Random Thoughts

With the Cavaliers in the midst of training camp and the regular season just a few weeks away, here are a few random thoughts that have occurred to me.

—It doesn’t look like David Nwaba is part of the rotation right now, and that is going to upset a lot of people who follow the team closely. An athletic player who works hard at both ends of the floor, Nwaba brings the kind of energy Cavalier fans have been craving over the past few regular seasons. Many will be surprised if he doesn’t play a significant role for the Cavs. The question is, should he?

—Despite the loss of LeBron James, minutes could be hard to come by on the wing for Nwaba. Cedi Osman is penciled in as the starter at small forward, and the team is hoping that he’s a core piece. Rodney Hood will likely start at shooting guard. Meanwhile, Kyle Korver will likely be the first wing off the bench, and deservedly so. The Cavs seem intrigued by Sam Dekker as their backup power forward in small-ball lineups, and that isn’t really Nwaba’s position anyways.

—That leaves Jordan Clarkson, who looks like he’ll come off the bench at shooting guard alongside Collin Sexton. While it seems logical to have a defense-first player like Nwaba on the court with Sexton and Korver, Tyronn Lue seems to think that Clarkson’s ability to handle the ball and score could help protect Sexton as the rookie adjusts to the NBA. Clarkson has been one of the better bench scorers in the league over the past few seasons, but you also don’t want to see him take the ball out of Sexton’s hands too much. Still, Sexton and George Hill can’t be the only creators on the floor. At least one of Clarkson or Hood needs to play. I’d personally prefer that Hood starts at shooting guard and Nwaba comes off the bench ahead of Clarkson, but I can see the logic to Lue’s thinking. It will be hard to play Nwaba over these guys and still generate enough points to win.

—In general, Nwaba betting on himself with a one-year minimum deal with the Cavs was an odd finale to an odd free agent saga. It’s a bit surprising that he couldn’t get more than the veteran’s minimum from some team, although not a complete shock considering the lack of spending in free agency this summer. It’s also odd that he thought a lot of playing time would be available on a Cavs team that has a bit more wing depth than most realize. Plus, it’s not like he’ll be able to just go wherever he wants next summer. He’ll still be a restricted free agent next summer since he’ll have just three seasons of experience, meaning the Cavaliers control his future with this team. Maybe he figures that the team will trade some of its veteran wings, allowing him to showcase his talents with more playing time, and earn a larger deal.

—Hood is a player with a lot of flaws. He’s a poor defender, doesn’t rebound much, and doesn’t really create for others. He also doesn’t get to the line as much as one would expect for a player with a 22.2% career usage rate, which pulls down his overall scoring efficiency. In many ways, he’s a less athletic version of Andrew Wiggins. He puts up a decent amount of points, but it’s hard to say that he helps his team win. Hood’s disastrous playoff run last season doesn’t help his case either. Still,  there are two things that he does do well, shoot threes and create his own shot. Hood’s a career 36.9% shooter from three on over five attempts per game. He uses his size to shoot over the opposition from both mid-range and beyond, and has shown that he can run well in transition. On a Cavaliers team that is going to struggle to score on some nights, Hood’s shot creation looks like it could be a decent fit on the perimeter alongside the heady play of George Hill and Cedi Osman.

—There’s no doubt that last season was a disaster for Hood. He ranked 93rd in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus among shooting guards alone. Nevertheless, he could be a bounce-back candidate. In the first three years of his career, Hood ranked 23rd, 10th, and 25th among shooting guards in RPM. He’s certainly young enough that it’s possible he could return to the level of legitimate starter by that metric. Whether or not he actually does so remains to be seen.

—JR Smith doesn’t seem like a bounce-back candidate, at least with the Cavaliers. To his credit, Smith has come into camp in great shape—his weight loss is evident—and seems extremely committed to being a great example to the younger players. That’s all well and good, but there just doesn’t seem to be a place for Smith in the team’s rotation. Considering how Smith went into a several week funk when he lost his starting spot to Dwyane Wade last season, it’s hard to see him dealing well with playing behind Osman, Hood, and Clarkson. Smith is also in a dispute with the league office over whether or not he should have to cover he should have to cover his new SUPREME tattoo. While Smith has a valid point—plenty of players walk around with tattoos that are insignias for other businesses—it’s doubtful the Cavaliers will want to deal with the distraction this issue could cause. Considering that Smith is only guaranteed $3.87 million next season, he seems likely to be moved to a team looking to clear up cap space for next summer. It wouldn’t shock me if that move happened sooner rather than later.

—The rumored starting lineup of Hill, Hood, Osman, Love, and Nance/Thompson does have a nice feel to it in terms of all-around fit. There’s a nice blend of heady passers, shot creators, outside shooting, and rebounding. There’s also a lack of athleticism that is cause for concern, particularly on the defensive end, but there’s a balance to the lineup that at lot of teams, particularly in the Eastern Conference, just don’t have.

—Long shot prediction time. If the Cavaliers struggle, Tyronn Lue will be fired and replaced next offseason by… Tom Thibodeau. Dan Gilbert has long been an admirer of Thibs, and it sounds like he is not long for the Timberwolves.

—The Cavaliers make their preseason debut tonight against Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics. Regardless of the outcome and the game not counting, it will be interesting to see the beginning of the post-LeBron years.

 

 

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Jason
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Jason
19 days 19 hours ago

Thibs is worse than Lue. He would play the vets till they run into the ground.

