Archive for August, 2011

ESPN’s 5 questions on the Cavs

Monday, August 29th, 2011

This summer, ESPN’s 5 on 5 panels have been answering questions on every team in the NBA. Last Friday, the Cavs were up.

The link is:

ESPN 5 on 5

John and Colin were unable to participate, so Cavs:theblog was unrepresented. Here are my answers, in 30 words or less.

1. Baron Davis and Kyrie Irving as the starting backcourt. Both will have some PG responsibilities.

2. Casspi at SF. Jamison at PF and Thompson gets 20 – 25 minutes everynight somewhere in the frontcourt . Varejao starts at center.

3. The pick is very protected and could become 2nd round, so I’m on the fence.  Bright side is the Cavs now have at least one young, legitimate NBA caliber wing.

4. Right Track. Irving, Thompson, 14 draft picks in 4 years. Only $9 million committed in 2013 – 2014. The team has alot of flexibility available.

5. Lebron who? If we’re talking about the NBA, we can talk about Lebron. If we’re talking about the Cavs, Lebron is part of history.

Drawings from the Notebook of Chris Grant (episode 14)

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Dan Gilbert moving on...

By Ryan & AJS, at

Diamond in the Rough?…Semih Erden

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

After four of these the title may be comical, but…

Last year Semih Erden came to the NBA after several years playing for Fenerbahce Ulker in the Euroleague and Turkish leagues. He played only 64 minutes for the Cavs, but logged over 500 minutes with the Celtics. Erden is big (7’ tall, 240 lbs) and athletic, but frequently has not played to his full potential. His performance in the NBA was mixed. Last year as a low usage center, he ranked 11th of 59 big men for true shooting, but was in the bottom quarter in rebounding and had the 9th worst turnover rate. His production last year was somewhat different than his European outputs. In the last three Euroleague seasons, his true shooting never exceeded 54%. He was a more effective rebounder in Europe, although still generally considered as underachieving. Committing fouls was more of a problem in the NBA, as he averaged 7 per 40 minutes. He has always had a reasonably high turnover rate, so at least that was consistent. The most comparable NBA seasons in the last nine years are:

Viewing this table provides a snapshot on how size is valued in the NBA. These six comparable players are not very good, yet they have played a combined 44 NBA seasons. All six have played at least 5 seasons and five were active last year. A more amazing aspect is that these seasons largely represent their best efforts. Based on a reasonably objective screening; the two seasons for Jones and Armstrong were their two best, as was the case for Jarron Collins. Voskuhl’s years on the list represent two of his three best. Those shown for Brown and Hollins rank in their top half of seasons.

Despite not being great defensive forces and being below average rebounders that are turnover prone, each has staked out a reasonable NBA career. Even with the occasional high efficiency shooting season, they are low volume scorers. Only 4 of their 44 seasons featured more than 12 points per 36 minutes and none was above 13 points per 36. Shorter men would not have lasted this long in the NBA. Being center-sized may be the easiest way to have a lengthy NBA career.

If Erden can get playing time next year, play average defense and be a non-disaster offensively; he can probably get another NBA contract. This doesn’t mean anything for his future ability to contribute to the Cavs though. As previously discussed; none of the comparable players ever significantly improved, to the contrary, most were “peaking” during their comparable years. Unless Erden finds serious commitment and effectiveness on defense, he probably won’t be better than a poor back up center.

(In fairness, it is noted that Kwame Brown has developed into a good rebounder. He is still turnover prone and a low volume scorer. The others are still bad at everything.)

Player Breakdown: Omri Casspi

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

From Conrad Kaczmarek at Fear the Sword:

Offensively, Casspi has an interesting skill set. At 6-foot-9-inches, he has more than adequate size to play the small forward position. Compare this to Christian Eyenga who measures in at merely 6-foot-5-inches. The size is a luxury that the Cavaliers would be happy to have at the 3-spot. It gives Byron Scott much more flexibility with the roster and would allow him to move Casspi to the 4-spot if they were to run a particularly small line-up out there.

Hit the link for Kaczmarek’s full analysis. As for me, I have little opinion on Casspi because, like most NBA fans not living in California’s capital, I have watched only a handful Kings games over the past couple of years. (I had to check in on my boy DeMarcus Cousins a couple times last season.) From what I understand, Casspi’s a lanky wing player who can shoot the three and doesn’t play defense. Remember when Phoenix wanted to offload Amare and the Cavs wouldn’t give up Hickson? Because I do.

Diamond in the Rough?…Manny Harris

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Manny Harris played almost 1000 minutes for the Cavs last year, following three years at the University of Michigan. After going undrafted, his skill set with the Cavs was similar to his college performance. He was an inefficient scorer, but a solid rebounder who mixed good passing skills with a propensity for turnovers. Of 78 NBA shooting guards last year, Harris was in the bottom ten for true shooting but was 12th best in rebounding rate.

