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Kyrie Irving

Uncle Drew’s World: Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview

Cleveland’s great hope for the future.

Starting Five: PG Kyrie Irving, SG Dion Waiters, SF Earl Clark, PF Tristan Thompson, C Andrew Bynum
Key Bench Players: SF Anthony Bennett, PG Jarrett Jack, PF Anderson Varejao, G-F CJ Miles, F Tyler Zeller, G-F Alonzo Gee
Notable offseason additions: Coach Potato Head (Mike Brown), C Andrew Bynum, PF Anthony Bennett (#1 overall pick), PG Jarrett Jack, SF Earl Clark, G-F Sergey Karasev (#19 overall pick), G-F Carrick Felix (#33 overall pick)
Notable offseason subtractions: SG Wayne Ellington, G-F Omri Casspi, G Daniel Gibson, F Luke Walton, PG Shaun Livingston, G Chris Quinn, PF Kevin Jones
FACT OR FICTION: The Cleveland Cavaliers are a playoff team in 2013-2014.
FACT. Following the implosion of both Boston and Milwaukee this off-season, there looks to be a four team race for the seven and eight seeds. The usual suspects (Heat, Pacers, Bulls, Knicks, Nets, and probably Hawks) appear safe, but the Cavaliers, Wizards, Pistons, and Raptors (?!) are in the running for the next up and comer in the East. While each fanbase has lots of reasons for optimism, I really like where Cleveland is sitting right now and think they’ll take the 7/8.

Even if Anthony Bennett is a stretch at #1, they had a promising core already with Irving, Waiters, Thompson, and Varejao, a group that will only get better and is now complemented by some stellar off-season signings. Jarrett Jack was an absolute ROCK for Golden State and will bring the kind of moxie in the clutch that can bail out Cleveland in big moments. Earl Clark was a great signing who will provide a lot of depth, defense, and versatility. The Cavs managed to get both for just $11M next season, which is perfectly reasonable.… Read more...

(Not So) Instant Trade Analysis: The high upside free agent gambles of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers get: C Andrew Bynum (two years, $24 million, though only one year for $6 million is guaranteed), G Jarrett Jack (four years, $26 million), F Earl Clark (two years, $9 million)
The Cavaliers certainly won’t win a NBA title before LeBron James, but they’re getting closer.
That’s not to say Cleveland has made championship-caliber maneuvers this summer. They have. Potentially.
Within the last two weeks, the Cavaliers have gone on a wild spending spree that could cost as much as $59 million for three free agents that have earned three wildly divergent deals than what was expected of them before the 2012-2013 season.
After being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the four-team Nikola Vucevic trade (which becomes a more and more fascinating deal by the day—only Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Al Harrington, Arron Afflalo and Jason Richardson remain on the same squads they were dealt to in a 10-player deal a year ago), many figured Bynum was headed for a maximum value contract after the season. New owner Josh Harris even went on record during Andrew’s press conference as to saying “Where do I sign?” in regards to a new deal. 11 months later, Bynum still hasn’t played second for the Sixers . He’s settling for a relative pittance, with just $6 million guaranteed on a two year, “make good” contract (the second year is a club option). A far cry from the $80-$110 million he could have grabbed had he played in even three quarters of the season.  While most folks assumed that Bynum would have suffered some sort of injury during the year, few prognosticated that he would only participate in one practice and zero games for Philly.… Read more...

How did the LA Lakers lose in Cleveland last night?

(Copped from my Silver Screen and Roll  game recap)

Going back to Silver Screen and Roll’s preseason predictions for the 2012-2013 season, most of us here were concerned with several different issues; a few of us pointed to team health, some asked questions about the coaching staff and a couple writers wondered aloud if the team’s pieces were the right fit.

No one–not a single person on this blog, nor many fans out there–thought that the problem would be effort.

The team’s early season slump was sent to an all-new low tonight, when the now 5-17 Cleveland Cavaliers thumped the Los Angeles Lakers 100-94 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as it ended.

The Cavs played a modest game to say the least. On the offensive side of the ball, they only shot 44% and a Howard-ian 57% from the stripe. After throwing down a ridiculous 54 first half points, Cleveland was stunningly mediocre for most of the rest of the game, including an unbelievable seven minute stretch at the beginning of the third quarter in which they made exactly one field goal. Part of the reason was a totally impotent bench that without Tyler Zeller’s six points, would have gotten completely skunked. Omri Casspi, Jeremy Pargo and Daniel Gibson bricked all nine of their combined shots in an effort that would have left last year’s Lakers bench shaking their heads in disbelief.

