Archive for October, 2012

Mailbag Time! Vol 2: The Slapdash Moneygrab Sequel

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

For whatever reason, small tragedies keep befalling me as I try to prepare articles for the upcoming Cavaliers season. But then, you might not want to read 1800 words of post-apocalyptic Dion Waiters fan fiction anyway. Regardless, I’ve thrown together a couple questions that were kicking around my inbox for an abbreviated version of Mailbag Time!

Cory:

Chris Grant has followed his plan to rebuild the Cavs roster organically through the draft (I totally agree).  When do you see Grant adding to the payroll via free agency or cash dump from another team to finish off the roster? Next summer?  2014?  Not that I think the Cavs are looking to 2014 for a certain opt out but he has bypassed the small forward position thus far in the draft.

Kevin’s spoken on this more than I have, but as I understand it, the value of cap space is twofold. It allows you to: 1.) throw money at whomever you want in free agency and 2.) absorb bad contracts in a trade that nets you an exceptional player or lottery picks. We’ve seen the Cavs exercise the latter advantage when they nabbed an additional lottery pick from the Clippers in exchange for the fat ghost of Baron Davis, and regardless of how close they were to landing Andrew Bynum when the Lakers were looking for a trade partner in their pursuit of Dwight Howard, the Cavs would have been fully capable of taking on a bunch of lousy Orlando contracts if the Magic had wanted to jettison the likes of Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, et al.

I think over the next couple of seasons, we’ll see the Cavs continue to try to use their cap space to facilitate trades. Though I’m a bit concerned they’re developing a reputation as a finicky trade partner, Chris Grant seems to work the phones pretty hard when talent or draft picks are on the market. We’ve seen the Cavs pop up in a lot of trade rumors over the past couple of years, and I think this is due in part to the fact they’re one of the few teams in the league that has the sort of cap space that makes them an ideal third team in a blockbuster.

As far as if and when they’ll cash in that cap space on free agents, I can’t with any confidence tell you that it’s going to be a certain summer (2013, 2014, 2015), but from reading the tea leaves, I think the Cavs will spend money on the free agent market (assuming they haven’t used their cap space to acquire a superstar via trade) to supplement an already extant core. In other words, I would be surprised if they tried to sign a superstar on the free agent market. (It also probably wouldn’t work.) I think they’re hoping Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters will develop into one of the best backcourts in the league, Tristan Thompson will become something like a super athletic Andy Varejao, and that they can draft a really good player in one of the next couple of drafts (remember: the protection on that Kings pick they acquired in the Hickson-Casspi deal continues to dwindle each year).

Then, if all goes well, they’ll be able to use their cap space—which won’t be bountiful if Waiters and/or future draft picks turn out to be all-stars; we’re being reminded by the James Harden saga that the only downside to drafting well is you eventually have to dole out big contracts to guys who used to be on paltry rookie deals—to sign the sort of $3-6 million per year specialists that will round out the roster and paper over their deficiencies. I could see them getting knocked out of a seven-game series with the Bulls in round two of the 2015 playoffs, deciding they need a scorer off the bench, and going after a Jason Terry type.

Of course, that’s a rosy future pretty far down the rabbit hole. But all indications point toward this front office living and dying with the players it drafts, not extravagant free agent pickups. Perhaps now you understand that I’m piloting the Saint Weirdo bandwagon mostly out of gleeful fatalism. Dion Waiters: Because We’re Not Celtics Fans.

Ben:

1. How good can Dion Waiters be?
2. How bad could Tristan Thompson be?

The answers to those two questions will help us understand how much Kyrie Irving Cleveland can hope to enjoy. Zeller/Varajeo is the perfect center combination for a dominant point who likes to run. There isn’t a small forward on the roster worth noting… if TT and Dion can develop Kyrie might see a future. If they don’t, I don’t see him sticking around.

I think Tristan is a more engaged Tyrus Thomas, but not that much more. He is the weak link.
I agree with you I think Dion is incredibly interesting, but do you really believe he can be the second best player on a contender? I haven’t seen it.

