Happy New Year, everyone. With the Mayan Apocalypse safely behind us, we can focus on making 2013 better than 2012. The beginning of January is the time for making resolutions to be better… to do better. To that effect, I’ve a list of prescriptive resolutions for the members of our favorite basketball team; because no one knows what a team of elite, mostly African American athletes need to do to “take it to the next level,” like a pasty, balding, nearing middle aged computer geek with a beer belly.
C.J. Miles: Resolve to do something other than score. I love the scoring. I love the shooting and high efficiency. I love that left handed gliding dunk. But… when your shot isn’t falling you tend to disappear. So… resolve to make an effort on defense, rebounding, passing… something. Focusing on defense is probably the easiest.
Jeremy Pargo: Resolve to be consistently aggressive off the bench. As a starter this season, you averaged 14.5 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.6 turnovers in 30.7 minutes. You shot .408/.348/.697. You had a couple games that made us believe you could be a good backup point guard to Kyrie. As a bench player, you’ve averaged 2.4 points, 1.1 assists, and .8 turnovers in 8.4 minutes per game, and shot .321/.200/.667. Your production per minute is a fraction of what it is as a starter. We know that Scott’s haphazard rotations haven’t helped, but we’re asking him to resolve to do better too. Please resolve to bring it when you come off the bench. Push the ball.
Luke Walton: Since it’s pretty apparent you’re going to be getting rotation minutes, please resolve to work on your jump shot. You’re shooting a career low .316 from the floor, and .125 from three. I know at this age, it’s pretty pointless to ask you to rebound better, and that coach Scott insists on playing you at power forward. But you should be able to get some open jumpers there. Teams are starting to play off you, so go practice your threes and your elbow jumpers.
Omri Casspi: Resolve to keep your head up. You haven’t gotten much run since you had gastroenteritis (tee hee. I’m 12). But please don’t let the coach’s capricious substitution patterns get you down. Please keep playing hard in practice, rebounding, and shooting those silky wing jumpers and that free throw line pull-up.
Tyler Zeller. You’ve started putting your legs into your jump shot again, so you have a great start on 2013. This request may have to wait till the offseason, but resolve to add some muscle mass. Your thin frame is getting you punished on the block. Though it took him a while to lean to play with the weight, the 15 pounds that TT put on in the offseason have helped him bang with the bigs boys, and kept him on the floor. It’s not easy, and probably hypocritical coming from a guy who added 15 pounds of egg nog mass during December, but 15 pounds of muscle could help you immensely. Please call Ben Wallace’s trainer.
The same goes for you, John Leuer.
Samardo Samuels: Resolve to bring energy every time you are in the game. It’s hard to channel that at a moment’s notice, because you don’t seem to know when you’re going to play, but the Samardo Samuels from the last two years ago had a lot of energy moments around the basket. The Samardo Samuels of this year, while he shoots better, seems content to launch 20 footers. Watch this video. Get yourself fired up.
Kevin Jones: What we told Samardo goes for you too. When you’re at the bottom of the bench, you need to play like a madman to get noticed. Resolve to play so hard that the coach can’t sub you without getting booed.
Tristan Thompson: Just keep doin’ what you’re doing. You’ve been getting better with every game in Andy’s absence. And if I could make but one suggestion, resolve to use the glass more. Watch some video of Andy who’s a master of using the glass, and try to work on a quick one handed layup finish off the glass from either side of the basket. It’s a pretty fundamental play that would help you finish without getting your shot blocked. Keep your shoulders parallel to the glass, and use your off hand shoulder to ward off the defender, and just throw it in. Mikan drills, my friend. Mikan drills.
Alonzo Gee: The recent evolution of the pullup elbow jumper has been a nice development. You’ve also developed some left hand/right foot driving and finishing moves which have opened up your slashing game immensely. Your resolution should be to take the right wing jumper out of your game until you get better at it. You’re not great from the corners (especially the right corner), but you’re at least competent at it, and it’s really hard to take that shot out of the offense. The right wing jumpers need to go until you can shoot at least 30% from there.
