Breaking Down The Cavs

Pretty sure all you Cavs fans out there read ESPN’s 5-on-5 analysis of our team, hopes and ambitions for the upcoming “NBA Season”. The article was originally published on the 26th of August, I had intended to post my response on the 27th of August but here’s why that never happened:

27th August – It’s a Saturday, Saurdays are spent by me watching football - that’s soccer for you guys in America. I rarely spend a Saturday at home, let alone on my laptop typing up a blog that nobody (bar you, loyal reader) cares about.

28th August – Was spent in my local pub - that’s bar for you guys in America – watching my beloved Man United trounce Arsenal 8-2 in a 90-minute spectacle that was so awesome (first time I’ve whipped out that word this “season” in a blog) it left me dumbfounded, ecstatic and very, very drunk.

29th August – 5th September – My Kids football (soccer) teams respective seasons began, my girls football team’s season came to a heartbreaking end – beaten on penalties in our cup final – and I worked a little bit, so no time was really free to dedicate the time required to react to ESPN’s summary of the Cavs.

I’m sure Brendan is thrilled with my dedication to Stepien Rules, so this might just be my last blog as I expect my marching orders via email in around an hours time. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted eh? For those of you still reading this, here’s my take on what the experts had to say on the five questions they were asked.

Question One – Who should start at PG for the Cavs?

This is quite simple for me, it’s gotta be Kyrie – that’s also the first line of my being-composed-soon-to-be-available-on-iTunes Cavs rap song. Reason why I would start Irving over Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions is easy – he’s the future. He’s our guy for the next decade, so why not hand him the keys to the team while we have no expectations whatsoever? I’d rather have him turning the ball over 4 times a game when we don’t have a chance of winning then doing it when we have a roster in place that will push for the playoffs.

Another reason I’d start Irving is because we don’t really have a shooting guard as such, so we just shift Davis or Sessions over there and hope for the best. If Davis comes back in shape – IF – he can easliy play the two spot and score 20-plus points a game. Well, maybe not easily but you get my drift. A backcourt of Irving-Davis gives us extra ball handling abilities while providing a constant threat of one of them going off for 25 points on a given night. Having Davis on the court alongside Irving would also allow Kyrie to get in-game coaching from Davis, which might not be the worst thing in the world for the rookie.

Question Two – Who should start at the SF and PF for the Cavs?

Omri Casspi and Tristan Thompson please, Coach. Why? Same reason you start Irving – the future. Casspi is only 23, and by taking Thompson 4th overall we’re kinda two feet in with our committment to him long term spefically. Let Thompson figure things out as a rookie, let him take his bumps and bruises and it will stand to him in the long run. He’s already going to be a great rebounder if tuned in, and his athleticism should get him at least 10 points a night off alley-opps and putbacks alone.

Casspi is intriguing. He’s a streaky long range shooter but can get hot from outside. He’s got a great work ethic and ideal size for his position, but he’s pretty skinny and won’t ever win any ballhadling competitions. If he comes in and averages somewhere between 12-15 points a game with around 5 rebounds I’d be thrilled. Antawn Jamison being able to play both these spots is a plus, and I’d bet he’ll finish more games than Casspi will.

Question Three – JJ Hickson for Omri Casspi and a draft pick: Good trade or Bad trade?

I loved JJ. Loved him to bits. I loved his hops, how he had no fear on the court and how he could excite the crowd like no other player (except Skyenga) with a dunk or block. But I was never 100% certain that he was our power forward of the future. Hickson has got upside, but was kinda taking his time showing it. He should have been grabbing double-digit rebounds every single game, after all the guy can jump out of the gym. Adding another first round pick (we now own 312 first round picks over the next three seasons) was a smart move, plus it filled a gap (small forward) while paving the way for Tristan to start. I’d give the move a B-, simply because I shudder to think that JJ taps into his potential and he combines with DeMarcus Cosuins to lead Sacramento to an NBA title in 2017. Right around the same year that Minnesota don’t draft a point guard.

Question Four – Are the Cavs on the right of the wrong track?

Right one, no question. I believe in Scott. I believe in Gilbert and all our front office guys. We’re getting younger, and have three very attractive trading blocks in Tawn, Baron and Varejao – all attractive for different reasons. If we land a top-5 pick in 2012, with the talent that could potentially be coming out of college that summer, we’ll be on the right track and building speed. Adding a Harrison Barnes/Andre Drummond type guy next year will give us a very young, promising core. I’d strongly explore trades for the three guys I mentioned above, contending teams will all want a piece of Varejao, maybe the same could apply to Tawn. Davis is an expiring deal worth almost $15million in 2013, somebody somewhere will have an eye on that, especially if Davis performs - IF – between now and then. You know, if the lockout ever ends.

