Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) Andrew Wiggins said it several times leading up to and just after the NBA draft: playing basketball for Kansas University was like being a rock star.
When I first heard him say it, he was wading through a torrent of questions at the NBA Draft Media Day which takes place the afternoon before the draft. He was answering a question about how his one season of college ball had prepared him for the rigors of life in the professional game and said that playing at KU — with the media scrutiny and fan mania that such a hoops hotbed brings with it — made him and his fellow teammates feel like “rock stars.” He smiled after he said this and everyone chuckled at the thought. But then the reporter asked a follow up: “Is that good?”
Wiggins thought about it for a moment, clearly not expecting to have to think about it for a moment and then said what every one of us probably would have said at 19 years old. He said, “Well, who wouldn’t like that?”
Dion Waiters and Bradley Beal aren’t as far apart skill wise as some people assume. Jermey Conlin penned a piece for Hardwood Paroxysm explaining why this is so. Of course, he had to mention the Kevin Love trade as the starting point for this discussion. Would the Cavs trade Waiters for Love? Yes. Would the Wizards trade Beal for Love? No. The main reason people think Beal is better so far is because of his strong three point shooting and single playoff appearance. Waiters’ stats are similar to Beal’s though.
Beal is a better shooter from three than Waiters, but Beal also takes so many more two-point jump shots, and makes fewer of them (Beal shot 37.2 percent on 519 two-point attempts outside the paint – Waiters shot 43.1 percent on 378 attempts) that there’s effectively no difference in their scoring efficiencies. In a twist of irony, it’s Waiters’ superiority on low-efficiency shots that actually offsets Beal’s superiority on high-efficiency shots at the rim and beyond the three-point line. Waiters has the reputation of the shameless gunner, but his shot selection is actually much better than Beal’s.
Cleveland has three of the last four No. 1 draft picks on its roster. The best player in the NBA is putting on a Cavs uniform this fall. The Cavaliers are the most buzzworthy team in the NBA. So what’s my problem?
First, let me just get this out there. The “plan” to trade Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins is the biggest example of groupthink since the invasion of Iraq. My thoughts on the matter are on record. But let me just reiterate the key points.
We’re getting into the dog days of summer here. You know, when you’re dripping sweat and gasping for breath during that pickup game at the park with nine other crazy souls. With David Griffin and Co. in an apparent holding pattern until August 23rd, you and your fellow Cavs fans will have just a few subjects to discuss between games. So here’s five questions for you, answered by five CtB bloggers. Enjoy the run.
1.) A Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins+Anthony Bennett trade adds (subtracts?) how many wins to next season’s team? How about the playoff picture?
Tom: Love’s SWAgR was about 12, meaning he produced about 12 wins himself. Anthony Bennett’s SWAgR was negative. I’ll assume that Bennett would produce about a win this season and Wiggins about two (grabbing Kawhi Lenoard’s rookie season as my comp). The Cavs go +9 regular season wins with this trade. Putting them from mid 50s to mid 60s. Usually I would never assume that things would work out seamlessly for the Cavs, but Love and LeBron are outlandishly better passers than the Cavs have had during the rebuild trade-asset-accumulation-process (or TAAP). The playoffs are murkier because, as we’ve seen in the past, PEDs match-ups can be game-changers. But the talent alone will take them to the Conference Finals. And if they’re healthy and firing on all cylinders, the Finals. I wouldn’t predict that without Love.
Forget sausage legs on the beach. My bald head in Sicily.
I rounded the southern tip of Ortigia, the island city center of Siracusa, Sicily. Drinking in the sinking Ionian sun, I glanced to my left at a small sicilian boy rocking a Miami Heat hat. For a split second, my vacation euphoria was replaced by the dull ache of disgust. Then a beautiful thing happened. Almost immediately, the feeling gave way to an open-mouthed giggle that brought the boy’s eyes to mine. “Go Cavs!” I cheered. I don’t think he understood what I said. I didn’t care. What was more important to me in that moment was the realization that this time next year, another little boy’s hat would be displaying a Cavalier’s sword. Or even better, the word: Cleveland.
The Kevin Love trade has seemed inevitable for the past two weeks now. ESPN has reported that it is now even more inevitable, as no other teams are involved in talks about obtaining Love. The Bulls don’t have a young cheap possible superstar to offer, and the Warriors still don’t want to give up Klay Thompson in a trade for Love.
Last week, ESPN.com reported that the Bulls had re-emerged as a serious suitor for Love, despite the fact they had a few more trade assets to offer Minnesota before last month’s NBA draft. But sources said this week that Chicago essentially has conceded to the Cavs, knowing it can’t furnish a player with both Wiggins’ superstar potential and his favorable rookie-scale contract.
The Cavaliers organization is preparing to fold up the paint-splatted tarps, take down the scaffolding and scrub everyone from finger nails to elbows with Lava soap, signaling an end to one of the wildest rebuilds in league history. But, this October will not the first time LeBron James has tightened the draw-string on a pair of wine and gold shorts. So, it seems fitting to take this mid-summer’s time when the NBA news cycle has finally (finally!) receded to its yearly low tide to take a look back on some of the other Cavs teams LeBron James has led and where the starters on those clubs, those not-quite-ready-for-championship players, are now.
Let’s start at the very beginning… with your 2003-04 Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs inked their number one draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, on Friday. He can no longer be traded for thirty days. So the team has until August 23rd to figure out a trade for Love not involving Wiggins. While this is my hope, it seems unlikely that the Wolves will make any deal with the Cavs that doesn’t involve their talented wing prospect.
The Cavs amazing off-season continues. To celebrate, we all pitched in and bought a big ole variety pack of Brews and Bruises. We just threw them all in the iced down cooler and the labels fell off, so no one could be quite sure what what beer or player they were going to get. Reach in, pop the top, sit back, and enjoy the 2014 Cavaliers Off-Season Beer Guide, and remember, drink responsibly…
Nate Smith is an Associate Editor. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved to NE Ohio in 2000. He adopted the Cavs in 2003 and graduated from Kent State in 2009 with a BA in English. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or @oldseaminer on Twitter.
Tom Pestak is an Associate Editor. He's from the west side of Cleveland and lives and (mostly) dies by the success and (mostly) failures of his beloved teams. You can watch his fanaticism during Cavs games @tompestak.
Robert Attenweiler is a Staff Writer. Originally from OH, he's long made his home in NYC where he writes plays and screenplays (www.disgracedproductions.com) some of which end up being about Ohio, basketball or both. He has also written for The Classical and the blog Raising the Cadavalier. You can contact him at email@example.com or @cadavalier.
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