The Cavs exercised their team option on Byron Scott, retaining him for the 2013-2014 season. This is great news, even if it is hardly a surprise. Scott is a fantastic coach, has a history of reaching young point guards (Chris Paul, anyone?), and working his team hard. He preaches tough-nosed defense and running the ball on offense. His commitment to this team is really amazing. If you remember, Byron Scott was signed by the Cavaliers as a recruitment tool for Lebron James. He ended up with Ramon Sessions. Yet he persevered, and when the Cavs struck gold in the next draft, he coaxed a great season out of his star young point guard. Here’s to Byron Scott, our coach of the present and future. And here’s the link.
Archive for October, 2012
At the risk of developing a reputation as the resident alcoholic, I think it’s time to declare that I firmly believe it’s time to drink. The sad thing is, I’m pretty sure my statement needs no explanation.
For those new to my column, the lush life, or Cavaliers fandom (no, Cleveland fandom), there are very few things that can take away the pain of reality as efficiently as alcohol. For better or worse, that’s a fact. I, for one, try to take the highest available path towards enjoying my team’s season. And so I present you all with my patented guide to the first quarter of the NBA season.
10/30/12 – VS Washington Wizards – With this first game, one might feel inclined to high hopes. I’m not one to fight those urges. Plus, it’s Halloween tomorrow! I would be remiss to recommend anything other than my absolute favorite pumpkin beer, Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale. Sweet and spicy, but still drinkable (forget the Pumpking!) I say enjoy it before the mood (and season) passes, and we move into something much, much more bitter.
11/09/12 – @Phoenix Suns – Not only is this my birthday (I better get some awesome wishes, by the way) this is probably the last time we’ll see a W for quite some time. My guess? November 23rd, although we might steal one or two. I hope I’m wrong, but barring a MAJOR Bynum setback, things are going to be tough. So why not enjoy the day? Most beer inclined people associate the fall with stout season (I sure do!) so I recommend Keegan’s Joe Mama’s Milk Stout. Unlike most imperial stouts out there, Keegan decided to make their stout highly drinkable and balanced between milk chocolate, coffee, and hops. It may be strong, but it’s sessionable. You’ll thank me later.
11/30/12 – @Atlanta Hawks – OK, it’s time to thank me now. We just played a bunch of really good teams and got beaten by mediocre ones more than a few times. We’ve got a losing season going, and my uncle is starting to regularly state that Cleveland teams suck (hold on, Uncle Ron! We’ll be good soon, I promise!) They say misery loves company, well my tastebuds can attest to that. Fat Head’s, a tiny brew pub in Cleveland, makes the perfect IPA compliment. Their Head Hunter IPA is extremely bitter, citrusy, piny, and wonderful. If you let it warm after opening, it’ll only get better. Below all that bitter, angry hop is a fruity lining. Things will get sweeter in the future, I promise.
12/05/12 – VS Chicago Bulls – Maybe this isn’t as sweet as you imagined, but with Cleveland teams, you take what you can get. EPSN is showing the Bulls, without DRose, against our beloved team. I plan on enjoying the sweet victory as much as possible. And so, I’ll (HOPEFULLY) be drinking a brand new NYC brew – Singlecut Brewery’s Green Mountain IPA. I can’t even link you to this because the brewery has yet to open. But I’ve tried it and I can tell you that, without a doubt, this is one of the most special IPAs I’ve had. Pineapple and mango dominate the hop profile and it’s extremely drinkable at 7%+. Basically, for a beer type that is generally considered bitter and testy, this beer found a way to be sweet and drinkable. Hopefully our Cavaliers can do the same.
As always, I crave your recommendations. Hit me @malfii or email me at Malloryfactorii@gmail.com with your recs and I’ll do my best to write about the best.
So due to unforeseen circumstances and no options to actually watch the game on the moving picture box last night, we’ll not be posting a recap. Here’s the ESPN recap and box score. I think they cared about as much as we did. NBA.com has some video highlights, which include a couple monster slams from Gee. Michael Curry at Cleveland.com had a good running thoughts thread of the game. It did not paint a pretty picture. By his account, Kyrie looked like a ball hog, and the team looked tired and irritated with each other. The good guys lost, and the starting lineup was shuffled again.
