Archive for October, 2012

Small Forwards and Health

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

That goatee is fantastic.

The Chronicle Online wrote a nice piece about the Cavs’ depth at the small forward position this year. I don’t really think that Omri Casspi counts as depth, exactly, but hey- to each man his own. And C.J. Miles just keeps coming through on the quotes. Here’s the link.

Also, a promising article from the Plain Dealer about the health of the team this year going into training camp. From Kyrie: “I’m 110 percent. No problems. I’ve been playing since the 15th of September. I’m just really excited to start training camp.” That’s nice to hear, isn’t it? Here’s the link.

On a side note, I think we can all agree that Kyrie NEEDS to maintain that goatee. It’s perfect. For all we know, this is the adjustment he needed to make “The Leap.”

The Dynamic Duo

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

A decent on the Cavs’ young backcourt and the upcoming season. But the real treat is the interview of Byron Scott at the end. This is a coach to be proud of. Here’s the link.

Cavs: The Podcast 0013 – Holy Cow! It’s October!

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Training camp is finally here!  What better excuse than to spend 50 minutes talking about recycled topics?  You guys know me – I’m a sucker for beating a dead horse.  And with that, I present you faithful listeners with our newest edition of the podcast.

On today’s podcast Kevin, Nate and I discuss…what else!  The upcoming season!  Including a few random thoughts, Kyrie’s progress, expectations for Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller, and a fun little game of numbers.

As always, we’re on Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/cavstheblog/0013-holy-cow-its-october

And iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cavs-the-podcast/id528149843?mt=2

Just think, guys and gals – one more month!

The Zeller Saga

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Suave beyond belief.

Tyler Zeller wrote a rookie journal for NBA.com. It’s fantastic. He really comes off as a high-character guy. “I tried to make pancakes for the first time a couple weeks ago… I didn’t believe it only takes two minutes to cook a pancake.” Now, you may say that his cooking exploits say nothing about his personality, but the man took time to talk about pancake foibles in his journal. That isn’t exactly Jail Blazer material. Here’s the link.

Mailbag!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

So, here’s the deal: we’re trying to figure out some new ways to engage our readership this season, and I thought it would be a good idea to start a mailbag. It’s not an original idea, but it’s one way to address some of your (the reader’s) questions about the team, the blog, etc. Obviously, we write articles about the stuff that interests us, but everyone has blind spots; I think soliciting comments and questions from you guys is a great way to engage some of the topics you might be interested in that we don’t cover in our feature pieces.

Hit up my (Colin’s) email (colinsilasmcgowan [at] gmail [dot] com) or my Twitter (@cs_mcgowan), and I’ll respond to a few of your inquiries in this space, probably next week. You can ask me anything you’d like, really, whether it’s 100% Cavs-related or otherwise. One request: keep it clean. I can’t run the email if there’s cursing in it, not because I don’t have a great affinity for coarse language, but because C:TB is technically a Disney-owned entity.

Ten Things to Like About…Tyler Zeller

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

A first Cavs rookie receives the “10 things” treatment today.  Pre-draft, I liked Tyler Zeller a little more than most, rating him 8th of potential 2012 draftees.  So at least in this humble blogger’s book; Cleveland netted two top-ten players from a loaded class.  For an inclination of why…

  1. Zeller possesses great size.  Standing a legitimate seven feet, and weighing 247 pounds with 6% body fat; he is big.  At the draft combine, he performed sixteen bench press reps of 185 lbs.  Although lack of bulk sometimes resides on lists of his weaknesses; physicality appears more likely to hold him back.  After a year or two working with NBA staffs, there should be little doubt about “strength”.  T-Zell requires toughness; perpetually fighting for position and rebounding advantage.
  2. Athleticism serves as a strength, too.  Always lauded for his speed running the floor; of 44 centers tested pre-draft in 2012, he ranked third in the agility drill, eighth in sprinting and ninth in leaping.
  3. He is also skilled.  Leading up to June 28, Draftexpress.com explored the per-possession offensive production of 26 big men.  Despite the seventh highest usage, he posted the fourth best per possession scoring efficiency.  This included runner-up status in transition and fourth place as a jump shooter.
  4. An excellent free throw shooter, he converted 77% for his NCAA career and 80% last year.   Thanks to hustling up-court, grabbing offensive boards, and fighting for deep position; he lead the ACC in free throws made & attempted.  Floor Percentage measures the ratio of a player’s used possessions to those ending with at least one point scored.  Zeller ranked 20th in the NCAA for Floor Percentage, with no player above him posting a higher usage rate.  (Most of the better Floor Percentages were posted by role players.  The most interesting exception is Tyler’s brother, Cody, who as a freshman netted the NCAA’s fourth-best floor percentage, while using one-quarter of IU’s possessions.)
  5. Frequent praise befalls T-Zell for his work ethic.  The results shown, as his PER increased from a freshman year 15.8 to 23.4 to 26.5 to 29.8 during his senior season.  Offensive rating reflected a similar trend.  I foresee him eking out two more years of increased strength and skill, with pleasant results.
  6. A fairly skilled post player, he knocks down ambidextrous hook shots and flashes a nasty drop step.  With a few more pounds of muscle and a mean-streak, these skills should prove beneficial, especially when Kyrie heads to the bench.  Tyler’s velcro hands and a quick & accurate shot serve as valuable weapons when Kyrie plays.
  7. Like Tristan, no need to worry about motor.  Zeller races up & down the court and makes help efforts on team defense.
  8. In addition to winning ACC Player of the Year last season, T-Zell received NCAA Academic All-American of the Year honors.  A back-to-back NCAA All-Academic Team member, he replaces Shane Battier as the most recent ACC baller such honored.  That’s eleven years, so congratulations on a unique accomplishment, Mr. Zeller.
  9. Turning 23 this season, hopefully he bolsters the maturity of a very young roster.
  10. Using his size and constant effort, Zeller finished fourth in the ACC for offensive rebounding percentage in 2011 – 2012.  Combined with Tristan’s effectiveness in this area, second chances could be a team strength for many years.

