The Point Four-Ward: NBA Finals Edition

June 5th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

1370388867000-XXX-74629005-1306041935_x-large

Four things I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Over the years, the NBA Finals have produced only a handful of memorable player v. player rivalries. The playoffs have had their share, but try to name the real iconic head-to-head match-ups in the Finals. Can’t think of many, can you? Magic and Bird, obviously. Wilt and Bill Russell. What else? Michael Jordan and Bryon Russell? No, maybe not.

Generally, the feuding and chippiness that makes us love the playoffs is more often reserved for the Conference rounds, where teams (like Miami and Indiana recently) can meet repeatedly over several years fielding similar rosters and let Player X draw a big red circle around Player Y and go after him with each player’s legacy firmly at stake.

But there is just such a match-up in this year’s Finals, as Tim Duncan and LeBron James will be facing each other in the Finals for the third time in their careers.

Read the rest of this entry »

5 on 5: the NBA Finals and the Off-Season Conundrums

June 4th, 2014 by Nate Smith

Cleveland enters it’s most important off-season since 2009. The team has a litany of questions, story-lines, and unknowns… AND the NBA Finals are in the offing. With so much to talk about, we took it to our panel of bloggers to answer some important questions.

1.Who’s your pick for the finals? How many games? What’s going to be the biggest factor?

Ben Werth: Spurs in seven. We could rightfully go into great depth about the Spurs increased athleticism and lineup flexibility. We would be wise to consider Boris Diaw’s uncanny ability to check LeBron. We certainly should marvel at Kawhi Leonard’s destructive on-ball defense and growing offensive aggression.  But I must pick the Spurs because they swing the rock. There are games where we have seen them look old and baffled by suffocating length and blitzing defense. Those games are usually followed by basketball poetry. Even when Parker is dribbling for much of the clock, the other players are constantly moving to the appropriate new spot in their system. It is floor balance at its finest. The Spurs had the better team last year and lost to a great set of individual performances by Heat players. This year, the Spurs are fresher, even smarter, and playing a Heat team that has a false sense of Eastern Conference security. The shock the Heat will have after playing the ball-sticking Pacers will be severe. I must note that I have yet to predict the Heat to win the Finals. I’m look forward to evening my record to 2-2.

Read the rest of this entry »

Links to the Present: Not Really Cavs Edition

June 4th, 2014 by David Wood

chadford052410-thumb-320x240-12465

The news surrounding the Cavs right now is sparse.  Chad Ford is saying very obvious things about the draft for the team: “First, team doctors are going to have to get comfortable with Embiid’s back. If there is any hint it might require more treatment or long-term correction, the chances of Embiid going No. 1 dwindle.”  No new crazy trades or scenarios are being proposed aside from the ones trying to get Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Kevin Love, or LaMarcus Aldridge to the Cavs.  Everyone wants those guys.

Read the rest of this entry »

Links to the Present: The Onion Edition

June 3rd, 2014 by David Wood

ku_bkc_georgetown_14_t960

Draft day is quickly approaching, and no one knows whether or not Joel Embiid is who the Cavs should take at number one.  I think he’s going to move past the injuries as he gets into better basketball shape, but a lot of people don’t agree he’ll avoid injuries like Anthony Bennett avoids cardio workouts.

Over at lostlettermen.com, there’s a piece up about Embiid’s potential to be a bust.  It comes complete with the video of Embiid injuring his back and almost blowing out his knee.  It’s scary, but I won’t succumb to the negativeness.

 As pointed out by Deadspin, Embiid’s body simply wasn’t ready for college basketball after just two previous years playing hoops. And if Embiid’s frame couldn’t handle playing 28 games in college hoops at 20 minutes a night, how in the world can the Cavaliers expect it to withstand the physical pounding of the NBA 35 minutes a night, 82 games a season for 15 years?

They can just manage his minutes, right? And if Embiid is a medical liability, it’s only going to make the Cavs medical staff that much better according to The Onion.

FL83674 “He’s the nucleus. When you’ve got an athlete like that, you put your medical personnel in place to do great things. Sure, [2013 draft pick] Anthony Bennett led to us getting an expert orthopedist, but having Joel on our roster will allow us to put in place a solid team of medical professionals who will thrive here for years to come.”

The Cavs will now have back issues, knee issues, and asthma issues covered by their medical staff.  See you soon, Amare. My aunt has been using the Cleveland Clinic for years for her eye issues and is very satisfied, so Amare will be covered in Cleveland if he gets hurt in any way.

Read the rest of this entry »

Links to the Present: Reality Edition

June 2nd, 2014 by David Wood

12533119-standard

Kirk over at Waitingfornextyear.com has a great piece up right now about the Cavs choices in the draft and potential coaching candidates.  This part really resonated:

This draft has been too highly regarded compared against those of the last four years. The team control and cost-friendly contract is too much of a favorable situation. The potential for doing the rebuild the right way with more than one legitimate All-Star is too much to sacrifice. There are two pieces that are quite untouchable on this team now: Kyrie Irving and the No. 1 pick in this draft.

