Archive for June, 2013

Links to the Present: I Would Do Anything for Love Edition — Updated

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Even Tristan, Waiters, and the #1, according to Andy Katz. http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/60324/cavs-thunder-mavs-shopping-draft-picks

That’s a steep price and a pretty huge gamble.  Kevin Love is probably a top 20 player on offense but since entering the league he’s missed 30% of his games.  I’m sure Love and Irving weren’t trying to be ironic when they choose stiff old men as their alter egos, but consider it another friendly reminder of how hard it would be to trust an Irving/Love/Varejao trio to stay healthy for a full season.

If the report is true, and Flip Saunders said no, then he is clearly not frightened by the prospect of Love leaving after his contract expires.  Minnesota is not going to receive a better package than that for Kevin Love, so it’s safe to say he’s not going to be traded unless he demands one.

Over and over, I hear the Cavs like Anthony Bennett. I hear he could be their “Dion Waiters draft-night surprise.” He played one year at UNLV at 6-8, 240 pounds. There are reports that he weighs 260 while recovering from shoulder surgery. He is a bit short for a power forward, but there are several NBA teams who are intrigued. [Terry Pluto – The Plain Dealer]

Other Local Draft Coverage from:
Bob Finnan

Jason Lloyd

–Update–

Check out this fascinating piece by the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt on, possible #1 pick, Alex Len and his girlfriend, 6’7″ Essence Townsend, of the Maryland Women’s Basketball team.  Compelling stuff.  This is a followup to yesterday’s profile on Len by Prewitt, which is similarly poignant.

Kevin’s Big Board, #11 – #20…what to do with the nineteenth pick (or, now I’m just trolling you)

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Writing sixty of these, and putting in the necessary care to ensure that I am uneqivocally correct, now and later, about all of them, is exhausting.  But I forge on.  Time to move towards the lottery and offer some thoughts on the #19 pick.

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Links to the Present: a Bounty of Conjecture Edition

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Lots and lots of smoke blowing here…  Let’s get to it.

The winds of the Cavs draft seem to be blowing Victor Oladipo’s way over the last couple days.

Chad Ford counters this morning that he thinks the Cavs are taking Noel #1, and that Orlando is ready to pounce if Noel falls to #2.

Meanwhile, the Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd rates McLemore as the best wing in the draft, advocates for the Cavs to consider Otto Porter #1.

The Cavs brought in Akron’s Zeke Marshall, Kent State’s Randall Holt, Bucknell’s Mike Muscala, and Florida State’s Michael Snaer to work out and compete with each other yesterday.

Chad Ford drops the bomb that the Cavs offered the Blazers the #1 and #19 picks for LaMarcus Aldridge, and the Blazers hung up the phone.

Hoopsworld says the Cavs are trying to package their first two picks for a player, but are interested in Pierce, and their have been discussions with Dallas over Marion.

But in more Shawn Marion to the Cavs news: “Dallas must go directly to Marion and ask him to opt into the final season of contract” before they trade him by Friday’s deadline, which means Marion isn’t getting moved before the draft, unless he really wants to play in Wine and Gold.  Plus, Marion has a 15% trade kicker that someone has to pay.

Bob Finnan of the News Herald scouts possible Cavs second rounders.

Luol Deng linked to the Cavs… and let me expound on this one a little.  I batted around this idea with Kevin yesterday, and came up with a trade I could live with.  The Cavs would get Deng, the #20 pick, and the draft rights to ACB MVP Nikola Mirotic (ACB is the best league in Europe).  The Bulls would get the #1 and the #31, and possibly a player or future second rounder.  The Cavs would probably try to get a future protected #1 out of the Bulls.  This deal has more twists than driving through the Cuyahoga Valley, though.  The trade gives the Cavs Mirotic, who would be in the top five of this draft, but has a difficult buyout.  Basically, given his slotted rookie salary, no team can pay Mirotic enough to pay his buyout, which is rumored to be over $2 million (though details are sketchy).  Starting in 2104, three years after his draft class, Nikola’s slotting no longer applies and a team can pay him any amount under their cap or with an exception, thus allowing him to make enough money to buy out his ACB contract.  To complicate matters even more Deng is a free agent after this coming season, and could walk if he does not sign an extension (though the Cavs want all the 2014 cap space possible).  Also, Deng had a particularly nasty bout of (suspected) meningitis during this year’s playoffs.  If I were the Cavs, I’d want a doctor to sign off on him before I traded for him, which makes trading before the draft pretty undoable.  So yeah, this trade has about a .01% chance of happening.  But one year of Luol Deng, the #20 and a player who has as much upside as anyone in this draft?  That’s a win for the Cavs, and gives the Bulls the cap space to go after a high level free agent this summer, if they amnesty Boozer.  Of course, why would the Cavs want to help a division rival build a powerhouse?