Amazingly, the Cavaliers caught only eight offensive boards, which is two more than Anderson Varejao’s season average. On the whole, the team was crushed by the Lakers’ rebounding edge, ceding 11 more to LA, 15 of which were on the offensive end. Cleveland’s defense wasn’t sterling either, with the squad sending the Lakers to the stripe 40 times. In terms of field goals, the Cavs allowed 54 second-half points to the Show after just 39 in the first half. Finally, they did a terrible job coaxing Kobe Bryant into bad shots, as the Mamba hit 16 of 28 for 42 points.

The Cavs did have a couple of bright spots however, which came from predictable places. Kyrie Irving had a timely return tonight, coming back from injury to drop an amazing 28/6/11 on the Lakers in a seeming 1-on-1 duel with Kobe Bryant. C.J. Miles somehow dropped 28 points, looking like a genuine starter rather than a scrap heap pick-up. Anderson Varejao continued to make his case for the Eastern Conference All-Star team with a fantastic 20 points, 9 boards and 5 assists. However, the rest of the team was a virtual offensive wasteland, combining for 24 points split amongst seven players.

Looking at all those statistics, how could the Lakers have possibly lost this game?

(Check out the rest of the piece over at SS&R!)


Kyrie Irving, Future Top-5 Player? – Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview

(Some magic from The King, who’s mobile today and so I’m posting on his behalf)

Starting Five:PG Kyrie Irving, SG CJ Miles, SF Alonzo Gee, PF Tristan Thompson, C Anderson Varejao

Key Bench Players: PG Donald Sloan, SG Daniel Gibson, SG Dion Waiters, SF Omri Caspi,  PF Jon Leuer, and C Tyler Zeller

Notable offseason additions:Dion Waiters (4th overall pick), Tyler Zeller (17thoverall pack), C.J. Miles
Notable Offseason subtractions: G Antwan Jamison

Losing LeBron James was the best thing that ever happened to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I certainly didn’t think this was true at the time, but in hindsight, this was the only possible way for the Cavaliers to win a championship. If the Cavs had resigned LeBron, they would have become a rich man’s version of the late-1980s Hawks: a team with one star player surrounded by limited talent that was not good enough to compete with the league’s current elite, yet too good to pick early in the draft where the vast majority of stars emerge. Not to mention, the Cavaliers had zero payroll flexibility with gigantic contracts for overpaid players–in other words, they weren’t going to be able to get better through free agency. The Cavs’ hopes for a championship would hinge on unearthing an All-Star (or perhaps two) with cheap, late round first draft picks to compete with the league’s up-and-coming teams such as the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With LeBron gone, the Cavs were essentially assured to be one of the worst teams in the league. This meant two things: (i) the Cavs’ draft pick was guaranteed to be in “superstar” drafting territory and (ii) with no hope of competing, the Cavs could trade their (few) marketable assets for draft picks such as Mo Williams, who, in what may turn out to be one of the greatest trades of all time, they turned into the #1 pick in the 2011 draft.

What it didn’t mean was that the Cavs fans would be doomed to years’ worth of pitiful basketball. Often times, rebuilding a team into a playoff contender can take half-a-decade or more. Watching your home team during those rebuilding years can be brutal – ask the Washington Wizards fans.  If you had talked to any Cavs fan during the 2010-2011 season, they had resigned themselves to the fact that they would endure 5-7 years of uninspired basketball like so many of the rebuilding teams before them. Yet, if you had spoken with those same fans a year later, you’d notice that they were decidedly more upbeat about the Cavs’ prospects. The reason why: 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.

Simply put, Kyrie Irving is the next NBA superstar. Coming out of Duke after playing only 11 games during an injury-riddled freshman year, there wRead more...

A Terrible NBA Rookie Class

Every now and then my family will have a fairly large reunion. Aside from seeing faces I don’t get to see too often, the best part is eating all the food that people bring. Once in a blue moon, however, the food, overall, doesn’t hit the spot. I wouldn’t dare describe which foods just in case my family decides to do some detective work on Facebook, but don’t worry familia, nobody’s perfect. You’re allowed to give up a three-run homer every now and then.