The good news though, is that Tyler Zeller started and played well, and held Hibbert to just 4 points with his physical play, and chipped in 13 and 7 boards. The Alonzo Gee we all remember from the last two years is back to stealing lazy passes to the wing, and then flushing them. It’s nice to see him fill up the box score again… There wasn’t much else of note: Waiters was 4/14, but had a couple nice dimes, and no turnovers. Kyrie was an inefficient 8/21, and the bench was anemic. 6 Cavs didn’t play, and Casspi only got in for 8 minutes. What are we to take from this? Zeller looked like an NBA player, Gee appears to be back, and Indiana looks really deep.
So now that that is out of the way, we can thank the stars that preseason is over, and concentrate on the matter at hand. The question du jour for Cavs fans is, “what is the starting lineup and rotation going to look like?” My pick is: Kyrie, Miles, Casspi, TT, and Andy starting with Zeller, Gee, Waiters, Gibson, and Leuer/Samuels backing them up in order of priority. But it’s anyone’s guess at this point. I thought Miles looked his best in preseason starting at the 2, and that Casspi earned a shot at being at least a token starter. Hopefully the team picks one soon and the guys get used to playing with each other because by all accounts, they looked lost last night. Tell us what your lineup and rotation would be, and why. Best comment wins a free year of CavsTheBlog.
With one preseason game to go, the current Cavs roster stands at 17 players. With an NBA roster limit of 15 players, 2 players are not going to make the team. To complicate matters, teams often don’t like to keep more than 13 or 14 players for flexibility, payroll reasons, and because only 12 players can dress for a game. While it is true that the Cavs can assign 2 players to the D-League, they must currently be on the inactive list. So at least 2 players on the Cavs roster will not make the team.
So who’s on the bubble? We’ll break the Cavs roster down into four groups, and look at each player’s chances of making the team.
Group 1: The Green Zone.
These guys are safe, and barring an earth shattering trade, they will be on the roster opening day. They’d pretty much have to be caught running naked through the streets of Cleveland, ala Frank the Tank, to not make it (warning PG13 rated link). Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varajao, CJ Miles, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, and Tyler Zeller represent the “core” of the Cavs right now – the guys we’re building around. None of them are going to be waived or bought out unless they decide to “streak the quad,” and maybe not even then. Odds of making the Cavs: 100%.
Group1a: Omri Casspi
I was going to put Casper into group 2, but he’s played so well in preseason that to say he’s only on the team or not because of his contract is doing him a disservice. But I don’t think that the Cavs brain trust considers him part of the “core” just yet. In the last year of his rookie contract paying him $3.8 Million this year, Omri has everything to gain by playing well this season. Odds of making the Cavs: 99.99%
Group 2: The Contract Men
Two Lukes and a Boobie: guys whose chances of making the team hinge around their contract.
Luke Walton: In the final year of a 6 year, $30 million dollar contract, costing the Cavs $6.1 Million this year, it seems highly unlikely that the Cavs will buy out or waive the elder Luke. Why? Because they don’t want to play a guy that much money to do nothing, and because he’s bad enough that once he’s off the Cavs, he’s probably out of the league. Which means he probably won’t take a buyout. While his preseason play hasn’t set the world on fire, it hasn’t been too bad. With a decent game against Orlando, he showed that he can at least play NBA basketball in a meaningless game for 11 minutes. The expiring contract could be a big chip at the trade deadline too. Look for him to stick at least till February, and fill the Anthony Parker memorial “stately veteran” role for the Cavs (but thankfully not actually play very much). Chances of making the Cavs: 90%.
Daniel “Boobie” Gibson: Also in the final year of a 5 year, 21 million dollar contract (can you believe this is going to be his 7th year with the team? He still seems 12 to me). He’s on the hook for just under $4.8 Million. The catch? Only $2.5 million of that is guaranteed. What I don’t know, and what I’m hoping someone can tell me, is does that mean whenever he’s released, the prorated portion of his contract is due, or once he’s earned $2.5 million he can be released without owing him any money? He could be a release candidate because he’d save the Cavs 2.3 million. More likely: his contract is another trade deadline asset. Because he’s one of the Cavs stately vets, a relentlessly milquetoast twitterer, and a class act since he’s been with the team, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t in the Q opening night. March is another story. Odds of making the Cavs: 87%.
