The Point Four-ward: McRae of Hope?

dennis-schroderjordan-mcrae-b31256a946875757

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Preseason is a time where things are often not what they seem. Case in point: Jordan McRae.

Over the first two games of the preseason, McRae, a back-up guard, averaged 20 points per game. Now, while no one — not Cavs GM David Griffin, not head coach Tyronn Lue, not even McRae’s own mother — should expect the 6-6 wing from Tennessee to replicate stats like that during the regular season, that kind of performance is a nice preseason surprise.

In those two games, McRae, came off the bench and shot 51.9% from the field — 75% from both the free throw line and from beyond the three point line —while chipping in boards and assists to boot.

But October has its share of pumpkins, as well. All you have to do is look at… well, McRae, again.

In Monday’s game against Atlanta, McRae, starting and assuming the role of presumptive lead scorer, went 1-14 and “gently rocked [CtB’s own Ben Werth] to sleep with isolation brick after brick.”

The idea of McRae as a legit NBA rotation player is not without its critics (including a few of us here at CtB). He doesn’t have ideal quickness or athleticism to consistently create his own shot (at least, not always good ones) at the NBA level. Also, while he’s shot the ball well on occasion, he’s still what scouting reports call “more of a scorer that a shooter.”

The question is: does McRae have the right make-up to be effective as a scoring option off the bench on a championship-caliber team? While the jury might still be out on that one for a while, McRae has been one of the Cavs’ more intriguing prospects this fall. If nothing else, he may be clarifying what his role can be by showing the Cavs’ brass where he is not most effective.

2.) One of the roles where McRae had, until recently, been miscast was back-up point guard.

Earlier this week, Coach Lue said that he would no longer be giving McRae a look as a possible back-up to Kyrie Irving.

Per Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

“We’re going to slow it down a little bit,” Lue said. “It’s not fair to him. It’s something he hasn’t done his whole career… We like what he gives us as far as offensively… Offensively he’s definitely ready to step up and play, we’ve just got to keep bringing him along defensively.”

While McRae has averaged nearly five assists a game during the preseason, which is pretty nice dishing from a scorer off the bench, reports since the summer have mentioned the team hoping the former Vol develops into a Jamal Crawford type.

It’s a bit unfair to compare McRae, who was in the D-League as recently as last season, to Crawford, a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner, but we can use the point of comparision to whittle the expectations for McRae down to something a bit more realistic: a combo guard who can pass, but whose main role will be to score.. with the full understanding that his scoring might not always be of the most efficient variety.

If not Crawford, then, maybe McRae has some peak early-career Marcus Thorton in him.

3.) On Wednesday, the Cavs announced that starting center Tristan Thompson would make his preseason debut in tonight’s game against his hometown Toronto Raptors.

Thompson had been held out of the first three games to rest a stiff foot. There is no indication that the injury was considered serious, as Thompson continued to practice with the team during the last two weeks and he was healthy enough to be part of this:

Thompson’s absence has allowed back-up big man Chris Andersen to show the Cavs and their fans that, even at 38 years old, he’s still got something left in the tank.

In two preseason games, both starts, Andersen has averaged five points and 3.5 rebounds a game in 14 minutes a game. What’s more, he has chipped in a whopping (for him, anyway) three assists per game.

It’s unlikely that Andersen will wrest a primary facilitator role away from LeBron James or Kyrie Irving — he’s never averaged even one assist a game over his career — but it shows the kind of heady player  Coach Lue will be looking at when his eyes drift toward the end of his bench.

Thompson is coming off a playoff run in which he grabbed nine rebounds a game — over four of them on the offensive end. He joins Andersen, Kevin Love, and Channing Frye (and, of course, James) to give the Cavs the deepest, most versatile big man rotation of the LeBron 2.0 era.

4.) And, finally, the dawning of a new NBA season brings with it a new season of Cavs: The Fantasy League. As in previous years, the staff here at CtB is saving a few precious slots in our league for interested readers. If you want to join, drop me an email at the address listed in the sidebar. The open slots will be filled first come, first serve.

Year Three of CtFL is sure to be as full of exciting (but ultimately inconsequential) storylines as our first two tilts. Will I repeat as league champ? Will Evil Genius reclaim the crown he won in our inaugural season? Or will it be someone else? Could it be, even… you?

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TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 11 months ago

Jordan McRae: Not Even Once

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

I’m just glad the biggest issues we have to talk about this year are whether or not guys like the Orange Mamba and Killer Shrimp will be good enough to crack the rotation, and waiting on JR to sign… A far cry from what we could have been talking about if the Cavs hadn’t pulled off the greatest comeback in NBA history…

It’s going to be a lot of fun this year

Rick in Boise
Guest
Rick in Boise
1 year 11 months ago

a horrifying ‘what if?” ? Boston dumps a salary then offers JR a 2-3 year deal at $15 per and front-loads it to make it even more painful to match. Losing JR and to a bitter rival?

