Joel Embiid: From Cameroon to Number One Pick

June 11th, 2014 by David Wood

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Joel Embiid is a freak physically who had decent stats in college.  His freshman year matches up pretty well with Tim Duncan’s freshman year.  Those are just numbers though.  There have been plenty of busts that had wonderful college box scores and amazing bodies.  What is important is what actual skills Embiid has that can be seen, not just measured.  So, I deal with the numbers and what is being witnessed separately.  Luckily for Joel, he appears legitimate when you read his box scores and witness him play.

In the Raw

Joel Embiid is a 7’0,” 240 pounds and sports a 7’5” wing span.  Embiid grew up in Cameroon playing soccer and volleyball. He’s only twenty years old and has been playing basketball since 2011.  His path to America through basketball is unique, but his path to actually playing basketball was the same as most people his height.  He was pulled to a basketball camp just because of the chance he may become good.

The camp was led by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and the NBA player immediately saw that Embiid had amazing moves for someone who had never played organized basketball.  Mbah a Moute eventually talked Embiid’s father into sending him to the Montverde Academy in Flordia to play basketball.  However, Embiid didn’t see playing time during his junior year, so he transferred to the Rock School, also in Florida.  Mbah a Moute called the Rock school on Embiid’s behalf to get him a spot on the team.

Kansas assistant coach and former Florida native, Norm Roberts, brought the big kid to the attention of Kansas head coach, Bill Self.  Self watched Embiid practice and concluded he could be a dominant force and a future number one pick.

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Thoughts on the Cavs Coaching Search

June 10th, 2014 by Nate Smith

I was all set to write a scathing criticism of the Cavs coaching search, tonight. So far the search has been filled with mediocre candidates, a failed run at John Calipari, and the conspicuous snub of the 2013 coach of the year. Sensing this, Dan Gilbert and David Griffin decided to preempt my scathe-a-thon by making the one move that would totally redeem them…

They’re interviewing Mark Price on Tuesday.

I’m as excited as Anderson Varejao in a salon full of hair care products.

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International Men of Mystery; Part Deux

June 9th, 2014 by Ben Werth

As evidenced by the seven International players on the Spurs, it is clearly a good idea to look outside of the good ole’ USA to find basketball talent. In part 2 of the “International Men of Mystery” we will check out a couple teenagers whose birth certificates require verification, and a player whom the Cavs clearly like in Damjan Rudez (who is reportedly meeting with the Cavs, today).

Related news: The Cavs are looking at David Blatt for the head coaching job. The American born coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv would bring an understanding of the International game to Cleveland. He coached the Russian National Team to a Bronze medal in 2012. It would be an intriguing hire.

As always, I have a set of scouting questions that help to discern whether a player’s skill-set will translate well to the NBA’s basketball culture.

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Links to the Present: Hot Edition

June 6th, 2014 by David Wood

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The biggest news of the past day has to be LeBron James cramping up during the first game of the Finals because the air conditioning wasn’t working at the Spurs’ arena.  That led to Bud Shaw figuring out how we can get Mr. James back to Cleveland.  Hire Mr. Freeze.

Not to say the Cavs are desperate to land James, but no doubt they’d consider hiring Albert Belle as their thermostat control expert if that’s what it took.

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The Point Four-Ward: NBA Finals Edition

June 5th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

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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.

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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.

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Links to the Present: Not Really Cavs Edition

June 4th, 2014 by David Wood

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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.

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Links to the Present: The Onion Edition

June 3rd, 2014 by David Wood

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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.

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Links to the Present: Reality Edition

June 2nd, 2014 by David Wood

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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:

 

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Choose Your Own Adventure: You Are David Griffin!

May 30th, 2014 by David Wood

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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.

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