the Cavs’ Hulked-Out off-season began. Possibly because I immediately demurred to his own loyalties (“There’s no way I want any part of the Spurs, should the Cavs make the Finals this year,” said I) we strolled down Hypothetical Way, talking about the likely Western Conference contenders and how, should all of the 950,000 things that must go right for any team to dream of playing into late-June go right for the Cavs this year, each of them might match up against the wine and gold from Nor’thrn ‘Hia.

Read the rest of this entry »

Links to the Present: Throwback Edition, Updated With More Robert

September 4th, 2014 by David Wood

IFWT-Lebron-dunk-on-garnett

I finally have a day off of work, so I’ve been catching up on some NBA reading.  The Ball Don’t Lie blog has been doing pieces this past week about historic dunk moments in the NBA.  LeBron’s dunk on Kevin Garnett and James Posey during game 5 of the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals was covered by Joey Gulino.  This piece features some truly animated writing and is a must read.

Let me tell you something about Cleveland fans. These moments don’t happen for us, they happen to us. Except this time. Except when the greatest athlete to ever suit up for Cleveland exploded from Boston’s big green grip with no regard for the Celtic defenders, with no regard for the concept of basketball as a team game, with no regard for … well, you know.

Kevin Harlan’s forceful narration was the perfect punctuation. He said what nobody else in the moment could. Cavs fans could do nothing but scramble for inaudible exuberance. Celtics fans could do nothing but swear. Neutral fans could do nothing but shake their heads in appreciative disbelief. Doug Collins could do nothing but register the audible equivalent of slack-jawed astonishment.

Read the rest of this entry »