Mailing it in: Amateur GM Edition

June 22nd, 2015 by Nate Smith


We’ve been a little lax on NBA draft coverage this year at Cavs: the Blog. We’re on the outside looking in, after drafting at the top of the lottery the last four years, and with the Cavs playing till just last week, none of us have had time to do the proper scouting and evaluation. In addition, more than a couple of our staffers think there’s no way a 24th draft pick is even going to play for the Cavs next year. But here we are, in one of the NBA’s best times of the year, a time when hopes for every franchise renew. We don’t want to give it short shrift, either. That’s where you come in.

If you’re interested in participating in the CtB Mock draft that will be taking place this week, please email me at To participate, you’ll need to be able to respond to emails in a timely manner. You’ll also need to profile a player or three with a paragraph full of insight and wit as we go through the mock draft. If you can’t participate, please use the comment section to tell us all about the player(s) you like in this draft, and a plausible scenario for them ending up on the Cavs. Also, if the player you love is so earth shatteringly awesome, you just have to tell us about them, even if they won’t end up on the Cavs, well, that’s ok, too. Any sane draft day trade scenarios are welcome, *but remember, sign-and-trades can’t happen until free agency starts, so table those till next week. Happy drafting, and go Cavs.

*Correction: as the Cavs are above the tax apron with their current cap holds, they cannot receive any players in a sign and trade scenario. As Jacob Rosen at WFNY explained in his piece on Dwyane Wade scenarios, there are almost no ways for the Cavs to get under the tax apron to be able sign and trade. My apologies on the error. I’ve been under a mistaken assumption for over a week. The CBA is not self evident.

The Road Forward

June 19th, 2015 by Nate Smith


Alright so let’s talk offseason moves. Questions by Tom Pestak, answers by me.

If I had to choose between J.R. and Shump I’d go Shump. J.R. is basically a moderately efficient spot-up shooter at this point. With a sprinkling of cross-over stepbacks and 20 point games. But assuming a healthy Irving and Love, spot up 3 point shooting isn’t as critical as stout perimeter D. Nate?

J.R and Shump are fine. Each can play three spots in the Cavs’ system. But Cleveland will still need more wings. J.R. will opt out and command between $6 and $7 million per on a three year deal, with the standard non-fully guaranteed last year. Shump will be the last major guy the Cavs deal with in free agency, unless someone else signs him to an offer sheet, first. I imagine he and J.R. will get around the same sized deals. Shump could get a four year if he wanted, or maybe three year with an opt out.

If the Cavs finally break the curse, will Windhorst have to apologize for his podcast rant last season about how “Gilbert thinks he can buy success?”

Gilbert can buy success this year. The question is, will he? That’s the quarter billion dollar question. If he can get it done for under $200 million, Dan will hold his nose and pay. He’ll also reverse course on the luxury tax system in 2007. Remember, Mr. Gilbert is one of the main guys that wanted this system that, it turns out it, just punishes the competitiveness of small market teams. I bet there’s a lot of ruing going on in the offices of the Q, because the number could be higher than a quarter billion. Read the rest of this entry »

The Point Four-ward: Can He Build It?

June 18th, 2015 by Robert Attenweiler


Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers following their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors in six games…

1.) As a sports fan, I always dread the morning after a loss. The loss, when it is happening and immediately after, is usually a familiar cloud of disappointment and pizza and nostalgia and beer. Therefore, any real pulse-checking on how truly bad a particular loss is going to feel long term often has to wait until the page has turned and I’m faced with a bright new day.

Waking up on (an unfortunately bright) Wednesday, though, my feeling was the feeling of most Cavs fans — if Twitter is to be believed, anyway (and why should it not?): I just don’t feel too bad after this loss.

This Cavs team has been so much fun to watch — well, since the end of January, anyway — and, really, the Warriors were just too good and too deep to expect a team smarting from missing two of their top three scorers to pull off the seemingly impossible. Sometimes, after all, the seemingly impossible seems impossible because it’s pretty damn near impossible. But, man, how the Cavs fought to make us believe otherwise — that it was possible…. that it was going to happen this year… that it was the Cavs turn at destiny.