Luke Harangody: Unofficial mascot of CavstheBlog, Harangody is something of an enigma. A shorter, less athletic version of Brian Scalabrine, most of us here at CtB don’t quite understand why he’s on the team, or why he was given a restricted free agent guaranteed contract for seven figures. I like to think of him as the goofy yet loveable landscaper who’s going out with your hot grad schooled cousin. You don’t know why he gets to try to score, and conventional logic would dictate that he should have been released for a better prospect years ago. In both cases, he’s literally out of his league, but you enjoy watching him try to fumble his way through your grandparents’ anniversary party (the “preseason” of family functions) and trying to keep 6’10” pogo sticks off the board. Still, you wouldn’t mind doing Jello shots with him at the family golf outing. But there are a lot of players on the roster, and if they want your cousin to go out with Kevin Jones, Grandpa Gilbert may just have to slip ‘Gody $1.1 Million to go away. Odds of making the Cavs: 70%.
Group 3: Definitely Maybe
These guys are probably on the roster, unless they try to get a Ricky Davis triple double against Indiana tonight.
Jon Leuer: A low risk waiver pickup from this offseason. He came to Cleveland when Houston traded Milwaukee for him and then waived him when they tried to either get Howard or get awful. Leuer’s had flashes, but is shooting 33% and 25% from the field and 3 this preseason, and is struggling to score and rebound against stronger, more athletic players in the last couple games. Still the praise was effusive early on, J-Leu has a high basketball IQ, and had a good rookie year. He seems like a solid prospect. Odds of making the Cavs: 85%
Samardo Samuels: The big bodied Jamaican purportedly got in shape this offseason, and dropped his body fat to 8%. He definitely looks more cut, and his preseason play, when he gets minutes, has been decent, scoring 23 points on 60% shooting and grabbing 11 boards points in 59 minutes. His preseason minutes beg the question though: is Scott not playing him because he knows what he has, or because Samardo has used up all his chances? I would not mind seeing him go, because I believe the Samardo we’re seeing now represents his ceiling. He’s still not a great rebounder, still takes dumb shots, but at least he’s hit some this preseason. On a minimum contract he costs the Cavs only a roster spot, but the news that he trained this offseason with Antawn in an attempt to emulate ‘Twan’s pick and pop game scares me a little lot. Odds of making the Cavs: 65%
Group Three: There can be only two (or maybe one).
These guys are all playing for one or two spots (or maybe three) and the privilege of playing in garbage time and in the D-League. The question about these guys, is do the Cavs want to carry three point guards? (Or two or four if you consider Boobie and Dion point guards or not). A Highlander-esque beheading contest will probably not solve the debate. (If you’re under twenty-something, just ignore this reference).
Donald Sloan and Jeremy Pargo: Sloan has shot decently this preseason. (44% FG and 60% 3), but his 1.2 assist to turnover ratio isn’t exactly scintillating. Pargo has been the better distributor at almost 5 dimes a game, with 3 turnovers, but his 19% FG and 25% 3 shooting has been awful. Sloan definitely has better steal numbers, and played in Byron Scott’s system last year. But we have not watched practice either… Odds of making the Cavs: 0% (for both to stick). Individually: Sloan: 50%; Pargo: 25%.
