Links To The Present+ September 16, 2010

September 16th, 2010 by Tom Pestak

Right now Shawn Kemp is the Cavaliers leading vote getter on SportsNation for All-Time Power forward – that’s only because all his kids have already voted.  Let’s fix that, Cavs fans.  Also, Terrell Brandon’s legacy is CRIMINALLY underrated – loved this interview with him too.

I’ve been waiting for Mr. Cavalier to chime in on the 2010-2011 season.  He did so in an interview which can be read here. This got me thinking about the chemistry of the Cavs and how they are going to mesh.  I came up with  four scenarios that I believe could play out.

Scenario 1:    The 2008 Washington Wizards

The 2011 Cavaliers might look an awful lot like the 2008 Wizards on paper.  The Wizards won a respectable 43 games but were viewed as a disappointment thanks to unrealistic expectations.  They had some talent on offense, spreading the wealth between Arenas, Jamison, and Butler and finished 12th in the league in offensive efficiency.  The Cavaliers will, similarly, look to Mo Williams, Ramon Sessions, and Jamison to create offense and could finish in the top 15 in offensive efficiency.  Their downfall will be that of the 2008 Wizards – depth, defense, and creating easy baskets.  Make no mistake, the Cavaliers are going to be a jump-shooting team – that’s what happens when you lose 3 of your 4 best finishers in the off-season.  Defensively, they will be giving up a lot of size underneath with the absence of O’Neal and Ilgauskas.  Heavy minutes for Mo Williams and J.J. Hickson could spell trouble defensively as well.  Like the 2008 Wizards, they will have some offensive weapons and some shooters and barring injury they could out-shoot most teams on most nights – they just have to hope that opponents try to get into jump shooting battles with them.  43 Wins

Scenario 2:  The 2010 Houston Rockets

In my opinion the current Cavalier roster bears an UNCANNY resemblance to last year’s rockets.  In fact, if you took both rosters and tried to create the most even 5 on 5 pick-up game ever how would THIS not be the results?

Captains: Mo Williams / Aaron Brooks.  Mo picks Wild Thing, Brooks picks Luis Scola.  Varejao dyes his hair jet black and jumps in a pool before the game.  No one can tell them apart.  Brooks gets the second pick first and takes Shane Battier to be his glue guy.  Mo grabs Anthony Parker.  Both men have a corner-3-point shooting contest before the game hosted by Bruce Bowen.  Mo Gotti surprises everyone when he takes JJ Hickson, the 6-9 240 lb one dimensional power forward who ends up posting a PER of 21 in 2011.  Brooks picks Carl Landry, the 6-9 240 lb one dimensional power forward who already posted a PER of 21 in 2010.  With the final pick, Brooks picks the highly athletic and long small forward who signed for the mid-level exception in 2009: Trevor Ariza.  Mo decides he likes Ariza’s game but hates his scowl so he selects a much happier version in Jamario Moon.  Both players are guaranteed to finish a few one-man fast breaks after getting their long arms on some passes.  They are also both guaranteed to shoot mostly 18 footers off the dribble.  For good measure both captains pick sixth men.  Mo realizes the Cavs need some more playmaking in the backcourt since he is mainly a shooter and grabs Ramon Sessions.  Aaron Brooks realizes he is too short to guard Nate Robinson and needs some help defensively in the backcourt so he picks Kyle Lowry to Dan Gilbert’s delight.  Chris Grant starts posting sabrmetrics on his twitter account.  The two teams battle it out and the Rockets squad wins thanks to the play of Luis Scola and Shane Battier.  Aaron Brooks, however, wins MVP of the game by going 6-24 from the field.

In all seriousness, the 2011 Cavaliers will win 42 games if they play as a team, move the ball, and bring energy every night.  Much like the 2010 Rockets they will lose some games pretty badly but they could steal a lot of games when the opponent is trying to win on talent alone.  42 Wins

Scenario 3: Fear and Loathing in Cleveland

“Running” seems like a great idea – until you realize it’s a hallucinogen: doesn’t last, doesn’t fix your problems, and doesn’t ease the harsh realities of the state of the franchise.  The Cavaliers will  make a concerted effort to “run” on offense but to what avail?  With some up-tempo players in Jamario Moon, JJ Hickson, Anderson Varejao, and Mo Williams, the Cavaliers will certainly enjoy some flashy fast breaks here and there, but they lack the athleticism to really punish teams on the break.  Antawn Jamison, Boobie Gibson, Leon Powe, Anthony Parker, and Jawad Williams are half-court players.  After a few shocking losses playing run-and-gun the Cavaliers will be forced to play conservatively, slow down the tempo, grab every rebound/loose ball and execute in the half-court…And it will look a lot like the 2010 Cavaliers when LeBron sat the last week of the season.  33 Wins

Scenario 4: It’s the ECONOMY, stupid.

Do you smell smoke?  Well, you will after the fire sale that will rival the 2010 Wizards (hint: it will involved one of the same players too!)  Of course I’m kidding since the only two players the Cavaliers will look to move are Mo and Antawn.  Still, if they trade both players to contenders near the deadline that will mean that 6 of the most expensive 7 contracts from 2009-2010 will be gone.  (Shaq, LeBron, Jamison, Z, Mo, Delonte)

That will leave them with some young talent and a ridiculously small payroll with only Anderson Varejao and JJ Hickson (once they resign him) making over 6 million a season.  By that time, they may only be overpaying Boobie (who will have a productive season) and could lose enough games to secure a lottery pick.  24 Wins

So what are your predictions, Cavs fans?