Read the rest of this entry »

Finals Game 6 Recap: Warriors 105, Cavs 97 (or, The End… Yet Only The Beginning…)

June 17th, 2015 by EvilGenius

Endings are difficult. No matter how prepared you think you are for them, the emotions can be a challenge to process once the clock hits zero and the reality settles in. It’s hard to come so near a goal, but to ultimately fall short no matter how hard you tried. In the end, sometimes no matter how much grit, determination, perseverance or sheer will you possess can overcome the odds when they are stacked well against you.

None of us can truly understand what LeBron James and the rest of his Cavalier teammates are feeling right now, but we can certainly take LeBron’s word for it and empathize…

“There’s not much you can say really. It’s really no great feeling when you lose,” said LeBron. “When you fall short, it hurts and it eats at you, and it hurts me to know that I wish I could have done better and done more and just put a little bit more effort or whatever the case may be to help us get over the hump. But it just wasn’t our time.”

And so it was that the Cavs fell just shy of achieving their goal of winning the first championship in franchise history (and the first championship of any kind for the City of Cleveland since 1964), losing in Game 6 to a deeper, healthier and (as a result) more talented Warriors squad. Yet, despite bad luck, injuries, and fatigue, they still made an incredible run at the title, going down swinging as best they could, a run that bodes well for the immediate future of this team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Final Finals QuickHit: Warriors 105, Cavs 97

June 17th, 2015 by EvilGenius

Though the Cavs season ended with a disappointing loss to the 2015 Champion Golden State Warriors, in the coming days, the sting should be lessened when we all take some time to reflect and recognize just how amazing this Cleveland playoff run ultimately was.

In the end, early turnovers, missed free throws and a tough shooting night contributed to put the Cavs in a hole they struggled to dig themselves out of. These elements, combined with the mounting fatigue of playing such a short rotation of able bodies, brought the Cavs up two games short of their first title.

They fought until the bitter end, but ultimately just ran out of gas, while the Warriors just couldn’t seem to miss on their big threes when they had to make them. The difference maker, once again, turned out to be Andre Iguodala, who rightfully earned the Finals MVP trophy. LeBron would have also had to be a strong candidate (even in the loss), after putting up ungodly averages of 36/13/9 (including 32/18/9 in Game 6). But to the winners usually goes the MVP, and Iggy was a huge factor on offense and also with his defense on LeBron.

In the NBA the future is severely unpredictable.  On one hand, if you add two current All-Stars to a team that just won two games in the Finals, the future is, almost by definition, blindingly bright.  But we are acutely aware that injuries, bad luck, match-ups, Murphy’s law, really anything can happen.  One thing I believe we can count on in the coming years, the Cavs are going to go DEEP into the luxury tax, and Dan Gilbert will gladly fit the bill.  Also, G5 LeBron with that small-ball lineup was pretty dominant on the low block.  Keep an eye out.

Look for a full recap in the coming hours…


The Finals: Game 6 Preview/Live Thread

June 16th, 2015 by EvilGenius

Protect this house!

Regardless of outcome, tonight will be the last game of the NBA season played at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt one last valiant home stand in front of more than 20,000 of their loudest fans, in the hopes of securing one more trip out west to settle things for good.

A season that began one memorable night in late October at the Q with Game 1 of the regular season, now reaches an amazing climax 50 home games later with a penultimate Game 6. Despite season-ending injuries to three of the starters from that October opening night, this team has made a playoff push for the ages. They have rejected excuses, embraced the grind, committed themselves to being All-In, and are within two victories of pulling off possibly the most improbable championship run of all time.

The onus has fallen squarely on the shoulders of LeBron James, and he has stalwartly accepted the challenge to lead this band of bench players, castoffs and overachievers into battle for five hard fought contests. And now, in perhaps the toughest task to date, he must draw the proverbial line in the sand and use every ounce of will to refuse to allow the Warriors to celebrate a championship of their own on the hardwood in the heart of Cleveland.

