Links to the Present: January 18, 2012

January 18th, 2012 by Colin McGowan

“Now, Cleveland is somehow sitting pretty at 6-7 – tied with the New York Knicks for the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference. Being on the playoff fringe isn’t a great accomplishment in the grand scheme of the league, but the Cavs’ competency is sudden and, on first glance, a bit baffling. Cleveland was able to add two top picks (Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson) in the off-season thanks to some lottery luck, but this is, more or less, the same team that lost 63 games a year ago. Are we really to believe that those rookie additions alone – coupled with Varejao’s return from injury – were enough to right the most depressing team in basketball?” [Rob Mahoney]

“The Cavs had 25 turnovers on the night, part of a sloppy all around performance. Kyrie Irving had 6 of those turnovers, but they included a meaningless turnover after the game was decided, an odd double-dribble turnover, a carrying violation, and 3-second violation.  The turnovers seemed more like Irving was uncomfortable on the court rather than careless.  That can’t be said of every Cavalier in this ball-handling debacle, but it was slightly reassuring that the rookie point guard isn’t getting especially lazy with the ball quite yet.” [Michael Curry]

“In the survey which was conducted prior to a single game being played, 63 percent of the league’s GM’s said Irving, the first-overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, would bring home the Rookie of the Year award with Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio slotting in second with 18.5 percent of the vote. For good measure, when asked which rookie would be the best player in five years, Irving once again led his pack of peers with 51.9 percent of the vote. Rubio, Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas and Minnesota’s Derrick Williams tied for second, each with 11.1 percent of the vote.” [Scott Sargent]