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Monthly Archives: June 2014
ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard is reporting that the Cavaliers will indeed offer Kyrie Irving a 5-year maximum contract worth around $90 million dollars. If they do so, Irving could accept the deal any time after July 1st since it would be a max deal.
When asked to confirm or deny the Broussard report, the Cavs declined to do so because league rules prohibit them from commenting on contracts prior to the official start of NBA Free Agency which begins at 12:01am on July 1st.
Is the fourth year point guard out of Duke worth a max contract? That’s debatable, but if you believe “Uncle Drew” is, here are some reasons that support your argument.
He’s only 22 years old and considered by some, including LeBron James, as one of the top young point guards in the NBA.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 18, 2013
2012 NBA Rookie of the year when he averaged 18.5ppg – 5.4apg – 3.7rpg – 1.1st
2012 NBA All Rookie 1st Team
2-Time NBA All Star (2013-14)
NBA All Star game MVP (2014)
NBA All Star game scoring average of 23ppg.
NBA Rising Stars Challenge MVP (2012)
NBA 3-Point Shootout Champion (2013)
Career regular season scoring average of 20.7 ppg
One of only three Cavaliers in team history to average over 20ppg in his career (minimum 120 games). The other two players are LeBron James (27.8) and World B. Free (23.0).
Averaging nearly 6 assists (5.8) per game over his first three years in the NBA, with his assist total increasing in each of his three years in the NBA.
The Cavs have increased their win total in each year Irving has been with the team. (+2, +3, +9)
Career high 44 points vs Charlotte on 4-5-14 is the 11th highest single game point total in Cavs history.
Off the court he is a very marketable commodity that helps sell your team’s merchandise.
NBA Free Agency begins tonight July 1st at midnight eastern time. The Cavaliers have plenty of cap space to go after a big name free agent like LeBron James, or if G.M. David Griffin feels there’s no chance of bringing James back to Cleveland, he can direct his attention and dollars elsewhere on maybe one or two other free agents.
With that in mind here is a look at the Cavs current depth chart that new head coach David Blatt and associate head coach Tyronn Lue have to work with.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS DEPTH CHART
PG – Kyrie Irving (4th year) Jarret Jack (10th year) Matthew Dellavedova (2nd year)
SG – Dion Waiters (3rd year) Sergey Karasev (2nd year) Joe Harris (rookie)
SF – Andrew Wiggins (rookie) Carrick Felix (2nd year) Scottie Hopson (2nd year)
PF – Tristan Thompson (4th year) Anthony Bennett (2nd year)
C – Anderson Varjao (11th year) Tyler Zeller (3rd year) Dwight Powell (rookie) Brendan Haywood(13th year)
The Indians have hit the halfway point of the 2014 season. At the 81 game mark they are (39-42). Last year at this time they were (43-38). So that’s a four game differential on the negative side from a year ago when they finished (92-70) and in second place in the A.L. Central, but claimed the A.L.’s top Wild Card spot.
I’ve claimed all along that I didn’t think they’d be as good as they were last year mainly because of the starting pitching, or lack thereof. But also there is still no legitimate clean-up hitter with power, poor defense, they’re going to wear out their bullpen and two of their biggest bats Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana are hitting (.193) and (.207) respectively.
Having said all that, thanks to the two Wild Card spots in the A.L. and a Tigers team that is still the favorite in the division, but also not as good as they were last year, the Indians are far from out of it in the American League playoff picture. The Wahoo Warriors trail first place Detroit by 6 ½ games as of today, and are just 4 ½ games out in the Wild Card race with a lot of baseball yet to play.
A big power bat and a legit number #2 or #3 starter would go a long way of bettering their chances of getting to the post-season for the second straight year and they have until July 31st to make a trade, however don’t hold your breath on those. But as I’ve learned over the years in sports, never say never. Let’s hope that Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro address at least one of those two big needs.
MVP – Michael Brantley – This one was easy. Dr. Smooth is on pace to hit .318 with 25 homeruns and drive in 108 runs. He is the most complete and consistent player on the team and it’s not even close.
MDP (Most Disappointing Players) – Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana – This one was easy too. Your two so-called power bats are not only struggling average wise at the plate, they aren’t hitting for power either. Yes Santana is tied for the team lead in HR’s with 12, but that’s not saying much and Mr. Brohio has only hit 5 balls to “Souvenir City”.
MSP (Most Surprising Player) – Lonnie Chisenhall – Another easy choice. Where would the Indians be without the offense that “Lonnie Baseball” has provided? He’s hitting .350 with 8 homers and 36 RBI’s. Cody Allen is the runner-up here with 7 saves and a 2.67era as your closer.