Read the rest of this entry »

3-on-3: Grind or Go Home Edition

June 16th, 2015 by David Wood


1. What is the most important adjustment for the Cavs to make going into a must win game six?

Tom Pestak: They need to have enough energy to finish the game. The Cavs played well again for three quarters and fizzled out in the 4th. Each time fatigue has been an issue. There are no solutions, just compromises. I think the Cavs need to abandon matching the Warriors’ small-ball-at-all-costs and let Mozgov get in a groove. Just as LeBron was unstoppable in the deep post, Mozgov will manufacture many high-percentage looks too. The key will be having someone cutting hard off ball when Golden State counters with the double teams. He’s the most fresh of the rotation players. They might as well play Mike Miller some more too, since the Cavs didn’t get obliterated with him on the court in game 5. The Cavs should also go to hack an Iggy periodically to 1.) get rest, 2.) stay ahead of the 3-point avalanches. Really, they need to remain mentally focused for 48 minutes. They can’t overreact to a contested Barbosa 3 here or a few Iggy 3s there. When it comes to the scouting report, “stay on target”. Read the rest of this entry »

Talking Cavs with Mark Neal

June 15th, 2015 by Tom Pestak

The Cavs’ margin for error is razor thin.  Are they exhausted or just getting beat?  Steve Kerr’s new strategy.  Why won’t David Blatt go deeper into his bench?  Small Ball the new normal?  More Kendrick Perkins talk then you could possibly fathom at this point in the season.  Does LeBron deserve the MVP?

Mark and I discuss these topics and more on today’s Dayton Sports Scene.

What are your thoughts?  I’m admittedly a bit salty about the series right now but the Cavs should be commended for making this so entertaining.  One thing I’ve found interesting is the amount of hate Cavs fans suddenly have for Steph Curry.  I’ll admit my gut instinct is to dislike the guy but the longer I think about him and the idea of Steph Curry I calm down and almost force myself to get over my emotions.  But I have a few friends on facebook that are fantasizing about doing some violent things to that mouthguard.  How are you feeling about the baby-faced bobblehead right now?

Finals Game 5 Recap: Golden State 104, Cleveland 91 (or, Maybe Save Something for the Swim Back?)

June 15th, 2015 by Nate Smith

AP Photo/Ben Margot

In a fantastically contested game, the Cavs hung with the Warriors for 43 minutes, until two straight Andre Iguodala threes gave the Warriors a seven-point lead. Steph Curry then destroyed the Cavs’ chances with a dancing, playground style, three-pointer and then a layup to put the Dubs up ten. LeBron tried valiantly to bring the Cavs back with a 27-footer, followed by a successful Hack-guodala strategy, but Matthew Dellavedova missed a three that would have cut it to five at 1:39. Then, Steph Curry slung an ice dagger at the net from 29 feet, and routed the armies of the North Coast.

The other lousy bookend to this game, the first five minutes, looked like a plate full of baby puke as the Cavs had only a Delly junkball deuce and five turnovers on their tray. But Cleveland went small, relegating Timofey Mozgov to the bench, and ran with the Dubs till late in the fourth to the tune of 20 lead changes and 10 ties. Cleveland just turned the ball over five more times the rest of the game, but the 11 offensive rebounds surrendered to Golden State were the difference as much as Curry’s shooting.

Read the rest of this entry »

NBA Finals Game 5 Quick Hit: Warriors 104, Cavs 91

June 14th, 2015 by Robert Attenweiler


LeBron James notched another triple double with 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough to get the Cavaliers a win in Oakland. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 37 points on 7-13 shooting from three and the Warriors pulled away from the Cavaliers late on their way to a 104-91 win and a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven series.

The Cavs followed the Warriors lead by going small for much of the game. One game after scoring a career high 28 points, Timofey Mozgov played just over nine minutes of Game 5, posting goose eggs on all positive stats. James attacked the basket relentlessly and was much more efficient than in Game 4 where he went 7-22 for 20 points. He finished his second triple double of this Finals series going 15-35 from the field and 7-9 from the line. James even dropped in three triples (in eight attempts).

J.R. Smith had a strong first half, but disappeared in the second finishing with 14 points on 5-15 from the field. Tristan Thompson finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but posted a team-worst +/- of -22 as the Cavs couldn’t hit their big shots late.

Golden State did. Curry was helped by 14 points from Andre Iguodala and a surprising 13 points off the bench by reserve guard Leandro Barbosa.

The Cavs will look to stave off elimination in Game 6 Tuesday night back in Cleveland.

Check back soon for Nate’s full recap.