Monthly Archives: May 2014


This quote from Cavs general manager David Griffin on ESPN SportsCenter caught my attention when I heard it last night. It could mean a lot of things from keeping the pick, to trading the pick, to keeping the pick and trading other players for an all-star caliber player. What do you make of it?……….

David Griffin – “We’re very open minded. We’re going to try to get radically better much quicker. We really feel like there’s a sense of urgency about improving our team as a whole and we’re going to look for the right fit in that, and we’re very open minded about what that means.”

David Griffin 2014 NBA Draft Lottery Photo


When you participate in the Olympic Games, to medal is something special. If you win, or finish first, you go home with the gold. If you happen to be the runner-up, your silver medal helps ease the pain a little. Even if you end up third, it still means you’re one of three best in the entire world and wearing that bronze medal allows you to hold you head high.

The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery was somewhat like the Olympics. Fourteen participants had a chance, some better than others, to finish first, second or third and walk away with a prize. But instead of medals of a different color and worth, the top three teams would be rewarded with the opportunity of drafting a potential franchise changing player. Possibly Joel Embiid, or Andrew Wiggins or maybe Jabari Parker. Which one is truly the gold? That is up for debate right now, but one thing that is not, if you finished first, second or third on Tuesday night, you were walking away a big winner and down the road maybe the biggest winner.

2014 NBA Draft Lottery Order

So congratulations, for the third time in the last four years to the NBA’s Draft Lottery gold medal winner, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Facing their greatest odds in the lottery, G.M. David Griffin and his team defied those odds, a  mere 1.7 percent chance of finishing first, and with the ping pong balls bouncing the right way again, the Cavs for the second straight year made it to the apex of the NBA Draft Lottery. They would have been happy with the silver or the bronze considering their odds, but finishing first is always better.

David Griffin 2014 NBA Draft Lottery Photo

This year’s top honor for one of the worst teams in the Association has people conjuring up memories of the 2003 draft that produced LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Three of those four have won multiple NBA championships. Granted James and Bosh had to join Wade to do so, but a championship is still a championship and Cleveland fans would take one any way they could get one.

Therefor supporters of the “Wine and Gold” are hoping that one of the top three  players in this draft, be it Wiggins, Embiid or Parker could ultimately lead the Cavaliers to a victory in the last game played during an NBA season, instead of winning an off-season lottery. Should that happen, which would mean finishing first when it really mattered, the city of Cleveland would be celebrating the ultimate gold medal, the Larry O’Brien trophy and their first NBA Championship!


I got to take part in a conference call with Cavs GM David Griffin and he answered our questions about winning the NBA Draft Lottery and who he might pick.

David Griffin Photo 5-13-14


College basketball guru Dick Vitale told me in an exclusive 1 on 1 interview tonight why he thinks the Cavaliers should draft Duke small forward Jabari Parker with the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Dick Vitale Photo Siesta Key


As the Cavs get ready for yet another lottery pick, I figured why not get the 411 on some potential picks for David Griffin and the Cavaliers, that’s why I called the Senior Director of Scouting for the NBA Ryan Blake. You’ll be soaking wet with knowledge on these kids after you listen to this Podcast.

Ryan Blake - Senior Director of NBA Scouting


There has been some movement with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s Tennessee based company Pilot Flying J that is still under investigation due to an alleged fuel rebate scam.  Employees at the company were informed through an e-mail today that the president of the company Mark Hazelwood is no longer employed at Pilot Flying J. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Hazelwood’s attorney, Gordon Ball declined to confirm the report, or to comment on it. For more on this story you can follow

Jimmy Haslam Photo

In on the field news involving the Browns, today they cut WR-Josh Cooper, OL- Anthony Dima, WR- Tori Gurley, RB- Jamaine Cook, OL- Michael Philipp, DL- Elhadji Ndiaye, FB- Chris Pressley and TE- Andre Smith.

While those guys were sent packing, the Browns did keep and sign seven players that participated in their rookie mini-camp WR- Taylor Gabriel, WR- Anthony Armstrong, TE- James Oboh, RB- Jourdan Brooks, OL- Randall Harris, DL- Jacobbi McDaniel and DB- Robert Nelson. 