Player Least Likely To Be Here After The Trading Deadline – Asdrubal Cabrera. He’s only hitting .248 with 8 homers and 36 runs batted in. Plus he leads the team with 14 errors and he’s a free agent at the end of the year. Trade him and get something in return for him because you sure as hell aren’t going to pay him what he’ll be asking once he hits the market. You have Mike Aviles to play short on an everyday basis for the rest of this year and until Francisco Lindor is ready for the big leagues.
Pitching Rotation – My rotation for the 2nd half of the season would be – Corey Kluber, Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer and whoever gets hot, but leave Carlos Carrasco in the bullpen. He has found a home for now and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
1 LeBron James – UFA – SF – 6’8 – 260 – 29 – 27.1ppg – 6.9rpg – 6.4apg ($19mill last season)
2 Carmelo Anthony – UFA – SF – 6’8 – 235 – 30 – 27.4ppg – 8.1rpg – 3.1apg ($21.5mill last season)
3 Chandler Parsons – RFA (Hou.)–SF–6’9–227–25-16.6ppg–5.5rpg–4.0apg ($965,000 last season)
4 Greg Monroe – RFA (Det.) – C – 6’11 – 250 – 24 -15.2ppg – 9.3rpg – 2.1apg ($5.5mill last season)
5 Marcin Gortat – UFA – C – 6’11 – 240 – 30 – 13.2ppg – 9.5rpg – 1.5blk ($7.8mill last season)
6 Trevor Ariza – UFA – SF – 6’8 – 220 – 28 – 14.4ppg – 6.2rpg – 2.5apg ($7.8mill last season)
7 Gordon Hayward – RFA (Utah) –SF–6’8–200–24–16.2ppg–5.1rpg–5.2apg ($4.7mill last season)
8 Spencer Hawes – UFA – C – 7’1 – 245 – 26 -13.2ppg–8.3rpg–3apg–1.2blk ($6.5mill last season)
9 Pau Gasol – UFA – C/PF – 7’0 – 250 – 33 – 17.4ppg–9.7rpg–3.4pg–1.5blk ($19.2mill last season)
T-10 Danny Granger – UFA – SF – 6’9 -230 – 31 – 8.2ppg – 3.2rpg – 1apg ($14.3mill last season)
Xavier Henry – UFA – SG/SF – 6’6 – 220 – 23 – 10ppg – 2.7rpg – 1.2apg ($916,000 last season)
After Cavs #1 pick Andrew Wiggins met the media and the fans at Cleveland Clinic Courts on Friday June 27th, I met up with Cavs general manager David Griffin to talk to him about what he has accomplished so far in his short time as the team’s G.M. from hiring David Blatt, Tyronn Lue and drafting Wiggins with the first overall pick.
1st Round – Pick #1 – Andrew Wiggins – 6’8 – 200 – FR – SG/SF – Kansas
17ppg – 6rpg – 1.5apg – 1.2st – 44.8%fg – 34.1%(3fg) – 77.5%ft
Grade – A
Love the pick. His athleticism is off the charts and that should help him flourish in the transition game of the NBA. He’s already a two-way player, so he’s going to help the Cavaliers on defense, where he’ll be able to guard three different positions.
On offense, the Cavs expect him to swing between the 2 and the 3, but as G.M. David Griffin said last night after the draft, “If Andrew finds greatness in this league, it’s going to be as a very big 2-guard.” His shot needs to become more consistent, but his form is fine. His handle will need to get better, but there are reports that he already has been working diligently on that. And lastly, he needs to be more aggressive on offense and not get lost in the mix. David Griffin addressed that last night saying, “Andrew understands there’s a level to his game that we’re expecting him to find and he really, really wants to achieve it. He knows he’s got more in the tank.” When I asked Wiggins last night about his passiveness on the offensive end, he told me, “You won’t have to worry about that next year” As far as Wiggins suit that he wore to the NBA Draft, he gets an A++ from me.
(Photo courtesy of Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
2nd Round – Pick #33 – Joe Harris – 6’6 – 225 – SR – SG – Virginia
12ppg – 3rpg – 2.3apg – 44.1%fg – 40%(3fg) – 64%ft
Grade – B
One of the best shooters in the draft. I’m happy the Cavs addressed their outside shooting needs and that’s where Harris excels. He can drain it from three and showed NBA range at Virginia, but is also a good shooter coming off screens. Harris has good size for a shooting guard and has another trait that G.M. David Griffin loves: a very high basketball IQ. Defensively, Harris will have some issues transitioning to the NBA and will need to improve in that area so he is not a liability on the floor. But lets not kid ourselves, he was drafted for his shooting ability and as long as he’s knocking down jumpers and giving effort on “D”, the Cavs will be happy.
