The Point Four-ward: Kay’s Konfidence, the Central Division, and Rondo Benched for Bulls

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Most of the equations for explaining Kay Felder‘s effectiveness in the last two games goes something like this: 33 points in Canton + playing time with Kyrie Irving out = Confidence! But there could be an extra element to that equation: the scoring binge being put on this season by the Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas.

There have been plenty of stories comparing the two guards since Felder was drafted out of Oakland University in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft. As the league’s only two players listed at 5-9, the comparisons are natural and will continue to come (as they did last Thursday when the Celtics visited The Q), especially as Felder’s combination of scoring ability and playmaking instincts (and games like Monday night’s) suggest he could overcome his relatively diminutive size and develop into a legit NBA rotation player.

2.) So, imagine you’re Felder. You’ve just gotten to shake some of the rust off of your game to the tune of 33 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in your first D-League game. You return to the parent club and get to watch as the player you are most frequently compared to scores 31 point against your team. Then, Thomas goes out on Friday night and becomes only the seventh player in the storied Boston franchise to score 50 or more points, dropping 52 on the Miami Heat. If you’re Felder, how do you feel going into Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets knowing that Irving will be limited, if available at all, because of a hamstring injury? You feel good about your chances of making a positive impact on the game, right?

And that’s exactly what has happened over the last two games. Felder hasn’t gone off for 52 points — and will likely never come close to Thomas’s current average of 27.7 points per game — but he’s been a spark for the suddenly undermanned Cavs. He’s played with confidence and the game may finally be slowing down a bit for the rookie. Even if the Cavs go out and add a veteran back-up guard at some point this season — which they will — it’s nice to see the coaches starting to have some confidence in Felder… and that Felder, rightly, is playing with plenty of it right now.

3.) Over the weekend, I saw a stat about the Cavs’ record that surprised me.

Now, we all know that the Cavs currently hold a 26-7 record. That’s the third best record in the league behind the Golden State Warriors (30-5) and the San Antonio Spurs (27-7).

They are a league-best 18-2 at home. All of this is good stuff.

But the Cavs do hold one blemish on their otherwise sterling 2016-17 record: they own a losing record in their own Central Division. The Cavs are just 3-4 in the division, with one loss each coming against Chicago, Detroit, Indiana, and Milwaukee. That’s right, each one of the Cavs’ four divisional foes has notched a win against the wine and gold this year, while the rest of the league has combined for just three.

None of this is cause for concern, but it was interesting to see what games the Cavs are more likely to drop than others. So far this season, Lue has frequently chosen to rest some combination of Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love on back-to-backs. Because of the proximity of the other Central Division teams to Cleveland, they make for convenient back ends to those pairs of games. So, the Cavs play more games against the Central short-handed — particularly, resting James in those games.

Most recently, the Cavs beat Golden State on Christmas Day, then traveled to Detroit, rested James, and dropped one to the Pistons.

The strategy might be different if another of the East’s best resided in the Central Division. Right now, the Cavs aren’t feeling any serious heat from teams from the other teams in the Central. The Bucks are the closest to the Cavs in the standings, sitting in sixth place, nine games behind the Cavs.

4.) Tonight, the Cavs look to improve that record against the Central Division as they welcome the Chicago Bulls to The Q. The Bulls… well, they’re carrying some baggage of their own: namely, the benching of former All Star point guard Rajon Rondo.

Raise your hand if you thought the marriage between the Bulls and Rondo wouldn’t go well.

[scans the room]

Okay, that’s most of you. Now, keep your hand up if you thought the Bulls and one of their prime off-season additions wouldn’t even make it to 2017.

[scans again]

Really? That many? Man, there’s a lot of cynical NBA fans out there…

No, there are just a lot of NBA fans out there who have actually watched Rondo play over the last several years.

They’ve seen him feud with Dallas Maverick’s head coach Rick Carlisle so much that he became unplayable in a playoff series against the Houston Rockets. In Sacramento, these same NBA fans saw Rondo pass up easy scoring opportunities in order to pad his assist numbers. And, now in Chicago, we’re all seeing Rondo — a player few thought would be a good fit on this roster — shooting just 37% from the field, registering the fewest assists (7.1) since becoming a starter, all while carrying the lowest PER of his career (11.2).