The next time players will be together in Berea for the Browns is on Wednesday, May 21st for OTA’s, or Organized Team Activities.




Here’s what Browns head coach Mike Pettine had to say about rookie mini-camp over the weekend as he answered reporters questions on Saturday, May 17th.

Mike Pettine

On how the rookies have performed:

“It’s pretty good, a lot of good things on tape. I’ve never been part of a rookie tryout camp with this many numbers, but I thought that our staff did a real good job putting it together. I think it’s a credit to those guys, our [football operations department], that we were able to handle the flights, the travel and the logistics of getting those guys in here. We’ve had two good days so far and we’re looking forward to finishing it off right tomorrow. I think we’re going to find some guys potentially out of this camp. If I had to decide today, there are a couple of guys that we have some really good feelings about.”


On if the Browns were aware of quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains radio interview with an ESPN affiliate in Arkansas:

“Were we aware of it as an organization? Certainly, yes.”


On if Coach Loggains said anything that was possibly out of line:

“I don’t know if I would use the phrase ‘out of line.’ The story itself, the text message absolutely did happen because in the draft room, when I got it, I questioned Dowell as to whether he made the text up himself in order to get us to turn the card in. There were three players – I’m not going to go into the names ; (Browns QB) Johnny (Manziel) was one of them – that we targeted after we picked that were potential high-value guys for us that we felt that we were getting good value on. As the round continued to progress, one of the guys went that was getting close to the Eagles’ pick, when we knew that there was a pretty good chance that we were going to be able to jump up and take that spot. Then the other player went, and we knew that quarterback was a position that we were targeting and that Johnny was our top quarterback on the board. There was some excitement in the room building because we felt that we were close to getting him. When Dowell sent me the text that he wanted to come to Cleveland, I think that it just really added to the excitement in the room and were fired up to turn the card in.”


On whether he had to speak to Loggains after the radio interview:

“Did I have to speak to him? Not really. He knew how it came off, and he wasn’t in the draft room when [we drafted Manziel]. I think we were all excited because there was a situation that he was our top-rated guy, and we were getting a chance to get him and we knew it was mutual that he wanted to be here, and he and Dowell had developed a relationship over the course of the workouts and the visits. We see that as a positive.”


On potential concerns of the ‘Johnny Football phenomenon’ overshadowing the Browns:

“It’s a concern. It’s something that we have to address. We’re well aware of the persona. We’re well aware of what it brings. We’re excited about it. It’s something that we’re very willing to have come here, knowing that he has a chance to make us a better football team and a better franchise. It’s something that we weren’t going to turn away from, but as the head coach, it’s all about football for me and it’s all about the team. I know it already has and it probably continued to ruffle some feathers with how we handled some things – I’ll apologize in advance for that – but what we’re tasked as a staff to do is do what’s best for the football team. If there’s something that we feel that we can control that will limit the distractions that this will bring, then we’re going to go ahead and do it. It’s something that I know probably won’t be the most popular thing, especially on a national level, but we also feel that the credibility of the Browns, as far as what stock we have nationally, I don’t think we’re very highly thought of given the recent history of the team so it’s not really something we’re interested in playing into. We want to be in a situation where we want to kind of bunker in, build the best football team we can build and worry about winning football games in the fall.”


On impressions of Manziel following the first two days of rookie minicamp:

“It’s difficult in shorts. It’s very hard to evaluate just because you’ve got a bunch of receivers who are in here that are just learning the system, too. It can be a precision passing attack at times and it can get a little ragged when you have some guys potentially going the wrong way or not running the right route. I think he’s just concentrating now on just learning, as the other quarterbacks are, learning the playbook, learning the formations, learning the footwork. He’s really at the infant stages of his career here.”


On quelling the ‘phenomenon of Johnny Football’ and Manziel’s play:

“He does. I think it’s a situation of Cleveland is hopeful, as we all are, that he will become Johnny Football here and that will continue, but as we’ve talked about and the kid recognizes – he embraces it, too – that he hasn’t completed a pass in the NFL, scored a touchdown in the NFL. We don’t want to rush it. This is a classic ‘cart before the horse’ situation. We want it to be that way over time so I don’t think it’s a situation where we’re quelling it, but I just think that we want to temper it.”


