Archive for August, 2013

Kevin’s Pseudo-Scientific 2013 – 2014 Projections!!

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

We slowly wake and stretch, yawning loud enough to shake earth.  We’re hungry, and a little cranky; Colin may be a lot cranky.  That is what arising from hibernation looks like though.  Unlike most mammals that enjoy long naps however, the Cavs:the Bloggers doze off in the summer.  But as this sunny season rolls towards September, our old routines resume.

For me, that involves tenuously linking numbers, hoping to fall on the right side of the line separating projecting from making things up. Over a series of articles, various advanced stats will be utilized to forecast “unbiased”, “good case”, and “bad case” scenarios for the 2013 – 2014 Cavs.  For this team, a large, very realistic spread exists between those latter two.  Today, a projection forms utilizing Win Shares data from basketball-reference.com and this associated aging curve.  The “unbiased” outlook is presented in this article, with only the team’s minutes distribution subjectively assigned by me.  And generally, I used history as a guide there, too.  Aside from that, the projection is built from:

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Links to the Present: TT’s “Ricky Vaughn moment” edition (Updated)

Monday, August 12th, 2013

We’ve been a little lax of late, so forgive us for not mentioning sooner that team Canada played a two game series against Jamaica on the eighth and tenth.  In these exhibitions, Tristan Thompson’s developing right handed jump shot was on display.  In the first game, TT’s offensive was pretty nonexistent.  He scored only four points on 2-9 from the field and 0-2 from the line where, yes, he shot right handed.   Despite the poor shooting, he grabbed a game high 8 rebounds, and chipped in two assists and two steals.  He also played decent defense.  Thompson helped to hold Jamaican centerpiece and former Cavalier, Samardo Samuels, to 15 points on 5-14 shooting with 7 turnovers.  Team Canada won 81-72.

In the second game, Tristan was dominant, leading team Canada to a 17 point comeback for a 77-72 win.  In 23 minutes of action, Thompson scored 16 points and grabbed 10 boards and shot 6-11  and 4-4 at the charity stripe, including two clutch free throws in the final two minutes.   Click here for the post game interview with TT, and a few highlights.

Tristan’s switch to right handedness has been an interesting story this summer, and I’ve long said that if he can pull it off, it could be his “Ricky Vaughn discovers he needs glasses” moment.  (Though it’s now 24 years old, Major League is still required watching if you’re a Cleveland sports fan).  Michael Grange of Canada’s Sportsnet leads the coverage charge with a lengthy article on Tristan’s conversion, here.  Also in that link is a radio interview Tristan did with Grange and Tim Micallef on SportsNet 590’s Tim and Sid show.

By all accounts, the conversion of TT’s primary shooting hand from left to right is unprecedented in professional basketball history.  But Austin Carr has been beating the “TT shoots better righty” drum since the Canadian’s rookie year.  Jason Lloyd previewed the “conversion” during Tristan’s improved play last February.  Cavs the Blog staffers have been noting Tristan’s more deft right hand for some time.  Tristan finally took heed to all our advice some time last November, and conducted a little experiment, according to the Grange article.

“We got back to Cleveland and got one of the ball-boys to record me and I shot 100 jumpers with my left and 100 with my right and it was significantly better with my right-hand. There was just a better flow to it with my right, it looked smoother…”

Also according to Grange’s piece, the Cavs are doing everything they can to help Tristan with the conversion, and are fully on board.

The Cavaliers have hired Dave Love, a shooting coach from Calgary who learned from the highly-respected Chip Engelland… Engelland is currently an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs and widely credited with successfully revamping Spurs star Tony Parker’s shot.

Tristan will be further refining the right handed J when team Canada plays in the 2013 FIBA Americas Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela from August 30th, to September 11th.  The tournament is an important qualifier for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.  I can’t wait to watch.

In other Cavs news, Sam Amico tweeted Sunday that the Cavs will be getting together for informal workouts in L.A. some time next week, with Kyrie Irving organizing. Amico also tweeted that LeBron can opt out of his contract next summer, and that it will be a story all year — in case you didn’t know

Finally, and most importantly, the Cavaliers mascot, Moondogg, is apparently available for weddings

Update: Click here, for Brendan Bowers’ story about Anderson Varejao helping a stranded Brazilian couple return home from the Cleveland Hopkins Airport.  Man, do I love Wild Thing.

Update II: Bradford Doolittle of ESPN Insider (account required) and Basketball Prospectus predicts the Cavs to be the NBA’s most improved team, here.

NBA Schedule Released!!

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

The NBA released the 2013-2014 schedule yesterday evening; only 84 days until the Cavs return!!  Here is the Cavs slate.

