Cavs Pre-Season and News Around The League

Things are starting to get interesting from an NBA standpoint aren’t they? And I’m not talking about some crap made up stories on where Melo’s going – I’m talking actual basketball action on the court. Sure for some teams they’re still scrimmaging, but some teams have begun their pre-season and Tuesday we start our season of “Show the world we’re still relevant” against the Bobcats. Heading into that game the reports stemming from scrimmage were those confirming that, like we thought all along, our Cavs shall be running, running and running some more this season. It also confirmed that we’re particularly short in the middle – something any of us could have told you but there are ways to combat that. When you go through the entire Eastern Conference, can you genuinely name me more than 4 starting centers that’ll eat up Anderson Varejao on a given night? You can’t, because there aren’t four. Now, after Andy we know it’s slim pickings but Hickson has spent time there and Leon Powe I’m sure will be more than happy to get court time. Ryan Hollins is a bit of an unknown entity really, but you can’t teach height and he’s still six fouls to use up, right? I don’t mean to criticise Hollins or anything, it’s just I’d be extremely surprised if he averaged more than 10 minutes a game this season. Do I believe that those kind of minutes are there for him to play? Yes. Do I think he’ll get them? I kinda hope not, I just don’t know if he’s ready.

One of the ways we can combat our shortcomings in the middle is to be extremely long and quick on the perimeter. Stop the ball getting into the paint first time around and it doesn’t matter who’s playing center for us. Obviously when you play against elite point guards in the East they’ll find a way to get it in, at which point we need to incorporate a system that gets us swarming the big fella and making him panic. We’ve got the length, we’ve got the speed and I’m convinced we’ve got the coach to do so.

23 days and counting until we play Boston on opening night, so the eight pre-season games in between must be used to work out every lingering doubt in Coach Scott’s head. Can Boobie play with Ramon in the backcourt? Heck let’s try them against Moscow and see how they fare. Can ‘Tawn guard quick small forwards? Let’s see how he fares against Iguodala when we play Philadelphia. Little things like that need to be ironed, because the last thing we need heading into the season is Coach Scott still not 100% certain of what we can and cannot do. I’m pretty positive us Cavs followers would like answers too, answers we’ll only get with time and patience. Before I leave the subject of the Cavaliers, take a quick look ahead at our first 17 games this season. Personally speaking, I think there are at least 8 of those games that we should be thinking, “Hell yea we can take these guys”. I’m pretty positive the road games against Washington and New Jersey can be had if we fire on all cylinders – but those games are still a bit away yet, for now let’s get a good pre-season down and work from there.

Kobe Bryant has come out and said that he’d beat LeBron one-on-one. That’s what separates him and LeBron – LeBron answered that question in the past by either saying “we’re different players with different styles” or “you know, Kobe’s a great player, I’m sure it would be great to watch”. Just answer the question LeBron, don’t drag it out. For the record, I’d be very interested in knowing who you feel would win one-on-one – you know what to do.

Jamal Crawford is getting rather upset that the Hawks haven’t offered an extension yet. For me, Jamal Crawford is one of two things this season – trade bait at the deadline or a guy on his last legs in Atlanta. He’s not the priority as regards extensions, that honour goes to Al Horford, a guy who actually has a future with the Hawks. Any decent offer of salary relief/picks/young players at the deadline and Crawford is outta there. He’d be ideal on a contender for the second half of the season wouldn’t he? And don’t think for one second that if he were to become available that there wouldn’t be a host of suitors for the prolific scoring guard. The only problem with Crawford is he’s not worth the money he thinks he’s worth at this stage of his career, the sooner he realises that the sooner he’s extended.

Amare Stoudemire scored 32 for the Knicks against Milano – get used to those kinda numbers from STAT this season.

Carmelo Anthony was booed at an MMA event in Denver. Shocking isn’t it? That the people of Denver would boo a guy who refuses to sign an extension, has been mentioned in more trade rumours than David Beckham has hooker scandals and seems rather intent on bolting his home for the past seven years. Shame on you Denver, shame on you.

I’ve solved the mystery of how Carlos Boozer broke his hand during an off day. I found out through some very plugged in sources that he drove upto Salt Lake, and drove yet another knife into the back of the Jazz using such force he actually broke his hand. I’m not lying, I swear.

Whether you like or loathe Charles Barkley, you must admit the guy is as straight shooting as they come. We’ve all heard LeBron say race played a part in his recent criticism, but Barkley has said publicly what we’ve all been thinking – it’s not the case at all. Barkley said that LeBron ‘s been criticised for the “Decision” itself, and then when him, Wade and Bosh came out on stage dancing around, which is true. He then hits the nail on the head by saying “That has nothing to do with race”. Thank you Sir. Charles, you’ve gone on record saying what we all know has been the case, LeBron got criticised for being dumb, egotistical and narcissistic. Colour of skin has nothing to do with it.

Apparently, the LA Clippers offered Chris Kaman to Denver for Carmelo Anthony. I’ll let you dwindle on that for a minute…. Ok, here’s my take on why that’s nowhere good enough for Melo. Kaman is solid, a more than capable bigman in the league, but he’s not exactly fair compensation for Carmelo Anthony. Chris Kaman will get you 18 and 9 on a good night, Melo drops 40. I thought Kirilenko, Favors (who’s going to be phenomenal) and a boatload of draft picks was adequate. I personally feel that anyone thinking of trading for Melo needs to take on an extra deal, possibly JR Smith, but needs to give up more than just the one starter. For instance, Iguodala and Thaddeus Young plus picks, something like that. Chris Kaman isn’t getting it done.

Joakim Noah for five years at $55 million dollars. Does that make the Varejao deal acceptable now? No? Damn…

Contact me at dol-17@hotmail.com for the Stepien Rules mailbag, Twitter @DOL17 or Facebook.

 

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