On if he took notes in New York about how the Jets worked with former QB Tim Tebow:

“I had a notebook that I would put random notes in and kind of tuck away, but I don’t know that I ever physically wrote anything down. I think it was just more of looking back on it and talking to some of the guys that were there with me, how things were and maybe we should have done some things differently.”


On how his life as a coach has changed over the past two months, particularly now as head coach and with Manziel:

“That’s an interesting question. I just approach it the way I’ve approached it before: make a list in the morning of what you want to get done that day. I think when you sit back and try to soak it all in and wrap your brain around it, I think that might make it more difficult to deal with so I just try to stay focused on task by task, item by item.”


On his situation being one that could not have been imagined previously:

Yeah, that’s true. It’s been a whirlwind but it’s slowed down. I think after the draft it sped back up a little bit, the world started the spin a little faster, but it’s ebb and flow. I think things will get settled in and we will get in a routine here and get excited about finishing up through our OTAs and our camp and attacking things in training camp.”


On if there is something different about Manziel than other players:

“He is and that’s part of it. We talked about the ‘it’ factor and he’s got it. But we also think Brian (Hoyer) has it as well. I think all NFL quarterbacks have to have that swagger about them, that aura that it’s confidence and not cockiness. It’s a fine line. I think when he steps on the field based on what he’s done so far, and he’s earned it, that people look at him a little differently and expect a little bit more.”


On Manziel’s size:

“I think you have to be able to see football differently. You have to think outside of the box. I think he proved it at Texas A&M that he was able to put together ridiculous numbers in the SEC that he really is an outside of the mold guy. There are some quarterbacks in the NFL that have proven they can be successful as 6-foot, 6-1 guys. We want a quarterback that can maximize our chances to win. Is he in the classic mold? He’s not. But I think if you are creative and build the right team around him, you can be successful.”


On wanting Manziel to put weight on:

“No, I don’t think we ever want to do anything artificially like that. I think we will get him here and on our nutritional program we have everyone else on and get him in the weight room with coach (Paul) Ricci and just let things happen naturally.”


On what tryout FB Eric Kettani could bring to the team:

“He’s done some good things. We are going to sit down tonight as a staff and evaluate it, look at if we are going to potentially bring in an extra fullback or something or swap a guy out. I know his name his high on list of guy’s that we have thought highly of in these first two practices.”


On how Manziel responded after being told that he is the back up:

“I think that came across like it was kind of a talking down to or negative thing. If you just look at Johnny’s comments from the beginning, I just really reinforced that with him. That is where he is. It is the cart before the horse-type scenario. He knows it, if he wants to develop and be ‘Jonny Football’ in the NFL, he’s got to earn in. I think he knows that that is as the end of the tunnel for him, but he still has to travel through that tunnel.”


Tuesday night’s NBA Draft lottery is important in so many ways for the Cavs. First they’ll find out where they’ll be picking. They have a 1.7% chance of getting the first overall pick out of the number #9 spot. It has happened once before when the Bulls entered the lottery in the 9th spot and ended up winning the lottery in 2008 and selected Derrick Rose first overall. The Cavs also have a 2% chance of landing the second pick and a 2.4% chance of getting the third pick in the draft. That’s a 6.1% chance of moving up into the top three picks to have a shot at Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid.

But don’t forget other teams could leap frog the Cavs and bump them back to 10th, 11th or 12th spot.  However in the history of the lottery, 81% of the time the team in the 9th spot has selected 9th. That’s what happens when you don’t have enough ping pong balls in the hopper.

The second reason Tuesday night’s draft lottery is so important is that potential coaching candidates will be watching to see where the Cavs end up picking in the lottery and that could have a major effect on whether or not a candidate would consider the Cavs. Remember the Lakers, Knicks, Jazz and Timberwolves all have coaching openings and are all in the lottery just like the Cavs.

David Griffin Photo 5-13-14

The third reason the lottery is important to the Cavs is it will allow them to set up their first interviews with the coaching candidates on their list. My sources tell me that the Cavaliers have not interviewed any coaches yet, but will start in earnest post lottery. The front office, led by new general manager David Griffin, reportedly has been putting together a coaching list and the traits they’re looking for in their next head coach.