EvilGenius
Admin
20 days 19 hours ago

The first Live Thread of the new season (pre-season) is up…

JOHN B
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JOHN B
20 days 21 hours ago

Hope not on Thibs prediction. Agree with posters below in that he is sort of going the way of jvg. Stuck in another era. Would likely be a great defensive assistant, but I don’t think I would want him as a head coach anymore.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
21 days 3 minutes ago

don’t see a problem with “zz” in transition defense —he will make up for any lack of speed with ALL OUT HUSTLE ——-where most of the time last year is when teams scored on us— ( not hustling back )—–bet you in baseline to baseline race he is almost even with T.T.

JRL
Guest
JRL
21 days 3 minutes ago

I know it’s only a summer league game but skip to the 52sec mark and see Zz do what TT wishes he could do. Great highlights from a very agile center.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
21 days 2 hours ago

JRL—totally agree with ‘ANTE-ZZ”—even said this last year —-is light years more skilled than T.T. will ever be or dream of being —-and is what only 20yrs old —-give this kid solid minutes —future is with him—-NOT T.T.!!——let T.T. SHINE in the minutes he plays —make him easier to trade

JRL
Guest
JRL
21 days 1 hour ago

Yup, me and you both. When Coach Drew had Zz playing I (we) could all see he had the smarts to play solid basketball. Kids a good center at only 21yo.

It was also obvious he and Cedi were head and shoulders above the summer leaguers. His playing style will/should translate really well with Love at the 4 pulling the defense out to the 3pt line and our young kamikazes in Cedi and Sexton attacking the basket.

I would like to see a lineup of
Sexton
KK
Cedi
Love
Zz

This would be an entertaining one.

Treize Khushrenada
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Treize Khushrenada
21 days 29 minutes ago

On offense this would be a lot of fun to watch, but I have some concerns about how quick three of those guys can get back on defense in transition and against uptempo offenses.

JRL
Guest
JRL
21 days 10 minutes ago

I would only be concerned with Love and Zz. The other 3 are quick/athletic enough to get back on D.

JRL
Guest
JRL
21 days 7 minutes ago

And I think Zz is good enough to get back on D against 75% of the centers in the league.

JRL
Guest
JRL
21 days 2 hours ago

I hope never to see Thibs on the Cavs’ sidelines. He’s a “has been” coach from a different era. His style no longer resonates.

I also hope Lue turns out to be a good coach. He hasn’t shown me anything to believe that though. I guess we’re all witnesses…

I think we have a solid young core which can be a fun team to watch. Add a nice dose of veterans and we have the makings of a entertaining season. My only wish is for the guys who should get time to get it, meaning Cedi, Sexton, Zz and Nance.

We can’t forget about Zz, he’s better than Thompson and has a way higher ceiling. I fear Thompson will play over Zz due to his bloated contract. Arghhh…

JOHN B
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JOHN B
20 days 21 hours ago

Thibs defensive schemes and ability to get the most out of his players were impressive in Chicago. In many ways his Chicago teams were at the forefront of more complex and precisely executed defenses during the mid 2000s. With the advent of switch everything defenses, those schemes aren’t as relevant.

More importantly, his offense is from another era. He was never very creative on that end, even in Chicago.

JoeyB
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JoeyB
21 days 2 hours ago

Thibs would be terrible. Is terrible. I’d rather have Lue, as much as Lue drives me insane.

JRL
Guest
JRL
21 days 1 hour ago

I still can’t believe Minnesota hired him after his Chicago days. They had a young core of players and decided that Thibs was the best suited to turn them into a contender. Complete joke.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
20 days 21 hours ago

They probably thought he could turn Wiggins and Towns into great defenders. They have all the potential on that end, but both seemingly could care less about that end, even under Thibs.

Blip
Guest
Blip
21 days 33 minutes ago

Many thoughts Thibs was a good hire at the time. Lue and Thibs are horrible in their own ways. Thibs, however, is actually somewhat of a destructive force, whereas Lue is just incompetent (relatively speaking).

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
21 days 5 hours ago

a lot to digest there ——think eventually Nwaba’s athleticism / defensive tenacity will surface to more minutes / rotation ——hoping we get ” UTAH HOOD ” back ——–think J.R. is more ready to accept NOT STARTING on this years team vs last years —-( just think he felt wade started because he was LeBron’s buddy—put him into a funk )—–yes think Ty is under the microscope—will see if he can really coach / develop players or not —–at one time I was a Thibbs fan—not so much anymore—just seems like todays players do not want to play for him and his ego doesn’t get along with upper mgt

JRL
Guest
JRL
21 days 3 hours ago

I think you’re right Nomad, JR was upset about LeBron’s bit getting his starting job.

I think JR will be okay with playing off the bench. I’m sure he understands how much he messed up last season and will be willing to turn it around any which way.

JRL
Guest
JRL
21 days 2 hours ago

*boy

Slammin Sam
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Slammin Sam
21 days 6 hours ago

Nice, sober analysis. I think it’s just occurring to me, do the Cavs really only have Love and Dekker at PF? There’s a better than even chance Love will be their only playable PF.

Slammin Sam
Guest
Slammin Sam
21 days 6 hours ago

Forgetting about Channing Frye, please disregard!

MikeO
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MikeO
21 days 6 hours ago

This was great Mike. Boy, I would not be a fan of your ‘long shot’ I am not high on Thibs at all…plenty of guys I would look at over him, if Lue were to go at some point.

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