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Good take on Cleveland’s rookies- “Kyrie has essentially met or surpassed all my expectations in his first 8 games. There have been bumps, but that’s to be expected for a rookie, particularly one who played only 11 games in college. In the last five games (the first five of January) Kyrie has averaged .500 on threes (which includes last night’s 0-3) and .476 on the rest – impressive considering he wasn’t particularly heralded for his shooting abilities as much as his vision and smarts. Additionally his defense – lateral movement, switching off the P&R, ability to keep his man in front of him – is extremely impressive for someone so young, and he’s even averaged a block a game. He’s also been pretty good with the ball in his hands, averaging 5.1 assists per game (an average that came down due to his low assist total last night) with only 3 turnovers a game, which isn’t too shabby for a guy still learning the pace of the NBA game.
With Kyrie, I only have a few minor reservations. Irving has a tendency to, if he starts slow, go completely cold from the field. When he’s good, he’s great, but, as we saw in those two games against Toronto, he’s capable of complete meltdowns. Kyrie has also had some slight problems with ill-advised passes to inside men. Once or twice a game it’s not unusual to see Kyrie, while pushing the pace down the floor, dish the ball down low despite two or three of the opposing team’s defenders standing in the way, well aware of what’s coming. But, as I’ve always said, this is a very young, inexperienced player we’re talking about. He’ll only get better, smarter, and more consistent, and I think the final results will be very very good.” [Factor/Cavs the Blog]
“Maybe the flurry of activity is waiting on Prince’s deal (and that looks like it will be in the nation’s capital, perhaps making Adam LaRoche or Chris Marrero an option…but that’s another story), but after Pujols had more than a few suitors, the 1B market has certainly hit a dry patch. With the Cubs acquiring Anthony Rizzo and the Padres netting Yonder Alonso (neither of whom interested me all that much as a 2011 solution, largely because of the bitter LaPortian taste in my mouth regarding top 1B prospects and the idea that Rizzo and Alonso are still just that…prospects), some teams looking for 1B this off-season have moved to get their “1B of the Future”. But that means the options who represent the “1B of the Present” (Fielder, Pena, Kotchman, and Lee) are still basically out there, just with fewer suitors that had a hole that needed to be filled at 1B.
What does that mean for the Indians? Well, it means that they might be able to essentially wait this out and sign whatever player (not named Prince) is still left standing in this game of Musical Chairs once the music stops or they could target one of Pena, Kotchman, or Lee as soon as Fielder signs to act quickly and add the 1B that is so obviously lacking on this roster, something brought into clearer focus with all of this talk about platooning inferior options (Duncan, Brantley, Donald, etc.) at 1B.” [Cousineau/The DiaTribe]
Still can’t believe he said that- “In his most recent press conference, when asked about the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Cleveland Browns generalmanager Tom Heckert said, “It’s gonna be tough to screw that one up, I think.” Browns fans are certainly hoping that will be the case, as the team is in desperate need of another solid crop of draft picks. With the No. 4 and No. 22 picks in the first round of the upcoming draft, the Browns have a rare opportunity to stock up on playmakers. But, as everyone knows, there are no sure things when it comes to the NFL Draft.” [DiMatteo/Dawg Pound Daily]
Did Monday’s game change your mind? “While those CB cores are fantastic on paper, the reality of the situation is that the cornerback position is not going to generate the plays that will win you games on a consistent basis. Don’t get me wrong, great corners are good to have, and are on some of the best teams in the league, including but not limited to Carlos Rogers, Ike Taylor, Johnathan Joseph, and Charles Woodson. But none of those teams are over invested in that one position. I understand that the cornerbacks are not at all the reason for the Jets’ and Eagles’ disappointing seasons. My point is this: having 1 elite CB, 1 great CB, and 1 good CB is not a key to success. In the potential case for the Browns, having two recent top 10 draft picks invested in CB is too much, most especially when we have so many gaping holes elsewhere on this team. Even if Mo Claiborne turned out to be just as great as Joe Haden, he is not going to win us any more games on a consistent basis in the years to come.” [Dawgs by Nature]
Oh Ricky Davis, you are so fine- “The Red Claws are led by former NBA stalwart Ricky Davis as he takes his triple-double getting talents to the D-League while looking for a second chance at the NBA. Considering he’s only 32 and once averaged better than 20 points in the big leagues, he should be a shoo-in, but that unfortunately hasn’t looked to be the case thus far as he’s averaging just six points on 32 percent shooting through his first six games back in the states. The Skyforce have a familiar name leading their squad, too, with Anthony Mason averaging over 17 points per game for the South Dakota based team. Mason, the junior of the former Knicks forward with the same name, scored a season-high 26 points in Sioux Falls’ last game to lead all scorers.” [Schroeder/Pro Basketball Talk]