Links to the Present: Untimely Article Edition

February 12th, 2014 by Nate Smith

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports starts us off with this post from last night about Chris Grant’s failed run in Cleveland. With gems like the ones below, Wojnarowski attempts to prove the thesis: it’s Grant’s fault LeBron James isn’t coming back.

  • “Grant hadn’t scouted Valanciunas hard enough to gain full confidence in his abilities.”
  • “The belief was that Grant was searching for a way to cross Valanciunas off the list and draft a player that he believed to be a safer bet: Texas’ Tristan Thompson. What’s more, Rich Paul, James’ childhood friend and player agent now, represented Thompson.”
  • “Grant passed on Connecticut center Andre Drummond in the 2012 draft, because he didn’t want to pair two such unpolished offensive players as Thompson and Drummond together.”
  • “There had been discussion on drafting Washington State’s Klay Thompson with the fourth overall pick, but Grant believed he could get a deal done later in the lottery and snare him.”
  • “Grant was too stubborn to acknowledge that maybe Waiters’ future is as a bench scorer like Jamal Crawford, and Oladipo was the perfect two-way player to complement Irving.”
  • “Within hours of the draft, Bennett’s agents were calling teams further back in the draft lottery, trying to secure a landing spot for him.”
  • “Before Bynum was thrown out of his final practice and suspended, he was shooting the ball every time he touched it in a practice scrimmage, sources said – from whatever remote part of the court he had caught the ball.”
  • “To keep Deng in free agency this summer, the Cavaliers will probably have to exceed his market value. Letting Deng walk would be too embarrassing.”
  • “Through mismanagement and personnel miscalculations, the Cavaliers have made it increasingly improbable that James foresees the storybook ending in Cleveland.”

Some of that is interesting background, and some of that just comes off as a revisionist history hit piece. I’ve criticized Grant for his selections, to be sure, but the jury is still out.  This article reads like someone from the Cavs organization, trying to justify the Grant firing, is feeding Woj a laundry list of sins. Of course, it could be one of LeBron’s people trying to lay the groundwork for a future kingly snub. But the article was oddly timed, since the Cavs are now riding a three game win streak with Dion Waiters playing some of the best basketball of his career, and Anthony Bennett starting to look like the guy Chris Grant thought he drafted. Woj should have published last week, or should have rewritten his piece to be more even-handed. Sometimes when you sit on a piece for too long, and then release it, it comes off as tone deaf and ignorant of the current “facts on the ground.” That looks like the case here.

Non-Cavs related, but I wanted to recommend Shaun Powell’s piece on Sportsonearth about Jaeson and Josh Maravich, the sons of Pistol Pete, who lost their father when they were eight and five, respectively. It’s compelling reading for hoops junkies.

In other news, frequent commenter, LaughingCavs, is tracking Anthony Bennett’s PER.  Bennet just passed Otto Porter and is closing on Cody Zeller.  Bennett’s PER has jumped 12 points since the begining of the season.  Of course, it was around negative six, then.

Finally, I realized I was remiss last week when I posted my extensive list of Cavs GM candidates. (Yes, this is a gratuitous and shameless plug — but I wrote 4500 words). I forgot to include Joe Dumars, who is currently on the hot seat in Detroit. This seems relevant in light of the recent chatter from Brian Windhorst that “Dan Gilbert is neighbours with Joe Dumars and has a very high opinion of him.” Yikes. I’ve updated the article (Plug #2!) to include my thoughts and this tweet. (Thanks to commenter, Rodney Mac, for the sweet hashtag idea).