Kevin Jones: An intriguing prospect who led the big east in scoring and rebounding. He had 5 rebounds in 13 minutes against Orlando, and attempted no shots in two games, which tells us nothing. He has long arms, but was a doughy 11% body fat at the combine. From his college scouting report, I like him better than anyone else in group three. With comparisons to Chuck Hayes and Udonis Haslem, and a rank in the top 5% in postup scoring in college, I’d much rather see him stick and get some run in Canton than anyone else in this group. He most likely hurt his draft stock by hiring his brother as his agent, but has early second round talent and an intriguing skill set. Odds of making the Cavs: 35%
Michael Eric: To call him a long shot would be insulting Raja Bell, Rudy Ruettiger, and Vince Papale. He does not have any stat lines in the NBA.com database, nor a profile on DraftExpress.com. He’s been compared to Serge Ibaka because they’re both tall and from Africa and can block shots. The difference ends if you watch Eric play, which I did for all of 3.5 minutes in Canton. He was ambulatory. Odds of Making the Cavs: 10%
What probably happens is that Eric and Pargo are cut, and that ‘Gody and Jones end up in the D-League. After cuts, Eric and Pargo probably do too. Life at the end of the roster won’t be fun for them. Sometimes it is hard to remember that this is a job and a dream for these guys, and being flippant about their prospects for playing even 5 minutes a game seems funny in the moment. It’s probably not that funny when the choice is between garbage time, per diem, private jets, and luxury hotels; or flying coach out of Akron, playing for $35,000 a year, and checking each hotel on the bedbug registry. Such is life on the bubble.
Allright, it is time to quit taking Kyrie for granted. With incoming Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, CJ Miles and Jon Leuer; intrigue about Tristan spending all summer in the gym plus packing on fifteen pounds of muscle, and even skinny Samardo; not much of the pre-season banter hinged on the reigning-ROY. In this final series installment, it is time to bask in the glory of the man that should be the talk of Cleveland now, and for the next fifteen years. Due to space constraints, the reasons remain as ten:
- When Lebron left, hazed visibility obscured miles of perceived darkness. Years of basketball-wasteland seemed probable. Then one year later, Cleveland drafted another player poised to ascend to elite NBA player status; maybe the best point guard in the game within five years. Twenty-six-game-losing-streaks replaced by back-to-back-to-back rookie-of-the-month awards suddenly returned hope to a depressed franchise. Do I need to pinch myself? Of 63 NBA point guards that played more than thirty games last year…
- He ranked fifth in PER.
- Ninth in true shooting, while using the fourth-highest share of his team’s possessions. In related news; sixth for three point percentage, with the eighth smallest ratio that were assisted.
- 15th per minute, for assists resulting in a bucket at the rim.
- Tenth in rebounding rate. Oh yeah, and he did not play a game after his 20th birthday. What is the definition of prodigy?
- Kyrie’s rookie year PER of 21.4 exceeded all other recent one-and-done players, like Kevin Durant (15.8), Derrick Rose (16.0), Kevin Love (18.3), Tyreke Evans (18.2), John Wall (15.8) and Eric Gordon (14.9).
- Technically Irving’s first season bested the PER of each of that list’s second NBA campaign. Chris Paul’s rookie season narrowly featured a higher rating (22.1), although his performance came at age 20. With only marginal improvement, Kyrie’s age twenty season will surpass CP3′s early career arc.
- Oh yeah, the 56 points scored for every 48 minutes of crunch time warrant mention. Best in the NBA last year. Did I mention he was 19?
- Obviously, he is a highlight machine. This video features his his top ten, but you could spend an hour watching Kyrie’s best.
- Finally, the Uncle Drew thing. That is really funny.
I’ve admitted my love of the NBA 2K franchise before, so instead of writing some long winded article about how awesome this year’s addition is, I decided to rope Nate and Dani into a podcast where we profess our love. But in reality this podcast represents much much more. How good is Russell Westbrook, REALLY? Would you guys trade for Tyreke Evans? Greg Oden rules, right? And Jay-Z is kind of awful. At least at when it comes to sticking his name on stuff.
We had a blast recording this one, so I think you guys will like it too. Also…Best. Research. Ever. Not even my girlfriend could deny me my gaming time.
As always, we’re on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cavs-the-podcast/id528149843 – this will take a few hours to upload
And on SoundCloud at http://soundcloud.com/cavstheblog/0014-nba-2k13
Keep your eyes peeled for a few big podcasts coming in the next few weeks. And of course, basketball season means lots and lots of beer tasting, so if you’ve got a rec of a great beer for me to check out and feature, hit me up on twitter @malfii
Recap: Philadelphia 113 , Cleveland 99 (Or Kyrie channels the ghost of Mike Bibby as his defensive spirit guide)Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Another running diary style recap tonight. It’s the only way to do preseason because I want to wipe the game from my mind as soon as it’s done. Also, the flow difference makes it so that it’s more of a scouting report/first reaction than a real game.