His comparable NBA players over the previous 8 years are interesting. The most similar include:

This list features a larger amount of quality players than the results for Samardo Samuels and Luke Harangody. Unfortunately Manny Harris isn’t comparable to the more impressive players on the list. Monta Ellis was a rookie drafted straight out of high school. Joe Johnson was the 10th pick in the draft and is 3” taller and 40 lbs heavier than Harris. He shot 44% from three his final year of college; it took him a couple of years to reach his full pro potential. Sefolosha is one of the best defensive guards in the game.

The most encouraging take away, at least for Harris if not for the Cavs, is the number of similar guards who have managed extended NBA careers. Devin Brown doesn’t show up on the list above due to his age, but he was undrafted and had a similar career offensive profile to Harris’ rookie season. Brown played 9000 minutes in the NBA. Marquis Daniels was also undrafted. His three seasons from age 26 to 28 were very similar to Harris, and Daniels followed those up with a new contract. Same story for Desmond Mason at age 28 & 29; he was able to sign a $10 million contract immediately following his similar seasons. Finally, John Salmons was a late bloomer who didn’t have a season with true shooting over 51 until age 27 and didn’t improve on his turnovers until age 29. Four of Salmons’ first six seasons featured worse turnover rates than Harris.

For Harris to earn a second NBA contract, he will need to improve. This seems like a possibility though, due to the manner in which he struggled last year. Harris made only 27% of his shots ranging 3 to 15 ft from the basket and only 38% of his total two point shots. Regression to the mean seems like it could apply here; Harris was not a good shooter at Michigan, but he did make 49% of two-point shots his junior year. Making more than one-quarter of his shots from 3 – 15 ft is certainly a reasonable improvement to expect. Harris also needs to reduce his turnovers, but this is somewhere he made significant strides every year in college. As he adjusts to the NBA’s speed, perhaps he can similarly reduce his turnover rate with the Cavs.

Harris did over-perform in one aspect last year; his 37% three point shooting (eFG% = 55) was much better than expected. If he can keep this from plummeting, while hitting a few more shots from mid-range and making steps to reign in his turnovers; Harris can get a second NBA contract. This all seems possible. Maybe he can stick around for a while and have a big mid-career improvement like John Salmons. That’s probably less likely.

Drawings from the Notebook of Chris Grant (episode 13)

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Tristan Thompson is Canadian

By Ryan + AJS, at

Omri Casspi to Maccabi Tel Aviv?

Monday, August 15th, 2011

From Kurt Helin at PBT:

[MTV] already signed Jordan Farmar and now Omri Casspi is reportedly set to return to the team.

The Cavaliers forward played for the Israeli club before coming to the NBA and now is headed back there during the lockout, reports the Jerusalem Post.

Since I haven’t weighed in on this: I think it’s great that NBA players are heading overseas during the lockout. It’s good for the game globally, and the players are staying in basketball shape. Win-win. That is, until someone blows out their knee Shaun Livingston-style because they land awkwardly after being hacked on a layup by a 7-foot Slovenian. Then it’s a problem.

Diamond in the Rough?…Luke Harangody

Monday, August 15th, 2011

In Part 2 of this series, Luke Harangody will be the topic. Harangody was difficult to find comparisons for, due to his extreme performance in two categories; he had the third lowest true shooting and third lowest turnover rate of all power forwards. Over the nine seasons from 2002 – 2003 to 2010 – 2011, there were only 8 seasons by a PF featuring a lower turnover rate (3 by Matt Bonner). This is out of 650 PF seasons. Only 21 of the seasons included lower true shooting.

The table below reflects the only power forwards that were 27 or under, had true shooting percentage between 40 and 48, and turnover rate less than 10%. It’s less than one player per season.

Regardless of age, there were only 12 power forwards (16 seasons) in this combined true shooting and turnover range. This is not the type of player that plays in the NBA very often, and typically it is the statistical footprint of players who don’t last much longer. The average number of total games played by the 12 players after registering this type of season (post 2002 – 2003) is 78. Hansbrough and Arthur are the only ones still active and are bucking the “career is almost over” trend.

Given the low number of matches based on Harangody’s combined true shooting and turnover rate, a look solely at true shooting is further revealing. From 2002 – 2003 to 2009 – 2010, there were 27 power forwards that registered true shooting under 46%. Again this is typically the domain of players, young or old, who don’t have much of a future in the league. 23 of the 27 are essentially done with their careers and weren’t able to significantly contribute again after their season with sub-46% true shooting. An example of their lack of impact is that, as a whole, they averaged 50 minutes of playoff playing time for the remainder of their careers.