The answer to your first question is obviously that I don’t know, so I’ll keep my explanation short. The Cavs drafted Dion Waiters because he has the potential to be great—one of the very best shooting guards in the league—as compared to Harrison Barnes, who might end up being a better player than Waiters, but who would also surprise me and a lot of other people if he develops into a superior version of Danny Granger. Thomas Robinson presented the same sort “ceiling problem” as Barnes (though I like T-Rob better), plus he plays the same position as Tristan Thompson, who the Cavs would either have had to ship out or relegate to the bench. I guess Andre Drummond was in the mix at the fourth pick, too, but I think Chris Grant had visions of an offensively incompetent front line of Drummond and Thompson and elected to go with the guy who can score. So yeah: Dion Waiters was the best available option, and he can become a terrific player. If you’d like to ask me if he will, I’m not drunk enough right now to summon the gall to answer that question. But it’s the preseason; we can still dream.

The question of TT’s basement is something I can come closer to answering. I actually think he’s going to be okay, which I acknowledge is kind of a crushing thing to say about a fourth overall pick heading into his sophomore season, but the 2011 draft was probably not great, beggars can’t be choosers, etc. As has been written on this blog before: he’s got a gift for snagging offensive rebounds; he’s a great athlete; and the coaching staff raves about his work ethic and coachability. I think, if the Cavs surround him with offensively talented players that allow him to focus on defense, rebounding, and garbage buckets, he’ll be fine and perhaps even thrive. I hope he transforms into the Canadian Serge Ibaka everyone is anticipating, but I’m not too sour on the prospect of him becoming a double-double guy who occasionally looks like he doesn’t know how to control his limbs.

And Kyrie’s not going anywhere. His rookie deal runs a few more years, and after that he’s a restricted free agent. It would be ideal if he re-ups with the Cavs before he reaches RFA status, but if the situation gets that far, the Cavs will just match whatever token offer sheet a team with cap space extends to him. Irving will be a Cavalier until his mid-20s at least.

I know both emails mentioned the whole small forward problem. This has already been a pretty bleak 1300 words. Let’s save that question for another time, ’cause I have a long and speculative answer.

If you’d like to submit a question for Mailbag Time! my email is colinsilasmcgowan [at] gmail [dot] com. Or you can hit me up on Twitter at @cs_mcgowan.

Link to the Present: Dion’s Role

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

What are Cavs followers talking about?  Well obviously, Dion Waiters.

Today, Scott at WFNY tries to answer the question “Could Dion Waiters fill the James Harden role?”  It is a long-term question.

For this season, given the presence of Gee, Miles, Casspi and Gibson; I want to see Waiters play around 25 minutes per game. The link briefly touches on this, but I agree the Waiters – Gibson – Gee backcourt could provide the same boost to Cleveland that the Sessions-lead second string did last year.

Let’s end there; I may need to start a Dionaholics Anonymous class.  “My name is Kevin, and I can’t stop blogging about Dion Waiters.”

NBA.com Previews the Cavs

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

The classic look of disapproval from Coach Scott.

A pretty good Cavs season preview from NBA.com, even though the real gem in my mind is the video clip that accompanies the article, which has Reggie Miller previewing the season. He thinks the Cavs should play up-tempo offense and trap on D, and he thinks that Zeller and Waiters are great fits for that type of team. Here’s the link.

Recap: Cleveland 114, Orlando 111 (Preseason Battle 5 of 7)

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Two more preseason games remain.  Two weeks until the regular season.  I am ready.

I attended the tilt against the Orlando Magic last night in Cincinnati.  I had really good seats, around eight rows up, near mid-court.  Pre-season battles are the only time I can afford to roll like that, and the games are fun for about three quarters, before many of the match-ups start featuring players that will not make regular season rotations.  The Cavs finished victorious last night, by a score of 114 – 111, following four hard-fought quarters plus an overtime.  Cleveland lead most of the game, by as much as fourteen midway through the third quarter.  That slowly unravelled, until Jeremy Pargo willed-in an improbable and-one to send the game onto an extra period.  Possibly, the NBA should let pre-season games end in ties.  Here are some thoughts from the game:

Finally, the type of performance that Kyrie Irving routinely spoiled us with last season.  Twenty-two points in relatively minimal playing time.  Routinely attacking the basket, he made all eleven at the stripe and also canned several jumpers, finishing three of five from outside the paint.