New Cav’s sideline reporter, Allie Clifton is wearing what can only be described as a cross between a flight attendant suit, Arby’s manager’s uniform, and a bowling shirt. I don’t know how to take this.
The Cavs are playing in Philly tonight in front of a cast of hundreds.
Five straight nice defensive possessions by Waiters, three of then in transition.
Tristan: jabstep J from the right block. Drop step flip layin from the left block. Very active on defense and the boards. He’s blocked or altered three shots in the first 6 minutes.
Miles looks a little too happy to settle for wing Js early in the shot clock.
Kyrie with sloppy transition D, but his jumper is true.
Andy is one of the very best high post passers players in the league. Beautiful bounce pass to Gee for two freethrows. A few plays later, Andy drives right from the same spot and gets fouled on a dunk attempt.
Philly is not exactly intense, but then neither are the Cavs.
Boobie’s shot coming around. He hits a nice 3… Starting to look like the Boobie of young. He seems perkier.
Tyler Zeller’s faceup J is beautiful for a big man. Two straight 18 footers from opposite baselines. Hawes is absolutely out-muscling him for rebounds though. ZPA (you know cause his name starts with Z, and he’s a CPA… huh? What do you think…?) ZPA shot fakes into a dribble drive but goes left towards the help instead of right, resulting in a turnover. Hawes shows him up by hitting a buzzer beating 3 to end the 1st.
Cavs down 1 to start the second. Sloan is probably playing for a job here. He completely brainfarts on a rebound, and it falls out of bounds off his hands…
Allie Clifton interviews Dion’s Mom. It’s safe to say that this may be the first time Mrs. Waiters has been on television. She seems scared out of her mind, but genuinely nice. I hope to hear a lot more from her as the years go by.
Wow does Gee look better coming off the bench. Maybe it was just an attitude adjustment, but he is AGGRESSIVE. Gets to the line on his first touch.
Cavs in love with long jumpers right now, and they’re not falling.
C.J. Miles and then ZPA get pushed around for boards by… Damien Wilkins?
Wilkins — son of Gerald, the Jordan Buster – slashes his way to a monster slam on horrible inbound defense by Miles. If he doesn’t make the Sixers, I’d love to see him in a Cavs uniform as a 3 /4.
Timeout. Cavs down 10. ZPA with an illegal screen foul followed by a blocking foul. Not his best game.
Tristan Thompson doing well at backup center: out-quicking Spencer Hawes. He’s the best Cav on the floor tonight. But he’s still missing freethrows. Still flat, mechanical, no wrist action. 0/4 so far.
Arnett Moultree looking like a player. 3/3 with a couple of monster offensive boards. Make that 4/4 on a putback slam. He’s killing them. The Cavs seem devoid of muscle on the second unit.
C.J miles is living up to his reputation as a trick or treat player. It’s trick tonight. He’s 0/4.
Waiters fouls on a three point shot, but I like his active defense. I’d much rather see sins of execution than sins of effort.
Speaking of… Kyrie is playing horrific defense. He’s still getting totally eliminated by the big on the pick and roll. Even without the screen, Holiday can get any shot he wants. Irving’s completely lackadaisical with his feet, hands, and body language.
76ers with a 38 point 2nd, and lead 66-41 at the half. To say the Cavs look disinterested would be an understatement.
Miles is so much better he goes to the bucket more than he settles. Two floater scoops in this quarter.
Thaddeus Young completely posterizes Kyrie for the and1 dunk. Kyrie was whistled for getting in the way of Young’s butt on the backdown, and for generally looking hapless.
Sixers over playing everything. Cavs can’t get a shot. Kyrie chucks up a prayairball as he’s smothered from the corner. The breakout leads to the Sixers’ 3rd straight dunk. This is like when your game goes south in 2K13, and the Sixers look like the OKC Thunder right now. Byron should show the film of this game for a primer on how to play defense and bring energy. Cavs down 30.