Hopefully Zeller, Tristan, and Jon Leuer spent most of the summer being abused by the team’s strength and conditioning gurus.   I obviously do not know any of the three, but my inclination says they need to get meaner.  Leading into every game, convince themselves that every opponent wants to punch their dogs, raise their taxes, steal their groupies, or whatever it takes to get angry.  Ultimately, I like the combinations and contrasts of skill that these three guys bring to the team.  Watching the group succeed would be a joy.  Now they only need an additional  seven-foot, 270 pound agile behemoth that snatches defensive rebounds like King Kong grabs airplanes.  Like Aaron Gray, but different.

BREAKING: Tristan Thompson Has a Personality

Monday, October 1st, 2012

I clicked on this Fred Macleod interview with Tristan Thompson assuming it would be boring: TT would talk about working on his jumper in the offseason, maybe mention something about how great Dion Waiters is going to be, and zzzzzzzzzzz. To my surprise, TT joked around a bit, and it turns out he’s kind of an engaging person. Also, he put on 10-to-15 pounds in the offseason, which is great news. Now if only he can start shooting the basketball like a person who has hands and arms and the requisite motor skills to control them.

Ten Things to Like About…Byron Scott

Monday, October 1st, 2012

“Camp Scott” opens today, complete with the notorious trash cans for players to chunder into between laps if they show up out of shape. With an extension rumored to be in the works, it’s as good a time as any to look at why Scott appears to be the right guy to develop the Cavs now, and win with them in the future.

  1. You have to respect a coach who can whip out his phone and dial up a highlight like this. (You’d think a basketball player named Purvis Short would be destined to be posterized, right?)
  2. How’s this for association with greatness? Scott played with Kareem, McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes, James Worthy, Magic, A.C. Green, Michael Copper, Vlade Divac, Reggie Miller, Rick Smits, Mark Jackson, Shaq, Kobe, Nick Van Exel, Robert Horry, and Derek Fisher. Oh and Big Country.
  3. He’s got a pretty good track record for developing talent: Richard Jefferson, J.R. Smith, David West, Chris Andersen, Tyson Chandler, and of course, Chris Paul all improved as players under B. Scott.
  4. Trivia alert: in 1997 Scott signed for the largest contract ever offered to a player in Europe, and along with Dino Radja, led Panathinaikos to their first Greek League championship in 13 years, scoring 21 in his final game. He was named Most Valuable Player and a European All-Star, or so this website tells me. This may not seem like a big deal, but the Greek league is CRAZY. There’s actually a video highlight of the 1997 championship compete with an Evanescence soundtrack showing fans dancing in jubilation around bonfires in the stands.
  5. Chris Paul loves Scott and Scott loves Chris Paul.
  6. He knows how to get to The Finals… having made it to the NBA finals seven six times as a player and winning three. Scott even coined the term three-peat. As a coach, he took the Nets to The Finals in 2002 and 2003 and lost to his old team, the Lakers both times in ’02 and then the Spurs in ’03. Of course the Eastern Conference stunk then. (Corrections: thanks to Paul in the comments section who pointed out the factual errors that are crossed out from the original post.  Don’t worry.  Colin’s got me running extra suicides after practice.)
  7. In addition to the sweet ‘stache, Scott is consistently the best dressed coach in the league. Scott was GQ’s 2002 “coach of the year,” has his own tailor, and as of 2009 owned 82 suits. 82? “Each suit gets worn only twice a season — once on the road, once at home. Then it’s put away.” Hey, OCD can be a good thing for a coach.
  8. Each team Scott coached improved in its second year.  New Orleans improved for four straight years, culminating in a team with the best point guard in the league, an all star stretch four, and a premier defensive center. Despite the similarities, the Cavs have more upside and a much better cap situation than New Orleans which had too many cap killing veterans (Peja Stojakovic, anyone?). And New Orleans absolutely fell apart after Scott was fired. It’s pretty obvious in hindsight that Scott wasn’t the problem. Let’s hope Chris Grant manages the Cavs better than Jeff Bower managed the Hornets. At least we know Dan Gilbert is no George Shinn — one of the worst owners in pro sports history.
  9. Coach Scott is a master of the boring quote. He can flash a smile while delivering a quote which will soothe even the most rabid reporter. Also, he makes sure to look a reporter in the eye, while keeping his vocal delivery smoooooth.
  10. Byron Scott is the perfect example for Dion Waiters to emulate as a player: Career PPG, 14.1 (18.1 Points Per 36 minutes), .482 FG%, .37 3PT%., 1.1 Steals, and could play both guard spots. Conversely, Scott believes in Saint Weirdo, ranking him the second best player in the draft. This is kismet.

B. Scott certainly has his detractors. His relationship with Jason Kidd completely fell apart, leading to Scott’s firing in New Jersey. In the mold of Scott Skiles and Doug Collins, he may just be a coach that is inflexible and demanding enough to eventually wear on his players. For now, he seems to be the perfect coach to mold this young group of acolytes, and transition them from developing to contending. I’ve no doubts that Samardo Samuels is in shape this year (or at least was in summer league) because of Byron Scott kicking his butt last year.

So good luck, Byron.  And to your charge of young Cavaliers, we wish you an October free of regurgitation.