Archive for May, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure: You Are David Griffin!

Friday, May 30th, 2014

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In elementary school, my favorite books were the “choose your own adventure” ones.  I enjoyed being able to exercise limited creativity by picking the end of my Goosebumps book.  Just going through the door on the right could land you in a locked room with some creepy dolls moving slowly towards you to hold your hand.  Ringing the doorbell to the door on your left could lead you to tea with an older woman that needs friendship.  I’m not sure what’s worse.

Getting the top pick has set up the Cavs with a wonderful “choose your own adventure” situation.  The team has the opportunity to take the Jabari Parker path, the Joel Embiid path, or the Andrew Wiggins path.  Each one leads to a new room: some rooms are dark and dreary filled with first round playoff exits, others are bright from the shining gold of Larry O’Brien trophies.

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The Point Four-ward: Four Things I’m Thinking About the Cleveland Cavaliers

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

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1.) An interesting name popped up amidst the New York Knicks current coaching search: Luke Walton. Walton, the former Laker and Cavalier, has never been more than tangentially connected to the top spot on the Knicks’ bench and his name was floated mostly in the same way that anyone who has a previous working relationship with Phil Jackson has been linked to the job at some point post-Steve Kerr pursuit (and, yes, it is too bad that Shaquille O’Neal is part owner of the Kings now taking that tasty morsel off the rumor rotisserie). But Luke Walton as a head coach is not as crazy as it might sound.

Anyone who watched Walton and Shaun Livingston run a fluid, efficient second unit offense for the Cavaliers in 2012-13 could tell just how much the game is in his bones. Walton has had the benefit of growing up around the pro game and then learning under two of the better coaches around: Lute Olson at the University of Arizona and Phil Jackson in Los Angeles (sorry, Byron Scott… we’re leaving you off this particular list). During the NBA lockout of 2011-12, Walton spent his extra dose of free time by joining former AU assistant coach Josh Pastner’s staff at the University of Memphis. Then following the conclusion of his playing career, Walton was named player development coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

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One Sport, Two Continents, and the International Men of Mystery

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Editors Note: Please welcome new Staff Writer, and CtB European correspondent, Ben Werth.

I yell out “Check up top.” General dillydallying continues, and I yell again.  “BALL UP TOP.”  Okay, maybe something is lost in translation.  I try a different tactic.  “Der Ball ganz oben, bitte?”  That combined with the well known International Sign of “putting my hands out to receive a pass” have the desired effect.  I’m pretty sure my whack literal translation was not what yielded the ball.

“What do you guys usually play?  12 win by two, or 21 straight?  All ones?”  I generally detest playing with ones and twos in pickup ball.  The NBA short corner three is ridiculously inefficient compared to that two for one advantage.  Good thing most normal people can’t shoot.

“Okay!” says one lithe baller.

“Okay, what?  Bis zwölf, oder was?”  Have I been talking to myself?

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Mega Links to the Present: Memorial Day Madness

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Welcome to a special Memorial Day links edition of CtB.  We’ve a lot to get to. First off, let’s thank our service members whose sacrifices we are eternally grateful for. Second, we still have no idea who the Cavs are drafting. I’ve seen mock drafts with each of the three wunderkinds going first. This collection of mock drafts from Cavs.com has six sites picking Wiggins, three picking Embiid, and two picking Parker. And I’ve heard more than a little talk about the pick being moved. We may not know anything till June 26th.

Draft Madness

Joel Embiid:

First off, Trevor Magnotti from Right Down Euclid breaks down the medical details about Joel Embiid’s back injury. After a lot of fascinating technical details, he comes to an optimistic conclusion.

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#WellActually You’re Wrong to be Outraged about the Lottery

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
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I promise to pen only one rant-post a season.

Let me start by saying I currently have two enormous pet peeves frequently generated by journalists/pundits.  The first is the use of the word “nuance” or “nuanced” which is code for “I am enlightened and/or reasonable enough to understand that the world isn’t black and white, there are “shades of gray” and therefore my “nuanced” discussion or analysis is superior to your opinions, which are essentially Neanderthal grunting”.

This thinly-veiled hubris is insufferable, and the phrase du jour has permeated every sector and level of journalism.  It’s one thing when the almond-milk drinkers at The Atlantic are using it; it’s another when sportswriters writing about…well sports, revert to it over and over and over.  Can we go back to talking like characters from “da Bears” sketches already?  It’s just as intelligent, only without the overwhelming smugness.

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Final Thoughts on Lottery Night….