My first choice remains current Iowa St. head coach Fred Hoiberg. But sources tell me he may not want to leave the college ranks for the NBA just yet.  However, if I’m the Cavs I make that phone call and have him tell me no before you scratch him off your list.

The other names the Cavs could be considering are Adrian Griffin, Alvin Gentry, Mike D’Antoni, Coach K., Tom Izzo, John Calipari, Alex Jenson, Lionel Hollins, Nate McMillan, Mark Jackson, Vinnie Del Negro, George Karl, and David Fizdale. Leave no stone unturned. I may be missing a candidate or two, but you get the idea. Put a huge list together; see who has the traits you’re looking for in your next head coach and then make a phone call and see if they’re interested.

So the wheels will be put in motion once the draft lottery is decided. G.M. David Griffin will be representing the Cavs on stage Tuesday, not Nick Gilbert. Here’s hoping some of Nick’s luck rubs off on Griff so he can bring back one of the top three picks. If he does, that would make the Cavs job extremely desirable to all of the potential coaching candidates!


Johnny Manziel responds to the questions I wanted answers to at his first press conference at Browns headquarters in Berea on 5-9-14. (Roda Edit)

Johnny Manziel Browns SI Cover Photo


As we get ready for the June 26th NBA Draft a lot of the names listed below will be the names you’ll see going high in the draft and some of them are the names of players that Cavs GM David Griffin will be deciding on possibly for the Cavaliers pick. So here’s a statistical breakdown of each player and what they did this past season in collegel basketball. The European players are not shown on this list. 

                        PPG      RPG       APG      SPG       BLK      FG%       FT%      3FG%

Andrew Wiggins     17.1         5.9          1.5          1.2          1.0          .448         .775         .341

Joel Embiid             11.2         8.1          1.4          0.9          2.6          .626        .685         .200

Jabari Parker         19.1         8.7          1.2          1.1          1.2           .473         .748         .358

Julius Randle          15.0        10.4        1.4          0.5          0.8          .500         .706         .167

Noah Vonleh           11.3         9.0          0.6          0.9          1.4        .523          .716         .485

Aaron Gordon        12.4         8.0          2.0          0.9          1.0         .495         .422         .356

Marcus Smart        18.0         5.9          4.8          2.9          0.6         .422         .728         .299

James Young          14.3         4.3          1.7          0.8          0.2         .407         .706         .349

Tyler Ennis             12.9         3.4          5.5          2.1          0.2         .411         .765          .353

Rodney Hood          16.1         3.9          2.1          0.7          0.3        .464        .807          .420

Doug McDermott   26.7         7.0          1.6          0.2          0.1         .526        .864          .449

Cleanthony Early   16.4         5.9          0.8          0.8          0.8         .486        .844          .375

Gary Harris            16.7         4.0          2.7          1.8          0.4         .429        .810          .352

Nik Stauskas          17.5          2.9          3.3          0.6          0.3         .470        .824          .442

T.J. Warren            24.9         7.1          1.1          1.8          0.6           .525        .690          .267

Kyle Anderson       14.6         8.8          6.5          1.8          0.8          .480        .737          .483

Adreian Payne       16.4         7.3          1.3          0.5          0.9          .503        .790         .423

Nick Johnson          16.3        4.1          2.8          1.1          0.7           .432        .781          .367

Zach LaVine           9.4           2.5          1.8          0.9          0.2          .441        .691          .375

Jerami Grant          12.1        6.8          1.4          0.8          0.6           .496        .674          .000

Glenn Robinson      13.1        4.4          1.2          0.9          0.3          .488        .757          .306

Jordan Adams        17.4        5.3          2.3          2.6          0.1           .485        .836          .356

Shabazz Napier      18.0        5.9          4.9          1.8          0.3          .429          .870        .405

Sean Kilpatrick       20.6       4.3          2.5          1.4          0.0           .423        .845          .348

J.Michael McAdoo 14.2        6.8          1.7          1.3          0.9           .458        .537          .000