Alonzo Gee flushes home a delightful finish (sorry about poor pic quality. We left our camera at the hotel.)

Alonzo Gee provided remembrance of why he signed for $10-mil.  With back-to-back thirteen point games; last night he played athletically, made his lone three-pointer, threw down one monster-finish…basically all the things that made Cavs fans say, “Yeah, he looks like an NBA player”.  His ball handling was under-control, as he put the ball on the floor relatively often, tallying only one turnover compared to two assists.  An additional particularly nice look from a drive-and-dish resulted in free throws.

CJ Miles gets off shots.  Eleven of them last night in only nineteen minutes, which produced 17 points on 67% true shooting.  While his efficiency will not always be that strong, he appears very capable of taking over Antawn Jamison’s role, which I will loosely define as: “someone besides Kyrie capable of finding looks at the basket”.

Just a so-so game for Tristan, displaying some of the same-old struggles.  His foul shot is very flat, as he converted only 1 of 4.  Two of his field goal attempts were blocked, and he appeared a half-rotation slow on defense, picking up three fouls and posting a team-worst negative-9.  With that said though, prorated to thirty minutes, his pace was 13 points and 11 rebounds.  He turned a face-up move into a nifty lefty hook, a likely sign of his efforts this summer.  Like much of the team, his season will be up-and-down.

Speaking of potential roller-coasters; Dion performed solidly.  His eight points on 57% true shooting came thanks to two long-distance bombs with his feet set.  Despite only two assists, he threw a couple passes that lead to free throws (Cavs shot 34 for the game) and also two should-have-been-assists that Samardo did not convert.  He is absolutely a rookie, mixing adept pick-and-roll maneuvers with ill-advised over-aggressiveness.  On one possession off a defensive rebound, Dion brought the ball up court with Kyrie sprinting the wing.  Kyrie was clapping his hands for the ball, apparently to launch a trey, but Dion did not see him.  The ball eventually reached Irving, who passed it back to Dion.  Waiters dribbled, but based on Kyrie’s post-possession reaction, he certainly expected Dion would throw it right back.  Looks like it will take at least one more week for them to master playing alongside each other.

A pre-season necessity...really big cans of local beer.

On a related note, Jeremy Pargo played 27 minutes, commanding the point when Kyrie sat.  Dion played off-ball next to J-Pargs, who finished with 6 points, 5 assists and 5 turnovers.  I continue to anticipate that this is only a pre-season thing, and once the real games start, Sloan or Pargo (whoever makes the roster) will not be playing.

Tyler Zeller moves very well off the ball, finding several opportunities from cuts, which resulted in eight points on three of four shooting.  He absolutely needs to defensive rebound better though, but did lead the team at plus-13 for the game.

Jon Leuer played poorly.  He also must play stronger, and he missed a gimme from six feet that could have spared us from pre-season overtime.

Boobie splashed in a couple of threes.  That is always a lot of fun.

Luke Walton proved surprisingly effective matched-up against Glen Davis.  In the first quarter, Luke drilled two jumpers from beyond twenty feet, threw two beautiful back-door assists and defended reasonably well, both against Big Baby in the post and tipping a pass near the basket.  Could Walton possibly battle Leuer for the role of “stretch four that plays fifteen minutes and manages to do more good things than bad”?  Probably a pre-season aberration, but Luke looked solid in his first action of 2012 – 2013.

