Archive for October, 2010

The new-look Cavs, by category

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Just a more or less straightforward inventory of the team’s roster here, with the players least likely to be traded and/or be most crucial to the team’s present and future success occupying the highest levels. Within the levels, the players are in no particular order.

Tier 1: And they shall lead us into the abyss

Mo Williams: Generally recognized as the team’s “second option” when LeBron was around. Has expressed a strong desire to stay in Cleveland and lead the team in the coming seasons. Up-tempo style should suit his strengths, and lineups that feature Mo at the 2 and Ramon Sessions at the 1 could cause a lot of mismatches. The odds-on favorite to lead the team in scoring next season.

Could opt out after this season, which could happen if a contender without a true point comes up short, has a decent amount of cap space, and Mo is willing to take a pay cut of some kind.

Ramon Sessions: Not a big name, coming off a bad year, and his biggest accomplishment to date was being considered the sleeper free agent of the summer of 2009. Not shooting the ball well in preseason. Has never shot the ball very well, ever. Still, everyone knows Sessions was a terrible fit in the triangle.

More importantly, if this team wants to run, it’s going to need a pure point guard, and Sessions is the only guy who even remotely fits that bill. How well or how poorly Ramon Sessions plays next season could represent a 10-game win for the Cavaliers. I’m scared too. Still, best pure point guard since Andre Miller! That’s not nothing!

J.J. Hickson: The only intriguing prospect the Cavaliers have that has spent a significant amount of time playing organized basketball in America. Big, explosive, athletic, shows flashes of skill. Should flourish in an up-tempo system. Could crumble if asked to create too many shots and/or be relied upon to anchor the defense. This could go a number of ways. Hickson is The Future. We just don’t know what that future will hold.

Tier 2: It’s been a great ride, but there’s just so much road ahead

Anderson Varejao: Extremely talented player built to thrive on good teams. Up-tempo play should suit his style, but he’s not an ideal frontcourt partner for Hickson. More importantly, a rebuilding team probably shouldn’t be committed to a role player (albeit a player who performs that role extremely well) for 7-9 million dollars a year through the 2014/15 season. (In fairness, that last year is only partially guaranteed.)

If Varejao is ready to be a full-time center and Hickson’s jumper has improved enough for him to play alongside a guy who can’t shoot from the outside, Varejao and Hickson could work really well. If they don’t, there’s almost always a team willing to take a long-term financial risk for the short-term benefit a player like Varejao could have on a playoff run.

Tier 3: I have no idea what to do with you, Antawn

Antawn Jamison: Maybe the best all-around player currently on the roster. Also set to start the season as the team’s 6th man. All-around scorer who can create shots for himself or finish the opportunities given to him by others. Two years and 29 million left on his deal, and he’s not going to be single-handedly carrying the team to glory any time soon.

Jamison isn’t getting any younger, but there’s still a chance some team will want him at the deadline. If a team makes an offer for Jamison, the Cavs will almost certainly listen. If the Cavs don’t manage to move Jamison this season, there are worse things to have around than Jamison’s professional attitude and all-around prowess.

Tier 4: If not a true trade chip, then certainly some other sort of trade dry snack

Christian Eyenga: Extremely, extremely, extremely raw player who’s never really produced significantly in any sort of high-level basketball organization. But he’s young, he’s insanely athletic, he can shoot from outside if given time, he doesn’t need the ball in his hands, and he’s shown good flashes in both Las Vegas and the preseason. I don’t think teams will be high enough on Eyenga for him to be a significant piece of a potential Jamison/Varejao deal, but he’s so young and cheap that I can’t imagine the Cavs will let him off the payroll in the near future.

Tier 5: I originally thought these tiers would be larger

Daniel Gibson: Lights-out shooter who has been on the cusp of becoming an all-around scorer/potential bench dynamo for at least three years now. Young, surprisingly good defender, reasonably priced. Could flourish in an uptempo, guard-heavy system if he learns how to get himself to the line on a consistent basis. Signed through the 2012/13 season, with the last year being only partially guaranteed. Like Eyenga, I think this is a case where the Cavs won’t be low enough on Gibson to try and dump him and no other team will be high enough on Gibson to make a legitimate run at him.

Tier 6: The young, deeply flawed Turks

Jamario Moon: Hyper-athletic. Good rebounder. Can make threes if left open. Morally opposed to putting the ball on the floor and making plays. Decent if overeager defender. Loves to run in full-court situations and finish alley-oops. Is basically an older, slightly more expensive Christian Eyenga who knows his game can work at the NBA level. If the offense works like it should, Moon should flourish. If it doesn’t, he’ll be all but worthless on offense. Contract expires after this year.