Anderson Varejao: I can’t tell you to stop getting yourself beat up, and you’ve too much pride to ask to sit some games, so I’m asking you to do something that’s REALLY not in your nature. Demand the ball more on the block. When the Cavs offense is bogging down and you’re desperately trying to set screens to get a pick and roll going, and no one is moving, you need to tell the guards to get you the ball on the block and try to score. You’re a much better option on the block than a bad jump shot. I know it’s not your nature, but it’s the next step of your evolution.
Dion Waiters: Stop shooting long 2 point shots — especially early in the shot clock. The long two is a shot that should only be taken by a player who is especially good at them, as it’s usually the least efficient shot in the game. According to Basketball-Reference You are shooting .225 from 3 to 9 feet from the basket. Since this is the eventual evolution of your game, I can’t ask you to stop taking these shots(though you should be working on them). And you’re shooting .325 from behind the line, where you have no remorse about jacking it up at any time from anywhere (though you should stop shooting the straight on 3, as you’re making almost none). But… you’re shooting .373 from 16 feet to the 3 point line. You need to practice this shot and get over .400 (at least) or take it out of your game. If it weren’t for your prowess from the left baseline, this number would be even worse. So I guess I’m asking you to resolve to use this shot chart, figure out the spots you’re good from, and shoot from there, and stop shooting from places you’re not. (26 feet and beyond, the right baseline, straight on from 3, and just inside the 3 point line from the left side… to summarize).
Shaun Livingston: Resolve to embrace the role of mentoring veteran. It’s your best bet to stick with the Cavs, and it’s something they need. Try to teach KI, Dion, and Jeremy about professionalism, defense, and how to keep one’s head in the game…
Daniel Gibson: Your game is what it is, and I love your attitude. Since I have to ask for a resolution, I’m saying, just for the sake of argument, maybe, um, slow down on the twitter? Were 10 tweets on Dec. 29th really necessary? Although, I am interested in hearing some of the poetry you were conjuring that night. So yeah. Resolve to give us more poetry and twine ripping and fewer tweets.
Byron Scott: I’m going to have to restrain myself here, because there’s a lot of things I’d like you to resolve. My biggest request though? Resolve to act like you care. Sometimes it looks like you are just standing there. It looks at times as if the losing doesn’t bother you. Sometimes when Anderson Varajao just got ripped down by the collarbone, I want you to sprint out to where he is and stare down Amir Johnson. I want you to pick up a technical every now and again and bark at the refs when you’re not getting calls. I know the team takes a lot of composure cues from their coach, and you can’t seem like you are out of control, but I want some fire from you. I don’t want the stoic stare all the time. Please make me believe you care, Byron. Please get your players’ backs.
Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert: Resolve to instill a culture of winning in 2013. I know it doesn’t have to be this “season” per se, but winning needs to become the focus. The Cavs seem too content to throw away games, and you’re losing the fans. I don’t want the Cleveland Cavaliers to be the Winter Indians. So, get some quality free agents. Get some culture changers. Have a long talk with Scott about what it will take to win, or get a coach to change the culture. Stop building for the future, and make the future now. Start setting some goals and setting some consequences if those goals aren’t achieved. I think you’ve done a good job rebuilding the team so far, but this resolution is the necessary next step.
Kyrie Irving: Please resolve to be a better defender, and to stay engaged every game. I know this is a daunting task. Coach Scott seems to give you guys no consistent way to play the pick and roll, and you guys often don’t seem to have an idea of how to play certain players (why wouldn’t you just go under the pick every time on Rondo?), but I’m hoping you can be the tone setter, Kyrie. Since this is a big resolution, I’m going to give you two specific things to work on.
- Stop “floating” on the pick and roll. If you are switching, stay switched. Don’t just let the big run to the basket while you stand there 10 feet from the play, hoping the ball will rebound so you can push, and pullup for 3. Communicate better and don’t be so content to switch or pass your man off. Be an aggressor on defense and not a passive watcher.
- Work on “getting skinny” to get around screens and stay with your man. You seem way to willing to give up on a play when you’re being run through screens. You seem disengaged, with no mind to how you’re going to get through that screen to slow down your man. Put the same thought and effort into defense that you put into offense.
Happy 2013 everyone… May we all accomplish our resolutions.