Ten Things to Like About…Dion Waiters

Monday, October 15th, 2012

As Dion Waiters rapidly approaches “most-overanalyzed” status in Cleveland, this article will stay brief.  Obviously, appreciation runs deep at Cavs: the Blog, where Dion fervor already reached religious proportions. For a sampling of why:

Daaaaaang! (The future Mrs. Waiters must have just walked by)

  1. Ranking tenth in usage and offensive rating, he arguably performed as the Big East’s most efficient offensive player in 2011 – 2012.  Of the nine players above him in O-rating, Kevin Jones used the next highest number of possessions, but behind a reasonable gap (25.6 per 100 team possessions for Waiters vs 23.1 for Jones).  Of the group using more possessions, only Maalik Wayns approached D-Wait for offensive rating, although at 116 versus 110, it was not that close.  So, I could straight-faced-debate his status as the best offensive player in the nation’s best conference.
  2. On defense, the difference between Waiters compared to his fellow Syracuse guards can “be regarded as immense”. A primary strength included finishing thirteenth in the entire NCAA for steal percentage.  Once he learns man-to-man, his strength & aggressiveness portend solid NBA performance, too.
  3. Of eighteen drafted NCAA guards last year, he ranked 3rd in PER.   He was one year and eighteen months younger than the higher-rated players, and also battled a more onerous schedule.
  4. Who thinks Dion Waiters rates as a better bucket-getter than Brad Beal, Austin Rivers, Thomas Robinson and Cody Zeller?  Apparently Ohio State’s coaching staff, who described him thus: “by far the best scorer we’ve faced this year”.
  5. With everything outlined above; no wonder why John Hollinger placed Waiters at fourth overall in his 2012 Draft Rater and projected him as the “best small wing since Dwyane Wade”.
  6. Ok, enough.  Everyone gets it.  Advanced stats love Dion Waiters.  That horse has been pummeled.  How about sick dunks?  Maybe between-the-legs or a windmill-off-the-bounce?.  If you reacted, “he bulked up too much since his high school days”; what about a video of the same dunk during warm-ups at the Sweet Sixteen this March?
  7. Unfortunately in games, the dunks include no tricks, but do sometimes involve pairs of posterized big men.
  8. He brings swagger and is discussing ROY and the playoffs. Despite long odds; I appreciate the confidence.
  9. And it is not like tough situations restrained Waiters before.  As described by Dime Magazine: Waiters’ rep grew as a Philly street-ball legend, whose mom is “(his) backbone throughout (his) entire life”, and with a “strict disciplinarian” father; he defeated all obstacles and made it out of a tough neighborhood.
  10. I do not want to overvalue pre-season games, but in Cleveland’s two victories, Dion took the mantle of crunch-time-king.  Between 4:41 and 1:55 to go in the fourth quarter of his first game, he tallied seven points and one assist to stretch a four-point lead to nine.  In the final stanza of his third professional tilt, he scored ten points and threaded two assists while Cleveland stretched a two point lead to ten.  Certainly, the waning minutes of pre-season affairs lack top-line talent, but each of the guys on the court are battling for a roster or rotation spot, and D-Wait managed to separate himself from the pack.

In summary, I am on the Dion Waiters bandwagon.  As a Cavs fan, I do not know why I would not be. (Also, I will be at the Cavs – Magic game tonight.  Follow me on twitter @hetrick46 for in-game thoughts.)

Cavs vs. Wizards

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Waiters serving the Wizards.

The Cavs lost to the Wizards at home last night, 99-95. The Cavs kept it tight all game, and even had the lead after the half. I don’t think it’s that important (at all) that we lost. Given the proclivity for coaches to play rookies and bench warmers big minutes, preseason games can hardly be a legitimate indicator of regular season performance. However, preseason is the first time we get to see the Cavs play, and it’s definitely a showcase for players to impress and prove themselves.

From the get-go, Tristan Thompson was the most impressive player on the floor. He was aggressive on both ends of the floor, putting up 18 points, 10 rebounds (8 offensive!), 4 blocks, and shooting 6-7 from the free throw line. He was insanely active on the offensive boards, overpowering or over-jumping the Wizard boxing him out time and time again. Of course, that probably has something to do with the fact that the frontcourt he was going up against consisted of Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin and Shavlik Randolph. But, hey- 8 offensive rebounds is impressive regardless. By the way, I checked it out and Shavlik Randolph, does, in fact, appear to be a real person.