Ryan Hollins: Extremely long and athletic center who has never been very good at playing basketball. Showed some serious potential in the pre-season, shooting efficiently and getting some nice shot blocks. Could turn out to be the under-the-radar grab of the offseason for the Cavs if he keeps doing what he did in the preseason. Will never be fully forgiven for being the player Sebastian Telfair was traded for.

Tier 7: Potentially serviceable young people

Leon Powe: Tough-as-nails banger with a gift for grabbing rebounds and drawing fouls. Has not looked great this pre-season, and not a natural fit for up-tempo play, but could carve out a niche in the rotation.

Danny Green: Solid young player, all-around skills, doesn’t need the ball, smart player who hustles. One of the few roster players to show up for Summer League. Has had a horrendous pre-season shooting the ball.

Tier 8: Potentially serviceable not-young people:

Anthony Parker: Can make corner threes if left open. Decent defender. Doesn’t do dumb things that often. Will occasionally shoot mid-range jumpers coming off screens. Not really a guy to get excited about.

Jawad Williams: All-around serviceable player. Will stop the ball on occasion.

Random pre-season captioning Monday

Monday, October 18th, 2010

I had an English paper to write tonight, so I thought I was going to be too busy to do a post of any substance. However, I was able to get some stuff done while I was procrastinating, mainly because I didn’t think I was actually working on anything.

So without further ado, here are a bunch of random NBA pictures with even randomer captions.

(Two disclaimers: I am sorry this isn’t Cavs-related in any actual way, and Doc Funk is the absolute king of this medium. Everything below is nothing more than a poor imitation of him.)

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Recap: CSKA 90, Cavs 87 (Or, Cavs almost beat a team of almost-NBA players)

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

- I mean, it’s the preseason, but that’s probably not good.

- Trajan Langdon scores 14 points on 6-9 shooting, does not attempt a three, only makes one layup. The mid-range game is not dead in Russia.

- A quick refresher on Jamont Gordon, who put up 19/7/6 against the Cavs (no Cavalier had that many assists or rebounds on Saturday):

-A product of the legendary high school/basketball factory Oak Hill Academy (Carmelo Anthony, Jerry Stackhouse, Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Tywon Lawson are also alumni), Gordon declared for the draft after three years at Mississippi State, only to go undrafted. He pulled out of the draft after his sophomore year, when he was projected to be an early second-round pick.

- The Cavs had 16 more free throw attempts than CSKA, but still managed to lose.

- Hickson and Moon: 1-9 combined from the floor. That indicates a serious lack of ball movement.

- Hollins with one of his best exhibition games yet, with 17 points and 5 boards on 5-8 shooting and a perfect 7-7 from the line. He’s got to be the most pleasant surprise of summer league. I never really thought of him as an NBA rotation player before.

- Boobie: 4-7 from beyond the arc, 3-10 inside of it.

- Everyone else was pretty bad tonight. Until later, campers.

Links To The Present: October 14, 2010

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Tonight the following players sat out: Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson.  Anthony Parker and Antawn Jamison played less than a half.  Still, the Cavs cruised against the Spurs.  Looking forward to the SHIRT after THIS LINE: 13 pts, 4 boards, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 three, 75% shooting in 22 minutes.

So the Cavs are looking pretty good in the preseason and that’s good news.  One thing to keep in my mind is that if the Cavalier really did get destroyed by Byron Scott in training camp they might be much closer to game shape than the rest of the league.  However, some think the preseason is a great indicator of future success after adjusting for minutes: “The preseason is a significant factor for predicting regular season success. In fact, preseason performance is comparable to regular season performance for predicting future wins and losses. After accounting for the number of starter minutes played, the difference becomes even smaller.”

From, um, Kelly Dwyer: “They don’t want to rebuild, figuring that the additions of Ramon Sessions and, um, Joey Graham will be enough to stem the tide in LeBron James’ absence.”

A couple thoughts on this:

1.) Who said the Cavs didn’t want to rebuild?  Ramon Sessions was born in nineteen eighty-six.

2.) If they had wanted to “stem the tide” for this season they could have offered Shaq 5 million dollars and tossed it to him 20 times a game and played inside-outside with Mo and Jamison.  They’d have won 40 games and probably fought for a playoff spot.  (they still might)

3.) I have read from numerous sources how screwed the Cavaliers future is.  Marc Stein: “Who dares to think Clevelanders will be healed 3 1/2 years from now?”  Fanhouse: “It is a painful reality, and though Cleveland fans have suffered already this summer, they haven’t seen anything yet.”  I’m having trouble seeing it.  They have a young team with mostly reasonable contracts, they have two skilled big men under 30, they have 15 million in trade exceptions, and most importantly they have an owner willing to spend money.