There is no legitimate reason to think Irving or the number one is being traded even if this is being tweeted:

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Choose Your Own Adventure: You Are David Griffin!

May 30th, 2014 by David Wood

125654

In elementary school, my favorite books were the “choose your own adventure” ones.  I enjoyed being able to exercise limited creativity by picking the end of my Goosebumps book.  Just going through the door on the right could land you in a locked room with some creepy dolls moving slowly towards you to hold your hand.  Ringing the doorbell to the door on your left could lead you to tea with an older woman that needs friendship.  I’m not sure what’s worse.

Getting the top pick has set up the Cavs with a wonderful “choose your own adventure” situation.  The team has the opportunity to take the Jabari Parker path, the Joel Embiid path, or the Andrew Wiggins path.  Each one leads to a new room: some rooms are dark and dreary filled with first round playoff exits, others are bright from the shining gold of Larry O’Brien trophies.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Point Four-ward: Four Things I’m Thinking About the Cleveland Cavaliers

May 29th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

luke-walton

1.) An interesting name popped up amidst the New York Knicks current coaching search: Luke Walton. Walton, the former Laker and Cavalier, has never been more than tangentially connected to the top spot on the Knicks’ bench and his name was floated mostly in the same way that anyone who has a previous working relationship with Phil Jackson has been linked to the job at some point post-Steve Kerr pursuit (and, yes, it is too bad that Shaquille O’Neal is part owner of the Kings now taking that tasty morsel off the rumor rotisserie). But Luke Walton as a head coach is not as crazy as it might sound.

Anyone who watched Walton and Shaun Livingston run a fluid, efficient second unit offense for the Cavaliers in 2012-13 could tell just how much the game is in his bones. Walton has had the benefit of growing up around the pro game and then learning under two of the better coaches around: Lute Olson at the University of Arizona and Phil Jackson in Los Angeles (sorry, Byron Scott… we’re leaving you off this particular list). During the NBA lockout of 2011-12, Walton spent his extra dose of free time by joining former AU assistant coach Josh Pastner’s staff at the University of Memphis. Then following the conclusion of his playing career, Walton was named player development coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Sport, Two Continents, and the International Men of Mystery

May 27th, 2014 by Ben Werth

Editors Note: Please welcome new Staff Writer, and CtB European correspondent, Ben Werth.

I yell out “Check up top.” General dillydallying continues, and I yell again.  “BALL UP TOP.”  Okay, maybe something is lost in translation.  I try a different tactic.  “Der Ball ganz oben, bitte?”  That combined with the well known International Sign of “putting my hands out to receive a pass” have the desired effect.  I’m pretty sure my whack literal translation was not what yielded the ball.

“What do you guys usually play?  12 win by two, or 21 straight?  All ones?”  I generally detest playing with ones and twos in pickup ball.  The NBA short corner three is ridiculously inefficient compared to that two for one advantage.  Good thing most normal people can’t shoot.

“Okay!” says one lithe baller.

“Okay, what?  Bis zwölf, oder was?”  Have I been talking to myself?

Read the rest of this entry »

Mega Links to the Present: Memorial Day Madness

May 26th, 2014 by Nate Smith

Welcome to a special Memorial Day links edition of CtB.  We’ve a lot to get to. First off, let’s thank our service members whose sacrifices we are eternally grateful for. Second, we still have no idea who the Cavs are drafting. I’ve seen mock drafts with each of the three wunderkinds going first. This collection of mock drafts from Cavs.com has six sites picking Wiggins, three picking Embiid, and two picking Parker. And I’ve heard more than a little talk about the pick being moved. We may not know anything till June 26th.

Draft Madness

Joel Embiid:

First off, Trevor Magnotti from Right Down Euclid breaks down the medical details about Joel Embiid’s back injury. After a lot of fascinating technical details, he comes to an optimistic conclusion.

Read the rest of this entry »

#WellActually You’re Wrong to be Outraged about the Lottery

May 23rd, 2014 by Tom Pestak
you-can-catch-more-flies-with-honey-than-with-vinegar-well-actually-a-study-showed-that-the-vinegar-gets-more

I promise to pen only one rant-post a season.

Let me start by saying I currently have two enormous pet peeves frequently generated by journalists/pundits.  The first is the use of the word “nuance” or “nuanced” which is code for “I am enlightened and/or reasonable enough to understand that the world isn’t black and white, there are “shades of gray” and therefore my “nuanced” discussion or analysis is superior to your opinions, which are essentially Neanderthal grunting”.

This thinly-veiled hubris is insufferable, and the phrase du jour has permeated every sector and level of journalism.  It’s one thing when the almond-milk drinkers at The Atlantic are using it; it’s another when sportswriters writing about…well sports, revert to it over and over and over.  Can we go back to talking like characters from “da Bears” sketches already?  It’s just as intelligent, only without the overwhelming smugness.

Read the rest of this entry »