Shavlik Randolph.

Kyrie’s jumper was off all night, as it has been for most of the preseason so far, but he partially made up for it with 7 assists, most notably a sweet alley-oop to Tristan that has the Q rocking. There was also a wicked spin move and floater off the glass, the kind of move Antawn Jamison used to fail at spectacularly on the daily. I’m not worried about his jumper in the slightest, and I don’t think anyone should be. The form is still there, and he should pick it up again soon.

Varejao gave the team what he always gives the team: 11 points, 10 rebounds, great defense and hyper-activity on both ends. I’ll understand if Chris Grant trades him, but he is so gosh-darn effective. Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles were both ineffective and unexciting, with a caveat or two: Waiter’s fast break explosion past Beal was fun, and Miles did shoot 2-3 on three-pointers. Alonzo Gee finally had a nice game, shooting 4-7 from the field for 13 points. But a single rebound isn’t going to cut it from him. Zeller, Gibson, Sloan and Leuer (sounds like a law firm, don’t it?) were all competent to some extent.

As a team, the Cavs looked fairly fluid offensively. Kyrie facilitated well throughout the game, unsurprisingly. Sloan played some decent ball backing up Kyrie. The Cavs had a great game down low, with 54 points in the paint. That was mostly due to Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao’s activity on the boards, and some nice interior passing.

The team defense was less pleasing. Rotations to the shooter were mostly awful, and as a result of that, Brian Cook scored 14 points. That’s unacceptable, much as Jan Vesely shooting 5-5 from the floor is unacceptable. Waiters, especially, needs some serious help in one-on-one defense. Bradley Beal put 14 points easily, and Dion often looked lost. Tristan seems to have grown defensively, though, and the added weight definitely helps. He looks quite a lot thicker.

Overall, it was a solid effort from the Cavs. Save Donald Sloan and C.J. Miles, the outside shooting was off all night, and that played a large role in the loss. 54 points in the paint will win you most games. Tonight just wasn’t one of them. With Byron Scott bellowing at them daily, I’m confident this team will start to execute and win some games.

Recap: Bulls 83, Cavs 86 (Or St. Weirdo absolves preseason of its drudgery)

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Preface:

I spent an hour trying to figure out how to get this game in Ohio.  Watched the Pistons play the Raptors on NBA Network while I was searching, and checked out a bevy of would be Cavs draft picks.  Impressions: Valanciunas is is a foul machine, but he is agressive, and has broad shoulders, a nice upper body and is aggressive on both ends of the floor.  Brandon Knight is much more comfortable at the point than he was last year.  Greg Monroe is going to be a star.  I want Tristan to develop into this type of player.  Andre Drummond is incredibly nimble for a 270 pound man.

Eventually, I pay $7 to upgrade my cable package to get NBC Comcast.  While waiting for my cable package to upgrade I start browsing box scores.  Harrison Barnes’ 20 point 8-11 outing the night leaves me with a knot in my stomach.  Festus Ezili all over the highlights for Golden State.  Dion Waiters scares the crap out of me.

and… the game is blacked out in by “viewing area.”  Grrr…  Scramble mode.

1st Half Notes:

I’m watching the Chicago feed on a questionable website off of a stream from Al Jazeera.  The world is an amazing place.

Champagna? Oh sorry, that’s Champaign, IL.  We’re in the home of the fighting Illini.

Weird dichotomy here: Boozer much thinner, Tristan much thicker.

Starting out, some nice defense by Kyrie: active hands, playing out to half court.

Miles: two nice possessions in a row showing off a decent slashing game and a nice pullup

Tristan!  Running right hand hook with the clock going down, and then a stepback J plus a freethrow (hit the J, missed the freethrow), from opposite blocks no less.

Kirk Heinrich looks like he never left the Bulls: completely comfortable running the point and his jumper is sharp.