This pretty much sums it up:No team, no city, and no group of players have a bigger right to come into the 2010-11 NBA season with a gigantic chip on their shoulders than Cleveland. When LeBron James abandoned his friends and fans on National TV, he could not have found a way to cause them greater pain. But the Cavaliers have survived for 40 years in Cleveland and been to the playoffs 18 times over their stay. Now entering their forty-first season; it is all about getting back into contention once again.”

This is pretty funny stuff from, um, Kelly Dwyer.

It’s been about the UTES. “The answer lies in the impressive performances by the younger guys on the team. Each of the top 7 on the Cavs in points per game are under 30 years old and only one, Jawad Williams, is over 25.” [Andrew - WFNY]

I tried picking out a sentence or two from this post that I liked (misplaced modifier! or is it?) but I love the entire thing (yep, it was) – probably because I love AC.

“When someone new walks near my desk and notices said posters, they almost always ask “Are you still a Cavs fan?” I was so surprised by this the first time it was asked that I almost didn’t know what to say.” [Danny Tarter]

Get well soon, Joe!  I remember being in the backseat of my family’s station wagon driving to my Great Aunt’s house for a picnic when I heard this call.  8 years old, never forgot it.  Hear that crowd?  That’s the Cavaliers before LeBron James.

Here’s another one I vividly remember - feigning sleep under my covers with my radio glued to my ear.

Just listen to all of them.

Cavs previews from NBA Playbook, AOL FanHouse

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Here’s Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook’s Cavaliers preview.

Here is Bethlehem Shoals and Tom Ziller’s Cavaliers preview. Enjoy them both.

Recap: Cavs 85, Mavericks 79 (Or, another glorious triumph bereft of meaning)

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Another good exhibition win. Some quick bullets:

-Your star of the night was Manny Harris, who scored 14 points on only six field goal attempts and threw in four assists, four rebounds, and three steals for good measure. That’s how to earn a rotation spot, Manny.

- Boobie Gibson: 15 points, 4-12 shooting, one ankle injury that he claims isn’t serious.

- Hollins: only 3 turnovers/fouls in 29 minutes! Also, zero field goals. Is he seriously going to be the starting center?

- Samardo Samuels: that is not how to earn a rotation spot.

- Jamison is having a horrible preseason. Hopefully this is a “I’ve been in the league long enough to know preseason doesn’t matter” thing rather than a “God officially hates me and I’m not going to try any more” thing.

- Anthony Parker: terrible game. I worry about this.

- Sessions: 5-12 shooting, 5 assists. 0-7 from outside the paint, 5-5 from inside the paint. Play to your strengths, Mr. Sessions.

- Hickson and Moon were both solid. Good to see, although I’d still like to see Hickson make efficient scoring a priority.

Until tomorrow, campers.

Recap: Wizards 97, Cavs 83 (Or, everyone knows that preseason games don’t matter when you lose them.)

Friday, October 8th, 2010

epic fail photos - Probably Bad News: Caption FAIL

A few belated thoughts on last night’s Cavs-Wizards tilt:

-Regression to the mean for Anthony Parker, who went 1-7 from the field with one assist and two turnovers.

-More good free throw totals for Hickson, but another inefficient performance from the field for the starting power forward, as he was one of three Cavs to go 4-12 from the field. (The other two: Sessions and Boobie.)

-Eyenga got some PT and didn’t do half-bad, hitting a three and getting three assists in only 15 minutes. I think he’ll spend most of the year in the D-League, but he could be a 10-20 minutes per game player by the end of the year with the big club.

-Jamario Moon did not attempt a single two-point shot in 21 minutes of play. That is not good.

-Wow, Leon Powe took 8 shots from the floor and didn’t get fouled. That may be a record for him.

-Hey, 14 rebounds for Ryan Hollins! And only 7 combined turnovers/fouls for him, meaning he’s only screwing up once every four minutes or so.

Bullets of Randomness:

I’ll just say this: David Thorpe really thinks he made a breakthrough with Yi this summer. If Yi plays during the regular season like he did against the Cavs, this Wizards team could have a major secret weapon.

Recap: Cavs 87, Bobcats 72 (Or, the beginning of the beginning)

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Cavs-Related Bullets:

-And so another Cavs basketball season semi-officially begins anew. Let’s get to some notes:

-Another shaky debut game for Antawn Jamison, who started the game and went 1-9. The good news: unlike Antawn’s historically terrible Cavs debut, this game didn’t count. If one guy had to have a horrible night on Tuesday, I’m glad it’s a guy who’s not fighting for minutes.

-Your team leader in minutes, rebounds, steals, and blocks tonight: a one Jamario Moon, who also shot 3-5 from the field and only turned it over once. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again; the more the ball moves and the offense works like it should, the more effective Jamario is.

Last year, you knew the team was rolling on all cylinders when Jamario was hitting wide-open threes, getting out on the break, and converting alley-oops. Since the team no longer has the size or LeBron James necessary to win without the offense working, Jamario Moon should be the proverbial canary in the coal mine this season.