Rondo, who met with Bulls GM Gar Forman, believes he has achieved enough in his career to be traded if, in fact, his time in the Bulls’ rotation is over. The question is: what team would want him? Even a team searching for a veteran back-up point guard (know of any teams like that, Cavs fans?) would have to be scared away by a stretch of poor play that now goes back multiple seasons.

In Rondo’s absence, the Bulls will rely on point guards Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant.

 

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RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
1 year 6 months ago

So potential line up tonight….Kay, DeAndre, RJ, Channing, TT with McRae, Shumpert, and JFJ coming off the bench….wowsers

RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
1 year 6 months ago

The Starters (who are eminently enjoyable btw) throwing out Cousins or Millsap to Boston. Cousins could be scary. Not sure what Boston has to offer. Maybe Crowder and Amir Johnson’s expiring contract.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

Cousins would most assuredly sink that team… so I hope they do it… Millsap is a better player, but TT dominated him and Horford in Atlanta… I would expect the same outcome in Boston…

RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
1 year 6 months ago

But EG…who’s the one coach that could take his no nonsense college approach and rein Boogie in?

bstevens01b.jpg
EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

Touche!

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

With Bulls potentially on verge of fire sale, anyone think they’d trade Taj Gibson (expiring contract) for the AV trade exception? Money is almost equal, and might be decent for frontcourt depth…

JMay
Member
1 year 6 months ago

I bet they look for more assets than that. Still wonder if they will ever do a thing like that while they have Wade, no matter how old and decrepit he is.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

FWIW… Bulls were 11-7 when they beat the Cavs a month ago… they’re 6-11 since, have a coach on the hot seat and Rondo just quit on them… It took a 52 point game from Butler to beat a Hornets team the Cavs just destroyed in Charlotte without their starting back court…

JMay
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Does Wade have a no trade clause?

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t think so… but even if he did, he’d waive it in a second to play with Bron again for a championship…

JMay
Member
1 year 6 months ago

So do we have a starting 5 of KI, DW, Bron, Love, TT with JR coming off the bench and Taj, Frye, Jefferson as 7, 8, and 9? Then add some rando vet PG who gets waived at the deadline?

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

Sounds good to me… might even actually just keep Ligs in the starting lineup and let DWade rest his knees/play about 20 mins a night to save him for the playoffs…

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t know that they’d get more than that for Taj… Mostly this came from reading an ESPN Insider piece today on why the Bulls should blow it up and start over again with Butler… FWIW, the Trade Machine is successful if the Bulls wanted to ship DWade to the Cavs for Birdman, Mo Gotti, Orange Julius, Shump and a 2022 pick…

JMay
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Is it bad that I still cringe at getting rid of Shump for Wade? Even with his regression to the mean on his shooting of late?

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

I’ve been more looking at how much better Ligs has been defensively than Shump lately…

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 6 months ago

LONG ROAD TEST IS A HUGE CHALLENGE FOR THE CAVS —SEEING THAT THEY REALLY HAVEN’T DONE A LONG WEST COAST TRIP YET AND THEY HAVE HAD 20 HOME GAMES COMPARED TO 13 AWAY —SO YEAH I CAN LIVE WITH RESTING GUYS —SPEAKING OF RESTING –IS COLS STILL ALIVE ?

JMay
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Saw Cols comment over at FeartheSword the other day… must still be alive. Maybe they indulge him more over there, not really sure.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

Starts with @Brooklyn and @Phoenix tho… Imagine they will have guys resting on the second night of back to back against @Portland following @Utah… and then they get three days off after @Sacramento before the rematch @GS…

TomS
Guest
TomS
1 year 6 months ago

Cavs have a long road trip coming up….resting guys and getting well now is a good idea.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

Wonder if 2KZero will get the start if all of big three are out… Go ultra small with TT, RJ, Lig, McRae and KShrimp…

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 6 months ago

Anyone with point-guard skills: Show up at the Q tonight and you might get in the game!