Waiters in at 5:00 left in the 1st.  Looks like he’s the backup point guard.

Zeller with no hesitation draining a faceup 18 footer from the left wing.  Splash.

A couple of very nice pick and rolls initiated by Waiters… to Andy… to Zeller cutting… soft slam.

Cavs running lots of dribble handoffs and downscreens on the wings.  Much more active and disciplined tonight running the offense.

Harangody in… Matched up with Taj Gibson.  This can’t end well.

  • Taj Jumps foot higher than Harangody to grab a board.  ‘Gody flails hoping for a bailout call – no go.
  • Taj outworks Zeller and ‘Gody for an o-board and putback — the third o-board of the possession.
  • Taj forces a jumpball agaisnt Luke with some relentless dive on the floor defense.  We know what happens next.
  • ‘Gody! No hesitation 3 from the left wing.  This is what he has to do to stay in the league.
  • Another Jumper!  Luke ends up with a +14 on a 9 point first half with 3-3 shooting 2-2 from the line with no boards.  We’ll call this a draw.  I owe Hentrick $5.

Casspi sighting.  I forgot we had a small forward on this team.  He comes in agressive, cutting, looking for his shot: hits a nice three.

Taj with a wicked baseline spin on Lil’ Z (we’re taking nicknames for a test drive tonight).  “He just left him standing alone in a world so cold,” Stacey King of Bulls lore with the call for NBC Comcast Sports Chicago.

5 Minutes left in the half.  Starters back in.  TT makes a nice play to get a jump ball on an O-Board, but is bent over so far that he doesn’t even get off the ground.  Someone needs to do some calf work.

21 point lead going into the half.  The Cavs played great, and the Bulls could not have played worse.

2nd Half Notes:

Gee cannot pass the ball fast enough.

14-0 run to start the half for the bad guys.  Scott content to let the Cavs work through this.  Kyrie finally makes a layup at 6:50 left in the quarter.  Cavs came out so flat that paper is jealous (groan).

Gee with an horrific foray into the lane leading to a turnover.  The Bulls are playing five feet off him and he won’t shoot.  Stacey King notes that Chicago’s run is due to the fact that TT and Gee don’t have to be “accounted for on offense,” and that the Bulls are playing “5 on 3″ on defense.  He’s not wrong.

C.J. Miles with 5 straight points on a nice bank layup and then 3 pointer from the right wing.

Kyrie misses a 25 footer leading to this exchange between King and Funk: “Can Kyrie shoot a perimeter shot?”  “That’s definitely a part of his game that he needs to work on.”  They’re either ignorant or prescient.  For this game it’s the latter.

Late in the third Kyrie and Waiters are on the floor together, and it’s ugly.  Neither seems to know what to do off the ball.  But having two guys who can push seems deadly until they screw it up.  Let’s hope the figure it out.

Kirk Heinrich scores 5 points in 13 seconds with a Jimmy Butler steal in the interim.  Is Kyrie guarding him?  I read a link today that said that KI was the worst defender in the league last year.  Well, there’s no where to go but up.

Zeller looks like a rookie and is consistently getting out muscled on the boards.  A senior should not be this thin.  Someone get this kid some Mass Gainer.  Mercifully, this quarter is over.

4th Quarter:

Play is ragged on both sides.  The bulls just tied the game.  I’m officially sick of preseason.

Bulls are a mess when Heinrich is not on the floor.  And winning the battle for backup is Nate Robinson.  Whoa.

Fast forward to 3 minutes left.  Waiters has scored or assisted on 5 out of 6 field goals in the 4th, showing a nice array of step back one legged jumpers, corner threes, and pick and roll kick outs to the perimeter.  Even though he’s had some sloppy passes, I’m breathing a sigh of relief.  The kid seems fearless.

Casspi has also hit 2 straight 3s.  Gee is officially on notice.  The starting gig is up for grabs.

Smardo!  Bailout jumper from the left elbow with the shot clock running down.  Boobie!  From the left corner.  He was due.