The other four players are:

Beyond the fact that only 15% of the sub-46 power forwards found success after that season, it’s hard to sell the 4 players that did as a great comparison to Harangody. Arthur and Humphries were both 20 years old. Hansbrough had vertigo. Jeffries has managed to play 12000 minutes and make $38 million while contributing very little offensively. It’s doubtful that Harangody pulls that off.

With Samardo Samuels, reasonably comparable players had contributed to NBA champions. With Harangody, most comparable players find themselves on the way out of the league.  Though unlikely based on his 33% three point shooting in college and 24% last year, maybe he can develop the ability to shoot 40% from three. That would appear to be his best chance to stick in the NBA, and due to the lockout, there may be plenty of time to practice.

Next up will be Manny Harris, which will hopefully provide a more optimistic report.

(Sidebar on PER. A complaint with PER is that it can reward high usage regardless of efficiency.  2011 Harangody vs 2010 Hansbrough is a good example. They were essentially equal as shooters and passers. Harangody was a better defensive rebounder; however Hansbrough was a better offensive and overall rebounder. They were similar in steals, blocks, and personal fouls, with Harangody being slightly better in 2 of the 3. Despite offensive rebounding being the only difference in his favor, Hansbrough was a league average player while Harangody was replacement level according to PER. Hansbrough’s PER benefited from shooting a lot of shots, despite being the NBA’s second worst power forward for true shooting. It seems like using a lot of possessions at near NBA low shooting would be bad for player efficiency rating, but it doesn’t always work out that way. PER awards too much more credit for made field goals and free throws than it discredits a player for missed shots.)

Drawings from the Notebook of Chris Grant (episode 12) (NSFW)

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

I call this piece, “the genesis of God’s relationship with Cleveland.”

I think the only thing you may need to know in advance (which ironically, I’m telling you post-cartoon), is that the following is the city of Cleveland’s seal:

The Seal of Cleveland, Ohio

We’ve made a huge mistake…


Diamond in the Rough? – a series by Kevin Hetrick

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Diamond may not be the appropriate words for these players, but I offer the following…

Last year, the Cavs had five rookies that were selected after the 52nd pick in the draft or were undrafted. Samardo Samuels, Luke Harangody, Semih Erden, Manny Harris, and Alonzo Gee (I’m counting Gee because he was undrafted and only played 180 minutes in 2009 – 2010) were draft day afterthoughts that played at least 600 NBA minutes last year. In this short series, these players will be compared to similar players from the 2002 – 2003 to 2009 – 2010 seasons to determine what precedent there is for each to become a productive NBA player.

The comparisons will be statistical and based on eight numbers: true shooting percentage (ts), assist rate (ast), turnover rate (to), usage rate (usg), offensive rebounding rate (orr), defensive rebounding rate (drr), player efficiency rating (PER) and age. Both the statistics and the timeframe were selected because they are easily sort able on’s “Hollinger’s Player Statistics” page.

Over the 8 seasons, the following table reflects the power forwards that were statistically most similar to Samardo Samuels last year. Samuels scored with below average efficiency, rarely passed, and rebounded offensively nearly as well as he did defensively. In some cases, the definition of “similar” gets slightly stretched.

What conclusions can be drawn from this data? First, no player “similar” to Samuels has become more than a borderline NBA starter. Kris Humphries is the most intriguing, but he’s not a great comparison; Humphries was younger, more athletic, and slightly better across the board. Glen Davis is a relatively inefficient player whose reputation has benefitted due to playing on a champion.

The most similar seasons to Samuels were 2007 – 2008 Jason Smith, 2007 – 2008 Glen Davis, 2002 – 2003 Slava Medvedenko, and 2002 – 2003 Lonny Baxter. The most similar player is Davis, due to his physique and also shot distribution; Samuels attempted 79% of his field goals from inside 10 ft compared to Davis’ 77% attempted from short range in 2007 – 2008. Each of the aforementioned four players was a rookie except for Medvedenko, who did not attend college and was in his third season. The most encouraging take away is that the two more recent players are still playing and played at least 1100 minutes for a playoff team last year. During the comparable seasons, one of the four players played 900 minutes on an NBA champion (Davis) and another played 700 minutes for an NBA champion the year prior (Medvedenko). In conclusion, although there is not a precedent for Samuels to become much more than he is now, there are precedents for sustainable contributing to a successful NBA team. Hopefully like Glen Davis, someday Cavs fans are able to discuss Samuels as an inefficient back-up that benefitted from being on a champion.

(Also if anyone cares, I will be making several posts at, the True Hoop Network blog for the Indiana Pacers. The first one should be up tomorrow.)