Dorrell Wright is called “layup” by his teammates for the way he shoots threes. Of course that’s not hard when no one is guarding you. I think he has two dozen threes so far this game..
Cavs Starters all on the floor at the beginning of the quarter. Hopefully this is a teaching moment. Cavs down by 110 here.
Waiters with some nice D again, which leads to him dishing to Miles for a layup on the break. It’s official. St. Weirdo has eclipsed Kyrie on the defensive side of the court, who gets wiped out on screens the next two three possessions.
Everyone stares and no one blocks out for two straight rebound opportunities leading to a tip slam by Thaddeus Young and another timeout. Doug Collins nitpicks Lavoy Allen going into the commercial, and yes, he nitpicks when they’re up 30.
D’oh. It’s still the 3rd quarter. I thought it was the 4th cause the Sixers have 91 points. But no. There’s still 2:32 left in this God forsaken period.
The Sixers are putting K.I. in the pick and roll on every single possession. He’s not even trying at this point. Another trip to the line by Holiday as K.I. trails the play by 10 feet. It’s 12 feet two plays later.
Kyrie Irving destroyed on at least 30 screen and roll plays this quarter. If Doug Collins were his coach, he’d be getting the riot act right now.
4th Quarter (for real this time)
ZPA with a nice lefty hook off a sweet feed from Sloan.
Boobie shows how to play the pick and roll on defense, and then has his dreams crushed as Nick Young hits a fadeaway 26 footer with Boobie draped all over him. This is Daniel’s Ziggy moment for the day.
ZPA and Jon Leuer need to hit the weight room and squeeze some tennis balls. They can’t seem to catch a rebound with bobbling it.
Jon Leuer for three. I hope he can become a weapon. Then he blows a layup…
Casspi getting no run this game. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come, because he’s had as good a preseason as anyone on the Cav’s bench. He finally checks in with 6:36 left.
This game will never end…
Boobie with a 4 point play to cut the lead to 15.
Smardo in now. Jacks up a dopey 19 footer with plenty of time on the shot clock… clank. Then a bad loose ball foul on a rebound. Then an absolutely horrific pass after catching the ball on the roll. I think he’s my least favorite Cav.
Daniel Gibson heating up! They just mentioned offseason ankle surgery. But he is the best shooter on the Cavs tonight.
Maliik Wayans with 7-10 shooting for 19 points, all on jumpers. If he didn’t just make the Sixers, the Cavs need to sign him off waivers.
Wayans and Nick Young combine for 38 points off the bench. Philly is loaded with good young players. Tony DiLeo put a really good team together. Dang. This team has Jason Richardson too. They can run all day long.
Smardo with an and1 off a steal and feed by Pargo. Smardo may have just moved up the depth chart.
Casspi, Samuels, Walton, and Pargo play well in garbage time, with a 0 plus/minus for the game… Leading the team.
The buzzer sounds. One game left of preaseason.
There’s a little good to take away from this game: Dion’s improved defense, Tristan’s all around solid play — especially on D, Boobie’s shooting (5/7, 3/5 from 3, and 7/7 from the line), Andy’s general brilliance, and Kyrie with another Kyrie line (8/16, 3/4, and 4/4 – 3 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal).
The bad far outweighs the good. Yes, I know it’s preseason. Yes, I know the team is probably tired, but the effort and the defense sucked tonight. Kyrie was not even trying on the pick and roll. This is going to be a serious problem if he doesn’t do something about it. Teams are going to run him through every possession like the Sixers did tonight, and it’s going to wear him out, and the Cavs won’t win games. Kyrie was rated the worst defender in the league last year by Synergy. And now I know why.
Tristan’s 2-7 at the line could be problem. He looks like he’s regressed… flat shot, too much knee bend, too much palm… it’s a mess. And he’s going to take a lot of hard fouls going to the bucket until he learns to hit freebies.
The Cavs’ backup bigs are not good rebounders right now… Time to give Kevin Jones and Michael Eric a shot when they go to Indiana.
I think this preseason is longer than last year’s season.