Cavs up 10 with 1:30 left.

Ugh.  The Cavs cannot get the ball over half court.  And this is the most visibly pissed I’ve seen B. Scott.  We’ll call this a learning experience for Waiters.

Marco Belinelli gets the Bulls 6 points in less than 30 seconds.  The lead is 2 with 21 seconds left

Four turnovers in the last 45 seconds, 2 of them by Boobie.  This is a teaching moment.

Zeller with an O-Board!  Goes to the line and hits 1 of 2 with very nice form.

Jimmy Butler misses a 27 footer that he may or may not have been fouled on.  It’s official: Rodney Mott and Gary Zielinski do not want to spend any more time in Champaign.  Cavs Win!

Conclusions:

Not worried about Kyrie at all.  It was just an ugly game, but he was trying to play off the ball more.  Not worried about Andy either.  Gee has regressed.  I’m wondering if he worked at all this summer.  There needs to be a concerted effort to get him some easy buckets at the beginning of Saturday’s game, or this thing could snowball.  Casspi should be starting and Azibuike should be backing him up at this point.

Oh, and CJ miles was a steal.  Pencil him in for 35 minutes a night easy.

For all the talk of Smardo’s offseason, he’s still a player with limited upside.  I’d rather take my lumps with Zeller.

The Bulls are going to be a mess some nights this year, but their defense will always keep them in games.  If Heinrich goes down though, they’re screwed.

Saint Weirdo is a rookie with a lot of upside.

Preseason sucks.

Sporting News on the Cavs

Friday, October 12th, 2012

You just got served... by Waiters

The Sporting News previewed the Cavs upcoming season on Thursday. I have to agree with the article’s central point: the season hinges on Dion Waiters and what he can bring to the team. Everyone’s heard plenty about Dion, though. How about some Tristan Thompson? From 3 to 9 feet, Tristan shot 31.7 percent. That’s nearly unheard of for a power forward. Here’s the link.

Link to the Present: D-Day, or probably just Dion-day

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Nice interview by Brendan Bowers with Dion Waiters after Tuesday’s game.  I like what Dion has to say; basically that he is still getting comfy with the play book, that he needs to keep his confidence up and find ways to impact the game even when shots aren’t falling.

I do have a few thoughts on Coach Scott’s desire for Dion to learn offense off the ball.  Obviously, I one-million-percent support Kyrie Irving as the center point of the team.  That said, the success of this franchise moving forward relies in part on both guards functioning as maestros of the pick-and-roll and on-ball wizards.

Can Waiters play back-up point guard this year?  If I have to watch Jeremy Pargo or Donald Sloan play 1000 minutes and post a single-digit PER, while reading stories all season about Dion struggling to find his place in the offense…I will become violently ill.  Slargo should be battling for third string point guard duties, while Dion experiences a bevy of on-ball chances when Kyrie sits 12 minutes a game.  That is the future.  Dion would also play 15 minutes every night with our reigning-ROY, as they master the backcourt-of-tomorrow thing.

To some extent, I would not mind if every minute that Daniel Gibson played this year was next to Dion.  Saint Weirdo could carry the point offensively, while depending on match-ups, either could potentially guard the opposing ‘two’.  A line-up of Waiters – Gibson – Miles – Leuer – Varejao might be fun for ten minutes; possibly the best non-Kyrie ball movement lineup available.  Dion and Leuer could pick & pop, with Andy rolling & cutting, and Miles providing some slashing & iso-shooting.  Boobie stands in the corner and drains threes when they develop.

Well, that is a bit of a ramble, but digest some food for thought on the subject of Cleveland playing D-League back-up point guards while we all internally tussle with Dion trying to find his place.

Jon Leuer: Bright Spot Extraordinaire

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

And he's rakishly handsome!

Jon Leuer was one of the few Cavs who actually played well against the Bucks, the Morning Journal reports. From what I saw of the game, he has a nice handle for a big man and a very smooth jumper. He could very well be an impact player on the Cavs this year. Here’s the link.