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

I’m sure he and Jae Crowder would get along swimmingly…

Rick in Boise
Guest
Rick in Boise
1 year 11 months ago

+1, EG… but the rumor is out there. Even David Aldridge mentioned it on-air.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
1 year 11 months ago

I have near zero hope for McRae. I just don’t think he’s that good. I was a bigger fan of MDN, frankly, just for defense. Liggins probably gives us more quality minutes than McRae.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

MDN had no NBA skills at all.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Watch it dude…

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
1 year 11 months ago

MDN started some games for the Cavs last year. I doubt we will see OMamba start any this year.

At this year’s trading deadline, the Cavs can claim MDN again, and I would not be surprised of they do.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

They will not. That dude sucks.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

AS MUCH AS ATHLETE’S ( ESPECIALLY PROFESSIONAL ) DON’T WANT TO ADMIT IT —-THEY DO READ THE PAPERS / WATCH ESPN / LISTEN TO THE LOCAL MEDIA —-THINK ORANGE MAMBA WAS A ” VICTIM ” OF THIS AFTER HIS 1ST 2 GAMES AND FIGURED HE WAS GOING TO / OR HAD TO SCORE 20 PTS EACH NIGHT OUT / LOST SIGHT OF PLAYING WITHIN THE SYSTEM / LET THE GAME COME TO YOU –HE WILL BE O.K ——AM PLEASANTLY SURPRISED AT BIRDMAN’S BASLETBALL I.Q . ON BOTH SIDES —PASSSING ESPECIALLY AND YES HE STILL HAS ” JUICE ” IN THOSE LEGS AND IS A VERY INTELLIGENT DEFENDER —-THE ” WOES OF MO ” READ THE SAME THING IN KJG / CAVS WILL GET IT SETTLED ——–VERY CRITICAL GAME TONIGHT FOR THE ” BUBBLE PLAYERS ” FOR THAT REASON SHOULD SEE A COMPETITIVE GAME

Bob
Guest
Bob
1 year 11 months ago

For budget reasons, and a good depth replacement, I think trading Shump for Lou Williams would be a good money saving option toward adding JR Smith + Keep Liggins as a Shump defensive replacement, and use Dunleavy at SG….add Josh Smith, or Larrry Nance + Eric Moreland. Roster look = PG Irving, Lou, McRae SG JR, Dunleavy, Liggins SF LeBron, RJ, JJ PF Love, Frye, (Josh S, or Larry Nance) C Tristan, Moreland, Birdman

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Lou Williams is one of the absolute worst chuckers in the league and one of the league’s worst defenders. No thanks.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

But you know… he’s really good at dating…

Warriors Fan
Guest
Warriors Fan
1 year 11 months ago

Surprised at your opinion on Lou. He can lit up and ideal 6th man. Ofcourse LA won’t trade him because they got him for bargain and he is producing.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Near the bottom of rpm for the last several years. He is a volume scorer on bad teams.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Notice how Toronto and Atlanta improved after he left.

Warriors Fan
Guest
Warriors Fan
1 year 11 months ago

hmm. Perception is not always reality. I will check him more closely this year, given that warriors play them 4 times.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Dude sucks. Shump is going to be good this year.

CLF
Guest
CLF
1 year 11 months ago

Robert, very reasonable take about McRae… I think what he brings is length and athleticism. If they can coach up his defense to use those gifts… I think he’ll fit in just fine.

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
1 year 11 months ago

According to http://kingjamesgospel.com/ , Mo is making a stink and not turning in his retirement papers. This means the Cavs only have 14 positions, not 15, a problem for keeping younger players.

KJG is kind of a mixed bag, with some flat out goofy stuff, but this seems like a solid issue.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
1 year 11 months ago

They can just cut him if they want the roster spot. He gets paid whether he’s retired, on the team, or cut.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
1 year 11 months ago

Man, Mo has kind of been a big baby for a while now.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Yeah, it’s going to go on a while. Mo wants a full payout.

Warriors Fan
Guest
Warriors Fan
1 year 11 months ago

ya, he seemed to be mad about Cavs. Quote from Mo:

“Nobody and I repeat nobody actually gave a damn about my health but me,”

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/17780235/mo-williams-surgery-seems-rip-cleveland-cavaliers-instagram-post

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Why are you so willing to be wrong over and over again?

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

I do not believe this is a problem. CtB will run with it of course because they see panic at every turn. But Mo will retire and Everyrhing will remain awesome.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Also, Mark Titus joins me in hating the charge call where a secondary defender slides in front of a player and does nothing but stand there. Join the revolution!!!!!

https://theringer.com/ban-charges-from-basketball-71bc989fdfff#.7nfjlbg5e

Here’s my proposal: I want to make the 3-point line the new restricted arc, and I want to make it so that it’s a flagrant foul if a secondary defender (or a defender on a fast break) steps in front of an offensive player inside the arc, remains stationary, and then doesn’t attempt a play on the ball.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Maybe we can send in a fullback to clear the way for the halfback.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

That’s basically the fraud teams playbook. But if you took the time to educate yourself and read the article you’d see that not what we are talking about here.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

McRae and Thompson will be just fine. Have I mentioned that this team is deeper and better than last year’s team?

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Just rewatched game 7. Cavs rule so much.

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