2nd Round – Pick #45 (from Charlotte) – Dwight Powell – 6’11 – 240 – SR – PF/C – Stanford
14ppg – 7rpg – 3.1apg – 1.3st – 46.2%fg – 25.6(3fg) – 68.7%ft
(The Cavs reportedly are finalizing a trade with the Hornets for Powell. Alonzo Gee is being dealt and in return, the Cavaliers get Powell and center Brendan Haywood. The deal has not yet been approved by the league office.)
Grade – C+
The Cavs needed to get bigger in the post, but I was hoping for a true 7-foot center who’s calling card was defense. Powell will give you effort on defense, but he’s not the rim protector I was looking for like a Walter Tavarez (Spain). According the NBA’s draft guide, Powell is more known for his inside-outside game on offense. He is also a good passer and like fellow 2nd round pick Joe Harris, has a high basketball IQ.
For the second year in a row the Cleveland Cavaliers selected a Canadian born player with the first overall selection in the NBA Draft by picking Kansas small forward Andrew Wiggins. Last year’s G.M. Chris Grant shocked everybody by taking Anthony Bennett. This year the pick of Wiggins by new G.M. David Griffin does not come as a surprise. With the foot injury and surgery to Kansas center Joel Embiid, basketball executives figured Griffin would pick between Duke’s Jabari Parker and Wiggins and he did, with Wiggins being the choice.
Small Forward – 6′-8″ – 200lbs – Age – 19 – Kansas – FR.
Reach – 8’11 – Wingspan – 7’0 Max Vert – 44 inches
Season Averages:17.0 PPG-6.0 RPG-1.5 APG-44.8%FG-34.1%(3FG)- 77.5%FT
I asked Wiggins during a conference call with the Cleveland media after he was selected if the scouting reports on him not being aggressive enough on the court were fair? His response to that question was, “You won’t have to worry about that next year!”
When Wiggins was asked how good of a player he thinks he can be, he responded, “I think I can be a great player, I want to be one of the best.” He added, “That comes with hard work and dedication and sacrifice. That’s what I need to do to become the best.”
An athletic freak! His dad played in the NBA and his mom won medals in track in the Olympics for Canada, so his DNA is scary good. When you combine his 6’8 frame, 7-foot wing span and a 44 inch vertical jump, it’s crazy what he can do athletically on the court. His coach at Kansas Bill Self said he has the quickest second jump he’s ever seen, meaning he has the ability to bounce up and down like a pogo stick on the offensive boards and beat guys to the rebound for easy put backs. His transition game is above average. Imagine him filling the lanes on a fast break, getting from one end of the floor to the other and throwing down a tomahawk dunk!
He already knows how to play defense and wants to. How many college kids can you say that about? He uses that great athletic ability on the defensive end to guard 2’s, 3’s and some 4’s. So he’s ready to contribute right away on the defensive side of the ball.
Shoots it well from the free throw line and his jump shot is good, not a great. His pull up “J’ is solid, as is his intermediate jumper and he has decent range.
Penetrates well, has a very quick first step and the alley-oop out of bounds play is tailor made for him.
High character kid and a student of the game.
Must get stronger and add a few pounds to his frame.
His jump shot and his overall offensive game needs to be more consistent.
He can get lost in the shuffle out on the court at times because he needs to be more aggressive. Some teams are concerned that he’s too passive. That he doesn’t have that killer instinct or alpha dog mentality.
He needs to work on his ball handling which will allow him to attack the rim more in the half court set and make him a better passer. Going left off the dribble is a definite weakness and with his athletic ability he should finish better around the rim. But that should come when he gets stronger.
Has good form on his jumper, but it needs to be more consistent, especially from beyond the arc.
Reminds me of a taller version of one of the best two-way players I’ve ever seen in the NBA, Sidney Moncrief.
It looked like he was figuring things out at the end of the season for Kansas as he stepped his game up when Joel Embiid went down with a back injury as he had games of 41p-8r vs West Virginia, 30p-8r vs Oklahoma St., 22p-7r vs Iowa St. and 19p-4r versus Eastern Kentucky in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. But his final game at Kansas was a clunker. In the 3rd round of the NCAA tournament against Stanford he was held to just 4p-4r on 1 of 6 shooting from the field in a 60-57 loss to Stanford. That left some people wondering how could he disappear in the biggest game of the season? But he also showed his true character after the defeat saying, “I let a lot of people down. If I would have played better, we wouldn’t be in this situation, you know? I blame myself for this.”
He will need to become more consistent, aggressive and attack more on offense if he wants to reach that superstar level. But he has arguably the most upside/potential of anyone in this draft because of his athleticism, ability to play three positions, he already plays defense, is a hard worker, with a high basketball IQ and on top of all that is a good kid who will take well to coaching.
Wiggins is my favorite player in this draft and his coach at Kansas Bill Self told me he’s going to be a “Stud” in the NBA!