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

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A quick recap of some of the stuff that wasn’t caught (entirely) on camera…

•If you’re not a Cavs fan or member of the Cavaliers organization, you were not particularly amused by Cleveland’s lottery win Tuesday night. ESPN/Grantland’s Bill Simmons was the most vocal in his disappointment (or, maybe he just had the biggest stage) but he was not alone in his frustration over the same team winning the lottery three out of four years. There was a lot of grumbling by the media when the Cavs jumped into the top three. When they eventually won, I was pretty sure that the Kings writer I’d been chatting with was giving serious thought to whether punching me would make him feel any better. The Cavs win, while great for us, seemed to make two things obvious to those in attendance: 1.) the lottery actually isn’t rigged (unless this leads to LeBron’s return, of course…) and 2.) the current system is failing to do what it’s intended to do, namely to distribute talent evenly throughout the league and serve as a way for the league’s worst teams to have a punchers chance of climbing out from the dregs, if even only for a time. The Cavs win so closely mirrors Orlando’s back-to-back lottery wins in 1992 and 1993 that led to the weighted-odds model (both teams were legitimately bad the first year and less legitimately bad the following … although the Cavs, you know, still more so) that you have to imagine this will speed along whatever changes to the lottery are being bandied about in league offices.

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Congratulations! You Won the Lottery. Now Don’t Screw it Up.

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Urban mythology is filled with the tales: people who won the lottery, and woke up three years later at the bottom of an empty swimming pool clutching a bottle of Jack next to a passed out former XFL cheerleader and a Tibetan Mastiff named Chodak, while the sounds of the flatbed truck cranking up the winch to repossess the Bentley echoed in the distance. “That guy had everything, and pissed it all away,” the documentary always says…

The Cavs don’t want to be the NBA version of that story. After winning their pick of the NBA prospects in the greatest draft since 2003, we Cavs fans, and I’m sure the front office, are euphoric. With this pick, two picks next year, and $40 million to spend, the Cavs have sooo many options. I don’t know about yours, but my head has been spinning for the last 24 hours — dazzled by the overwhelming number of possibilities. David Griffin has acknowledged all these possibilities, too.  And to his credit, he’s been setting off smoke screens since the minute the pick was announced.  I’ve heard that Parker, Embiid, and Wiggins are all at “the top of the Cavs list.” I’ve heard that the Cavs will look at more than just those players. I’ve heard that Griffin’s phone has been ringing with trade offers since the moment they got the pick, and that the Cavs “will be open minded.” But like someone who just won the Powerball, Cleveland needs to disconnect the phone for a day or two and figure out what’s really important.

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Cavs: the Podcast 0048 – God Loves Cleveland

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

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HOLY CRAP!  The good news still has not settled in.  And no, I’m clearly not talking about a certain owners daughter (who happens to, weirdly enough, share a name with me…Fate much?) being easy on the eyes.  For the third time in four years, the Cleveland Cavaliers are selecting number one.   WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?!

I’m still jazzed about this.  I know Nate, Tom, and David are too.  Heck, I’m sure you are all as well.  So we all hopped on on the energency podcast line to discuss the pick, who it will be, who it won’t be, potential trades for the pick, and why the Cavaliers are, as always, going to somehow botch this.

As always, the podcast can be found on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/cavstheblog/0048-god-loves-cleveland

or on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cavs-the-podcast/id528149843?mt=2

Cleveland Shockers: Cavs Nail No. 1 Pick

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

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No Nick Gilbert? No problem. General Manger David Griffin is all the magic you need, Cleveland. In a truly shocking bit of ball bouncery, the ping-pongs came up Cavs netting the team the top overall pick in the most anticipated draft since the 2003 Draft which featured game changers like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony (among others) and which the Cavs, coincidentally, also won.

The Cavaliers finished this season at 33-44, the ninth worst record in the league. They had only a 1.7% chance of getting the top pick, but the crowd in attendance at the Times Square Studio in New York City started grumbling when they learned the Cavs had jumped up into the top three. They knew the Cavs had just gotten very lucky. What they didn’t know was exactly how lucky.

An hour earlier, Cavs Vice Chairman, Jeff Cohen, who had been the team’s representative in the sealed-off room where the number combinations are drawn in past years, as well, saw their winning combination of 7-9-13-14 come up. It’s a feeling he’s now known three times in the last four years.

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BREAKING!!! Cavs win! Cavs win!

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Thank God for Nick Gilbert’s bow tie, Bill Simmons’ reverse jinx, Jeff Cohen, not tanking, and the luck of the Moondog (is that a thing?) Cleveland just won the NBA draft lottery for the third time in four years.  With a 1.7% chance at the top pick, Cleveland won… again. Robert Attenweiler will have more later, but this is a moment of pure joy. In the words of Joe Tait, “Cavs Win!”