JMay
Member
1 year 6 months ago

I played PG in my rec league in college… sign me up.

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 6 months ago

Could be a skeleton crew tonight…

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

Rondo is such a dope. Why would any team want him? I can’t think of one squad that would be better with him. He should be out of the league. It’s just shocking how many second chances he’s gotten.

warriorsfan
Guest
warriorsfan
1 year 6 months ago

+1. He should probably be in China like Starbury.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

He’s really good at Connect 4 tho…

John B
Guest
John B
1 year 6 months ago

Was he this much of a head-case in Boston and if so was it only Garnett/Allen/Pierce’s presence that kept him in check? Cannot figure what happened to that dude, other than his shooting finally completely falling off a cliff that it was teetering on for so many years.

Tom Pestak
Admin
1 year 6 months ago

He was a perfect complement to them because they could all shoot and he was free to wreak havoc. His style doesn’t translate to the way teams use point guards now and yeah he’s obviously got a ton of attitude issues.

GreekCavsFan
Guest
GreekCavsFan
1 year 6 months ago

I wouldn’t want Rondo on my Euroleague team. If there was a stat that showed how good you think you are relatively to how good you really are, Rondo would be the league leader for several years by a mile. Team cancer. Stay away.

believeLAND
Guest
believeLAND
1 year 6 months ago

Rondo can’t shoot. Would never work in Cleveland. Plus, he isn’t looking to come off the bench, still thinks he is a starter.

worldbfree
Guest
worldbfree
1 year 6 months ago

There is no “Good Rondo.” There is only Crazy Rondo. “Good Rondo” was Crazy Rondo kept in check by Doc and Garnett. Stay far far away…

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 6 months ago

Rondo and Jordan McRae should play together.

In Europe.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 6 months ago

UNDESTAND JMAY —WAS MORE SARCASM ON MY PART —WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT TEAM MIGHT DO ” THAT RONDO GAMBLE “

JMay
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Haha just making sure. The time leading up to the trade deadline is always exciting. I’m always rooting for teams to mix it up. Also curious to see if Griff can keep up his string of great moves.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 6 months ago

YEAH WOULD DO THAT IN A HEARTBEAT —-BUT PRETTY SURE THAT IS A BIG NO FROM THE BULLS

JMay
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Well, it was pretty facetious of a deal haha Rondo is making like 14 million? So the amount of players we would have to give up just to make the money work would make me most definitely not want to trade for Rondo.

JMay
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Can we get Rondo for Mo straight up? That’s what I’m willing to offer to take him off their hands…

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 6 months ago

GOOD JOB WITH SOME INTERESTING FACTS —NOT ONLY ARE MOST OF OUR CENTRAL DIVISION GAMES BACK / BACK WHICH ALLOWS / INFLUNCES TY TO REST STARTERS ( BUT ALSO THINK IT IS A MENTAL PART TO REST STARTERS VS THESE OPPONENTS —AS NOT TO LOSE TO ANY OF THESE TEAMS AT ” FULL STRENGTH ” GIVING THEM A MENTAL CONFIDENCE )—-ON KSHRIMP –AS LONG AS HE DOESN’T FORCE THE GAME ( BELIEVE HE HAS TO SCORE 30 PTS LIKE I THOMAS ) THINK HE WILL BE FINE ( ALOT OF PEOPLE ARE SAYING / BELIEVE HE IS FURTHER ALONG THAN THOMAS AT HIS STAGE OF HIS CAREER –WE WILL SEE )—ALOT OF TRADE RUMORS / TALK STARTINGTO HEAT UP ——-RONDO IS ONE OF THOSE PLAYERS —BECAUSE OF HIS PHYSICAL SKILLS / GAME THAT WILL ALWAYS INTIGUE YOU TO TAKE A GAMBLE ON —–IF YOU GET THE ” GOOD RONDO ” YOU REALLY HAVE SOMETHING SPECIAL

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