Question Five – Can we talk about the Cavaliers without talking about LeBron James?

Yup, we just did until now. All feelings towards LeBron have diminished, we despise him, but are no longer obsessed with him or the rest of the cast of Two and a Half Men that play down in South Beach. He is who he is and we are who we were before and will continue to be without him, the Cavaliers. You either roll with us, or roll against us. i just hope he enjoys the love and adoration he continues to get from all those “fans” filling the stadium for home games. Wait, how many games did the Heat sell out last season?

Follow us on Twitter @StepienRules or myself @DOL17.

Breaking down the Cavs

I’m sure all you guys have read Brendan’s well written piece on our potential starting five for the upcoming season. At first, I agreed with him on starting ‘Tawn at the three spot, but Windhorst made a good call in inserting Jawad there. I’d still expect Jamison to see the majority of minutes between the two and be the guy who ends games, but I’d roll with Jawad as my starter. Thing is, rumors have been doing the rounds that Danny Ferry has him down in San Antonio working out with the Spurs. We have the advantage there though due to him being a RFA, but still I’m not putting a hoax on anything so for the purpose of this he’s being left out.

What I’m looking at today is going through each player individually, taking last year’s stats and trying to envision what they will produce this upcoming season, which I’ve now dubbed the “Show the world we’re still around” season. So let’s get right in shall we?

(At season’s end, I’ll come back and review how accurate I was – feel free to give your predictions in the comments section or email me and we’ll get them up!)

The Backcourt

Mo Williams

Last season: 69 games played, 15.8 ppg, 5.3 assists, 1.01 steals

We know how he’s done in the regular season, and how he’s fared (or didn’t) in the playoffs. That’s done with, let’s move on. This year Mo will have to be huge for us – HUGE. He’ll need to be the consistent scorer for us this season.  He’ll also need to get some sort of defense going and as challenging as it might be, his assists will need to reach that 7 or even the 8 mark. Without a certain small forward around that last part will be tough – but in a run first offense and shooters around, it’s possible.

Projection for this season: 18 ppg, 6.8 assists

Ramon Sessions

Last season: 82 games played, 8.2 ppg, 3.1 assists, 0.67steals

Ramon Sessions is a very competent point guard – believe me. When given extended minutes and the full trust of his coach, he’ll serve up dimes aplenty. He is after all, a guy who had a 24-assist game. He’ll probably start this season you know, in a small backcourt with Mo, which is something that was played out in Milwaukee, and he could thrive under Byron Scott. He’s not the guy who’ll win us 55 games a season, not by any means, but our concept this year is “team first,” so he should slot right in.

Projection for this season: 12 ppg, 5.4 assists

Daniel Gibson

Last season: 56 games played, 6.3 ppg, 1.3 assists, 0.45 steals

Scratch last year off Bobbie’s wikipedia page, just wipe it off. This year is a new year, fresh start and a clean state for Bobbie. Give me back the wide-grinned, three point shooting assassin out of Texas we fell in love with. If he’s open, he’ll knock em down. He made 48% of his three’s last season, which will naturally go down when the shots taken rise, but I’d be shocked if he dropped below 43% for the season. Boobie will soon be back on our court and into our hearts, I can’t frickin wait.

Projection for this season: 11 ppg, 3.2 assists, dark horse for MIP?

Anthony Parker

Last season: 81 games played, 7.3 ppg, 2.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists

One of my favorite guys from last year and could be a vital element this year due to his versatility. You know what you get from Parker – defense, unselfishness, high IQ basketball, when he’s hot he’s hot from deep. Don’t expect much else however, we have to be realistic.

Projection for this season: 5.1ppg, 2.4 rebounds, 1.7assists

Danny Green

Last season: 20 games played, 2.0 ppg

Look, anything Green contributes to the team will be a plus. Didn’t have the best of Summer League, so I don’t know how we should expect him to do this upcoming year. Maybe with extended minutes and more game time he could show us the tools that made him a UNC great, maybe.

Projection this season: 5 ppg, 2 rebounds (he’s well able to grab boards)

Christian Eyenga

Last season: Failed to impress overseas

Eyenga is the biggest question mark on our roster. He could come in, use his phenomenal hops and be a better Jamario Moon, or he could be a total wash who plays in the D-League.

Projection for this season: God only knows

Joey Graham

Last season: 63 games played, 4.2 ppg, 2 rebounds

Do you think people will agree with me that if he has a season like AP had in his first year he’d be a major success?