-Tom noted this earlier, but Boobie made 10 free throws tonight. To provide some context, Boobie made 34 free throws last season, over the course of 1,068 minutes. His high for free throws in a MONTH was 12. Boobie made exactly 10 free throws from February 4th to the end of the regular season last year. (He made a grand total of two free throws in the playoffs.)

So tonight was very encouraging for Boobie’s potential as an all-around scorer. Does this performance earn a shirt? YOU’RE DARN RIGHT IT DOES.

boobie shirt

It’s good to have basketball back.

-Ramon Sessions: great pure point, brought energy, changes the game, makes the offense work. Not great at making the ball go in the basket all the time. The latter is less important than the former, but hopefully he can score more efficiently than he did tonight in the future. Still a very encouraging performance.

-Hey, Anthony Parker! I do not have high hopes for him this season, but he made 4 of his 5 shots and both of his threes tonight.

-Love seeing Hickson get 5 offensive boards and 10 free throw attempts. Do not love a starting power forward who doesn’t shoot threes go 5-13 from the floor. The work on the post moves and the mid-range jumper is all well and good, but J.J. is, was, and always should be a finisher first and foremost.

-Ryan Hollins: 4 fouls and 3 turnovers in 15 minutes. That’s a screw-up every 2.14 minutes, folks. Still, the man is clearly talented.

Bullets of Randomness:

-The Bobcats seem like a team that would look bad in exhibition play — when the games count, they win because of their defense and intensity rather than their offensive talent. However, they’ve got a veteran core and are coming off a playoff season, so they don’t have a whole lot to prove in exhibition play. Just a theory.

-A year ago, I would have TOTALLY been freaking out over the fact that LeBron went 0-3 from the line in his first game. WHY DOES HE NOT SHOOT 700 FREE THROWS A DAY IN THE OFF-SEASON? WHY DOES HE NOT SEE THE VALUE IN THIS? Well, that’s not my problem anymore. So I’ve got that going for me. If you’ll excuse me, I’m late for my basketball anhedonia meeting with Gilbert Arenas. Until tomorrow, campers.

Links To The Present: October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Booby Gibson got to the line 10 times – I LOVE THAT. “Daniel Gibson continued to build on his strong performance in training camp with 18 points, including making all 10 of his free throws. J.J. Hickson, who came off the bench, added 17 points and nine rebounds.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“Now he’s followed LeBron to Miami for even more money, and those readers are left in the rubble. For them, no matter what questions were, weren’t, couldn’t have been, or shouldn’t have been asked, his time on the beat here really couldn’t have ended any worse. It’s only right by them (by us) to acknowledge that, and to ask about how it might have ended better.” [Cleveland Frowns on Windhorst's Relationship with Team]

Vince Grzegorek interview’s Windhorst

Overview of Windhorst’s interview on the radio

Dan Gilbert is a fan of a Hard Cap says WFNY

The Q from the cheap seats

“Moon: “This is home here. Basketball is still alive in Cleveland.”" [WFNY Scott]

Reading this post I realized, this is really the first time Kobe v LeBron fans have gone at it since June.  Judging by the comments, LeBron’s new fans aren’t very intelligent.

Cavs defeat the Bobcats – Fans entertained.

I found Hollinger’s player profile of ex-Cav Andre Miller to be entertaining.  “Miller’s nickname should be “Groundhog Day,” because he has the same season every year. He shows up in poor shape and gets off to a slow start. Then out of the blue he goes gangbusters in January, leading to a slew of “Andre Miller is the League’s Most Underrated Player” articles. Last season it came with the added bonus of a practice confrontation with Nate McMillan right before his outburst, but it happens every season as reliably as the sunrise.”

Profile Roundup and other things

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

-A quick break from drilling logic games to give you some Cavs news:

Hollinger’s Cavalier profiles are up on ESPN. For those of you who don’t have insider, Hollinger is bullish on what Sessions can do (although he projects him to be the 6th man), likes Jamison and thinks he’ll start at the 3, is a very big fan of Varejao, revealed that his name for Leon Powe is “the whistle,” in both a good and bad sense, and, like the rest of us, is cautiously optimistic about Hickson.

He’s bearish on Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson, and Jawad Williams.

-Mary Schmitt Boyer on how the Cavs are getting ready for tonight’s preseason opener. Man, I’m ready for basketball.

-Jamison is optimistic about how he’ll fit into Byron Scott’s system. Hickson/Jamison could be a key controversy this season — like Hollinger noted today, Jamison is a much better catch-and-shoot/pick-and-roll guy than a guy who creates scoring opportunities for himself, despite his reputation. However, Hickson is the future. Classic short-term/long-term type thing.