Kevin’s Big Board, #21 – 30

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Well today, I will attempt to stay brief; this group of players is slightly less relevant to the Cavs.

#30 Glen Rice Jr, D-League, SF, 22 years old - A decent, yet unspectacular recruit muddles through three trouble-filled seasons of college, then gets selected 55th in the D-League draft. Riding the pine for the first few months there, he suddenly explodes with a 31-game run that culminates in D-League playoff MVP status.  Standard, right?  I’ll hedge my bets and put him at the end of the first round.

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Kevin’s Big Board, #31 – 40 (or, the tier where the Cavs pick their 2nd rounders)

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

It’s draft week!  After months of guessing and waiting, the climax is here!  The next pieces of this Cavalier puzzle are en route.  The possibilities seem endless, with rumors galore.  Finally today, I reach the tier of interesting players for the Cavs with their second round picks.  Let’s sort thru, before I make my officially sanctioned recommendations for picks #31 and #33 (non-trade edition).

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Cavs: The Blog: The Mock Draft: The Version 1.0: The Picks 1 Through 15

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Welcome to the 2013 Cavs: The Blog NBA: The Mock Draft.

A brief run-down of the rules: Members of CtB’s staff are chosen at “random” to represent each of the 30 NBA teams. After each selection is made and justified, the process is hot-potatoed over to the next writer until all the picks have been made. Today, we’ll be doing picks one through 15. Tomorrow, we’ll finish off the first round.

Now, buckle up. This year’s draft promises to be the mockiest yet!

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Kevin’s Big Board, #41 – 50

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Chad Ford’s mock draft 5.0 placed Tony Snell at #22.  I didn’t.  Well, onto some more players where someone, somewhere is bound to be wildly wrong. (And, as always, thanks to ESPN.com, draftexpress.com, statsheet.com, eurobasket.com, and kenpom.com for providing excellent, unique information)

Before delving into the top fifty though, let’s start with an honorable mention:

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Links to the Present: Tired, Whiny, Bitter, and Liquid Edition

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Last night’s game was the most demoralized I’ve felt as a sports fan since The Decision.  I have always been a huge Spurs fan (even during the LeBron era).  I loved how the Spurs always had an answer for gimmicky teams like the Suns during the 7 seconds or less era.  I felt that the Spurs were the best team in the league last year entering the playoffs and ran into their own version of the 2009 Magic when Serge Ibaka drained about 24 straight contested long 2s.  I’ve always thought the Spurs discipline, passing, and experience was the perfect antidote to the Heat’s hyper-aggressive defense.  In private I refer to their defense as “shamelessly” going for steals.

I hate the Heat.  Nothing has cooled the ravaging beast that lives deep inside me that surfaces whenever I sense praise, adoration, and respect being doled out for this unholy hodgepodge of ring chasers, their undeserved fan base, and of course, LeBron.  I won’t deny reality – LeBron is the best player in this game by a mile and the only player that can dominate and entire league armed with only solid role players.  As I watched LeBron say “Screw it. I got this,” lose his headband, and take over the fourth quarter I thought, this is the finals I should have been watching as a Cavs fan. This Heat lineup is no different.  Ray Allen?  Shane Battier?  Mario Chalmers?  Chris Anderson?  Chris Bosh the spot up jump shooter and “energy guy”?  Headbandless LeBron is Cleveland LeBron.  I’ve been watching the 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs!  Only instead of going against a juggernaut Magic Team with a dominant center the Heat got a three round bye against three sub 50 win teams in the weakest Eastern Conference in almost 8 years. There’s just nothing fair about this.