Even on that rare day where my taste buds want to huddle together and declare war, there’s still usually one dish that will get me through the afternoon. To make up for the rest, I’ll keep going back to that particular food item (stealthily, of course).

That basically sums up the rookie class for the 2011-12 NBA season. There are a couple of bright spots in an overall terrible, terrible table of food. Kyrie Irving, Mambino’s Rookie of the Year, has played the Cleveland Savior role to near-perfection (“near” because he ended the season on the injury list). Ricky Rubio has dazzled Minnesota fans, giving superstar teammate Kevin Love something to finally smile about…until Rubio himself ended up hurt, tearing his ACL. And then there’s YOUR favorite rookie, Iman Shumpert, whose presence on the defensive end will be highlighted in a future Mambino awards post. I feel extra proud of Shumpert’s progress as an on-ball super-glue defender just because he plays for my team; it’s kind of like when my mama knocks it out of the park when she makes mac-and-cheese or artichoke dip.

But for the most part, the rookie class has been truly disappointing. You’ll see. Our All-Rookie teams await you.

All-Rookie First Team:

Guard: Kyrie Irving (Rookie of the Year), Cleveland Cavaliers
Guard: Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
Forward: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Forward: Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets
Center: Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers

KOBEsh: You know you’re in trouble when two of your 1st Teamers have played only roughly 2/3 of the season. Thanks, NBA Lockout. You’re like the herpes of the sports world; sometimes we forget about you, but the inflammation strikes when we see Tristan Thompson is 1st Team All-Rookie.

We all tempered Kyrie Irving with pretty modest expectations for the season, and even moreso in projecting the number 1 overall pick’s career. Everyone (including us) thought he’d take more than his fair share of lumps his rookie year, with a likely high turnover rate and low shooting percentage. In Cleveland, the focus would be on developing Irving, without leaning on him too much. We all saw him as becoming something close to a Jrue Holiday-type of point guard; solid, steady, but un-spectacular. And then Kyrie shoved it to everyone.

Irving came with an explosiveness and confidence that no one could have reasonably expected from someone who played a dozen games in college. He ran the Cleveland offense efficiently, with the calm of a veteran point guard. He got his own shot with an explosive first step to the hole, and shot the ball with a better stroke than his years should have given him. At the mid-February mark, Cleveland was still on the fringes of making the playoffs, which for a non-rookie, would have made him an All-Star. At this point, would you take Irving for the rest of his career, or Jrue Holiday? There goes that comparison.

One of the stiffs that Irving dragged to competence is our starting center here, Tristan Thompson. Thomp… Read more...

Burning Question #15 – Did the Cavs take the right guy with the number one pick?

Between all the transactions featuring Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Ross Ohlendorf in the past week, I thought that maybe this blog could take a breath and continue on with our Burning Questions series. With the mentioned developments with Dwight and CP3, not to mention potentially the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets, we’ve had to reevaluate the positioning of our remaining 15 posts.

Ironically, our next burning question has to do with the master of digital communication, champion of small market rights and the only man who could make even LeBron James a sympathetic figure, Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert.

Why is this even a question?

Coming off of one of one of the worst 12 months in any franchise’s history, the Cavaliers were due for a little bit of good luck at someone’s expense. Enter GM Neil Olshey and the Los Angeles Clippers organization.

The Clippers were looking to unload the $30+ million dollars of Baron Davis’ contract after years of Boom Dizzle showing up to training camp out of shape, unmotivated and keeping that same blasé attitude for the next 6 months of any particular season. Despite finally playing back in his hometown, Baron was simply disinterested in another losing Clippers season and allowed his vast talent and potential to again go by the wayside. Though signing Baron in the first place was a mistake, I can hardly blame the Clippers for not wanting to compound their error by allowing him to stay on the team and let his lack of work ethic affect the developing young players on the roster.

So GM Neil Olshey had the unenviable task of finding Baron a new home. After months of searching every corner of the league for a team willing to take on so much money from an unmotivated, albeit talented, freeloader, he finally matched up with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In exchange for Jamario Moon and Mo Williams, the Cavs took on Baron’s massive deal, as well as an UNPROTECTED 1st round draft pick from the lottery-bound Clippers. Other than the shock and amazement league-wide that any team would take on Baron’s money, this trade was met with little attention or credence.