Projection for this season: 5 ppg, 2 rebounds

Frontcourt

Jamario Moon

Last season: 61 games played, 4.9 ppg. 3.1 rebounds

In the running system soon to be employed, Moon and his 6-8 frame have every opportunity to see minutes and the three, four and maybe even the two. We know he’s an athlete, we know he can get it going from deep – we just need to see it consistently please Jamario.

Projection for this season: 7.2 ppg, 4.7 rebounds

Antawn Jamison

Last season: 25 games played, 15.8 ppg, 7.7 rebounds

If we’re below .500 at the trade deadline, he might be gone to a contender. He might just be gone full stop. I like ‘Tawn, I like him as a leader for us this year, and I love the idea of him being sixth man but having him as our closing small forward. I do think his numbers will take a dip for obvious reasons – age, fewer minutes – but he should have a positive affect and be one of our better players, we hope.

Projection for this season: 11 ppg, 6.4 rebounds

JJ Hickson

Last season: 81 games played, 8.5 ppg, 4.9 rebounds

Just wait and see…

Projection for this season: 17 ppg, 6.5 rebounds

Ryan Hollins

Last seasons: 73 games played, 6.1 points, 2.8 rebounds

Brendan dubbed him “cement hands.” That’s all I need to know. Also, if my seven-foot center goes through an entire season and his highest rebounding game is 9, I’m not that happy. He’s the backup five for sure, but I really don’t know.

Projection for this season: 3.1 ppg, 2.6 rebounds

Leon Powe

Last season: 20 games, 4.0 ppg, 3.1 rebounds

I like Powe, I like the way he looks kinda funny running the court, I like the way he’s a tough nose S.O.B, I just like him. If he were two inches taller, he’d be an All Star – maybe. A full season of Leon Powe will be very beneficial to all parties.

Projection for this season: 4.1 ppg, 3.6 rebounds

Samardo Samuels

Last season: (College) 33 games played, 15.3 ppg, 7 rebounds

Undersized for his position and not the greatest athlete – he might just be Leon Powe’s younger brother. He’s good rebounder who looked awesome with the Louisville team that contained Terrence Williams and Earl Clark, but should have been better last year. Anything he does will be a plus.

Projection for this season: 2.2 ppg, 3.6 rebounds

Anderson Varejao

Last season: 76 games played, 8.6 ppg, 7.6 rebounds

The wild thing is the man in the middle for us this year and with it comes more responsibility. Coming off the bench he had a little wiggle room in regards to fouls, but as our starter he needs to rein it in and use his experience. It seemed like he got all his points last year off of no-look passes from you know who, so Andy will have to crash the glass offensively and work off scraps for the majority of his points this year. A very underestimated off the ball mover though, if Sessions and him gain an understanding going it could work out, we’ll wait and see.

Projection for this season: 9.1 ppg, 10.4 rebounds

I realise that when you add up the averages I’m forecasting we’ll average almost more than 100 points a game, and when you consider we’re taking away LeBron’s 30.0 ppg, it’s a stretch right? Just let it be known that Minnesota averaged 98 a game last season in the West, so while it seems far-fetched, it’s plausible.

Question outside the Mailbag

Q: I think JR smith will be good for the Cavs because even if it doesn’t work out between the Cavs and him, he’s worth a shot in my eyes. Reason number 1: he doesn’t have a big contract. 2: maybe, just maybe it will go perfect and he’ll lead us to 50 wins and lure other free agents. 3: if it doesn’t work, it’ll be only 1 bad year, and we’ll get a good draft pick. 4: let Byron Scott coach him and see if he can help JR with his game. – Cole Larson

A: 50 wins is way too far a stretch for us, I’m sorry but it is. Last season, the Bucks, Bobcats and Bulls didn’t even win 50 in the East. JR Smith is not the guy to get us over 50 – but he could give us an offensive weapon that would become highly beneficial. He’s a good scorer, great athlete and gets the crowd going. In reality, he’s a streaky shooter, crap defender and can be a bit of a nuisance. The points regarding his contract are very true, and huge plus in any deal that might ever happen. But I’m not aiming for the lottery this year – none of us should be, we’re definitely able for more. Byron Scott is a well-respected head coach, but so is George Karl, so the influence Scott might ever have on Smith would probably be no different than Karl, right? I’m totally 50/50 on the matter, and I don’t think I can budge off the fence to be honest.

Contact me on dol-17@hotmail.com, Twitter @DOL17 or Facebook.

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