A few items to note:

  • The season kicks off October 30th in Cleveland, against Brooklyn.  Looks like the Nets championship aspirations start poorly.  A huge game, including Shaun Livingston’s return to Cleveland; Karasev vs Kirilenko…no wonder the game is nationally televised on NBA TV.
  • November and December prove more tame this year than last.  Thirty games in 63 days, half at home and half on the road, with zero four-in-five-nights.  The first ten games feature Charlotte twice, Philadelphia twice, and Minnesota twice.  The table is set for a strong early push towards the playoffs.
  • Games eleven and twelve bring battles against Washington, an exciting early test of the Kyrie / Waiters versus Wall / Beal backcourts.
  • No Christmas day game, with Cleveland playing home against Detroit on the 23rd and Atlanta on the 26th.  Enjoy a nice holiday with your families, guys!
  • In January, the team embarks on a 5 game, 8 day West Coast trip, traveling to Utah, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Portland, and Denver.   Two wins from that voyage is easily realistic, probably one coming from Mike Brown, Andrew Bynum, and Earl Clark returning to face the Lakers..
  • Immediately following that stretch is five at home: Dallas, Chicago, Milwaukee, Phoenix and New Orleans from January 20th to the 28th, with no back-to-backs.  Nice stretch there to pick up momentum heading towards the All-Star break.
  • After the All-Star break (February 13th – 18th), the schedule begins getting difficult.  In late February, the Cavs face their first four-in-five-nights stretch: Toronto; at OKC; Utah; at Memphis.  My opinion…much of the regular rotation should sit the Memphis game.
  • The gauntlet of fifteen March games includes: Memphis, San Antonio, the Knicks twice, Golden State, the Clippers, Miami, Oklahoma City, Houston, the Nets, and Indiana.  Whereas the month began with the completion of a four-in-five nights stretch, it ends similarly.  Houston, New York, Toronto and Detroit from March 22rd to the 26th.  This month will be a huge test for a young squad battling towards a playoff berth.
  • If they survive March, April provides a nice tune-up for that inevitable first round series against the Heat.  A seven games in 17-night stretch, with only one game against a contender, and that is the season finale against Brooklyn.  Could be meaningless for the Nets.

There it is.  Next season is almost here, and the schedule shapes up pretty well for a strong showing from the Wine and Gold.  Clearly, league-wide interest in the young Cavs is picking up with nine nationally televised games this year: three on ESPN, one on TNT, and six on NBA TV.  I’m ready.

Uncle Strange-Drew (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Kyrie Irving)

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The NBA off-season isn’t really all that long. It just feels that way. As there are fewer and fewer actual events for basketball chatter to revolve around, inevitably something comes along to fill the void. This summer, tempering the tempered post-Bynum cautious optimism of Cavaliers fans everywhere was CBS Sports Radio’s Brandon Tierney citing “someone in the know” that Kyrie Irving “is not long for Cleveland.”

Irving took to Twitter to retort “Rumors are rumors” and John Telich of Fox 8 Sports in Cleveland added “Source close to Kyrie ‘He loves Clev and wants to win… [I]f there’s extension w/ alot of guaranteed $ Kyrie signs'” at which point Tierney backpedaled and said that, of course, Irving’s contract does not allow him to leave of his own volition for, at least, the next couple years. By “not long for Cleveland,” Tierney clarified, he was talking “long term.” Long term not long, is what Tierney meant to say. Ah, of course. Got it!

Then while in Las Vegas for the Team USA trials, he said “I’m a Cavalier right now. I’m happy to be a Cavalier.”

Great, right? Case closed. The Cavaliers and their fan base will not get sucked into anticipating another Doomsday scenario with their franchise guy.

But who really sees this story going away? Regardless of the team’s success, “Cavs’ ability to keep Kyrie happy” and “LeBron’s return” likely remain the media’s 2013-14 dueling banjos when it comes to talking about the Cavaliers (edging out the inevitable “Tristan Thompson’s a 20-20 guy” story … cough, cough…). (more…)

Links to the Present: August 5, 2013 – D.R.E.A.M Edition (Dion Rules Everything Around Me)

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Some day, Dion Waiters will appear in Dos Equis commercials.

His charity bowling event took place Sunday.  Check out this three minute video at the nba’s website: a couple hundred people; Dion battling early adversity to dominate; push-up challenges; and it’s all for a good cause.  That’s a fine day.

Also, a nice article from Donna Ditota at Syracuse.com, discussing the effort that Waiters is putting in on-and-off the court this summer.  It’s definitely worth a read, featuring discussion of Dion’s growing relationship with Coach Brown; his long developing respect for Jim Boeheim; and his expected role on the Cavs next season.

Thanks for helping keep summer interesting, Dion.

Links to the Present: August 3rd, 2013 (Dion Waiters making moves edition)

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

So, we have fallen silent at Cavs:the Blog.  It’s summer time, and free agency is largely over, especially now that Greg Oden signed with the Heat.  Summer League and Team USA camp are behind us, and the crew at C:tB has settled into needed rest.

Not Dion Waiters though.

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