Of course, the Clippers curse reared its ugly head yet again. As the lottery balls shot out into Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver’s hands, the nation realized that the Cavaliers had gained the #1 draft selection…by way of the Clippers’ pick.

After a month of debate, the Cavaliers selected point guard Kyrie Irving, a steady and talented young ball handler from Duke University. Irving’s selection as the first overall pick was met with much more skepticism than say John Wall, Blake Griffin or LeBron James (in fact, the entire draft was met with skepticism; a shallow talent pool was thinned even further when the industry saw that a lockout and potential cancellation of the 2011-2012 season was inevitable). Kyrie has been projected by many experts and scouts to turn into a solid pro who could potentially make one or two All-Star games. However, on the flip side, stating that Kyrie has that limited of potential is not necessarily the type of upside you want for the first overall pick. The second and third picks, forward Derrick Williams of Arizona and Turkish born center Enes Kanter, both project as riskier prospects, but with higher upside. The Cleveland front office obviously preferred to pair their fourth overall pick (also to the Cavs), forward Tristan Thompson, with young guard, rather than another big man.

Making a mistake with the first overall pick could be a … Read more...

Neil Olshey is an idiot

At the trade deadline, Los Angeles Clippers traded Baron Davis, the 2 years and $17 million dollars left on his contract and an unprotected 2011 1st Round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.

Yesterday was the NBA Draft lottery. For those of you that don’t know, every year, in order to stop teams from “tanking” (intentionally losing games to get a higher pick in the draft), there is a lottery to determine the order of draft picks. Thus, even with the worst record in the league, you might not have the number one pick (in fact, the team with the worst record in the league rarely gets the number 1 pick).

The Clippers had a 2.8% chance of getting the top pick after finishing with the 8th worst record in the league. This is nothing new to the Clips – they’ve finished with a top 14 pick every year but 3 in their 27 year tenure in Los Angeles. Do the math here kids; that means they’ve made the playoffs 3 times in their glorious run befouling the name of Los Angeles professional athletics.

The Cavaliers were an absolutely decimated squad this year – LeBron fled to South Beach and took with him the fortunes of the franchise. They finished with the second-worst record in the league which gave them the second best odds of the number one picks – a roughly 20% chance. But that wasn’t the pick that gave them the top spot for the draft in June.

Of course, as is the norm for the Clippers and their accursed history, it was LA’s pick that turned out to be number one.

“Adding Mo Williams and $8.5 m in cap room gives us better odds of improving than a 2.8% chance of winning the lottery.”

The Clippers have been terrible almost every single year of their existence. They’ve won 1 playoff series in Los Angeles. They’ve faced injury after injury and hit every single bad break imaginable. GM Neil Olshey, how did you possibly think that this time would be different than the 27 years preceding this one?

How do you not give that pick top-3 protection? How do you not even give it top-1 protection? I imagine the Cavaliers still would have made that trade with that type of protection on it, considering that they only had a 3% chance of being wrong. They Cavalier needed more talent and they needed to do something to prove to their fan base that they were still working.

The Clippers took a gamble here, and they lost. Obviously they were prepared for that small possibility that the pick could be in the top three. But as a GM, you have to make decisions that eliminate those type of (potentially) franchise changing misfires.

I mentioned at the time that I thought this was a dumb move for the Clips to give up a first rounder. You just don’t give up a pick like that when you’re ALREADY a terrible team. Neil Olshey is an idiot.

“We had a 97% chance of sitting here tonight with Baron Davis, the 8th pick in a bad draft and no cap flexibility.” – Today

This is such a display of arrogance. Even with a top-10 pick in a draft “you hate”, that is such a stupid statement to make. When have the Clippers ever made a free agent signing that improved the team? Baron Davis’ contract was and is abhorrent. Cuttino Mobley gave them a couple good years before heart problems ended his career (yes, heart problems for a guy who was in peak physical condition – only on the Clippers could this happen). But other than that, the Clippers have had next to no notable free agent additions in their history. Every good player that has come to them has been through THE DRAFT and through trades (with picks from THE DRAFT).

Point to any good Clippers p…