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Measured Expectations

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The stuff dreams are made of... Giannis Adetokunbo's hands.

As a sports fan, it’s often a challenge to remain reasonable. At this time of year, at draft time, it’s a real challenge not only to manage our expectations, but to not get swept away. It’s difficult not to fall in love with some player’s unique skill set or measurements. That’s because the draft is all about imagination — and, more often than not, players who can be termed “very good basketball players” do not excite the sports fan’s imagination. There’s something else there that makes us dream big about certain guys.

Every year, very good basketball players tumble down the board on draft day and go on, in many cases, to have fulfilling pro careers and (one might imagine) lives. What really makes a sports fan see red at this time of year are the players who may not be the very best basketball players, but who have some wrinkle to their make-up that convinces us that Player X has it. This is why we go nuts over guys with wingspans never before measured or verticals never before reached or athleticism never before embodied. These are the things that whisper, “This guy is different. Okay, well, how different? How about future all-star different? How about future defensive anchor of a NBA championship defense different? How about solid rotation player different?”

But, hey, that last guy was a pick toward the back of the second round. So … you know, that’s really good!

Fans even know that, no matter how much a singularly exciting skill or statistic is, likely, their fascination is getting sold a bill of goods. We have numbers to help protect us from our sports imaginations, but even those numbers are being used to suggest a hypothetical projection of some future time; that’s using numbers to fuel imagination. And imagination, at the end of the day, is what makes this all so much (kinda) fun anyway.

No, Rudy Gobert is not likely to be the type of shot obliterating big man in the pros that he was at the combine. We know that. But … maybe. No, the fact that Giannis Adetokunbo has looked (occasionally) amazing against pretty low level competition does not mean he’ll look even remotely like that going against NBA players. But, man, have you seen those hands?! Do you realize he grew three inches this past year and is now a hyper-athletic 6’9” small forward prospect? Maybe, maybe… Yeah, sure, Alex Len’s a good player. He’s got good size and decently developed skills for this point in his career. But, wow, Nerlens Noel just looks better doing it. Those hands. That hair. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

(Side note: Yes, it’s official. This is the first year I have become irrationally attached to a player’s pro potential based, largely if not in full, on his hair style. It’s a piece of the package)

Every year, there’s a player who should be a full-on imagination all-star, but who gets caught up in someone (or many people’s) insistence that we have moved beyond imagination, that we are reasonable people now.

Kenneth Faried should have gotten everyone’s imaginations excited. He sure did mine. His rebounding was that bizarre wrinkle in his make-up that (along with his hair – See! It’s a real thing) should have had people dreaming up scenarios where Faried played … well, about as good as he has in his first couple of years. But he was too short. Conventional wisdom suggested that he might not be able to achieve in the pros what he did in college. It happens. And so GMs talked themselves down, away from the rebounding (and the hair!) and decided to let conventional wisdom rob them of a very exciting young player. It happens.

So, who will it be this year? Who will be the player whose singular skill, combination of intangibles or collection of measurements will be looked past because we’re being smart? And who will teams reach for because, for an instant, they blinked and let imagination get the better of them? Here’s to this draft’s imagination all-stars: you may not end up being great players but, just for a moment, you showed something that made the less rational fan part of my brain go, “Right now, I can see him being awesome. It may not happen, but I can just see it!”

Kevin’s Big Board, #51 – 60 (Or, the moment you have all been waiting for!!)

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The NBA draft is almost here.  Next Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers rule the NBA poker table, playing with the most chips and controlling the action.  And how do I plan on commemorating the event?  A huge Big Board roll out: sixty players deep, with a short blurb about each!  Why, you ask?  Because I’m a nerd.  And a bit of a masochist, as anyone attempting to “draft expert” surely is.  Over the last two years, I have enjoyed publishing a wide range of hits and misses, perpetually being able to look back and say “See, I told you about that guy”…while largely ignoring the “D’oh!” moments (I placed Damian Lilliard pretty low; small school guys have been a downfall for me).

With that as intro, I will prognosticate on the future of ten players per day, on six different days, from now until the draft, providing insights for every player that should be drafted.  Let’s start with two players that didn’t make the cut, but warrant some discussion.

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