While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at email@example.com.
From Grantland’s Indians’ team preview- “IF EVERYTHING BREAKS RIGHT: The Indians make the Tigers sweat. Detroit will be tough to beat after the addition of Fielder to a very good roster. But the rest of the division could feature three sub-.500 teams (the Royals are headed in the right direction, but their starting pitching is still iffy), giving the Tribe a chance to rack up a strong intradivision record. If that’s not enough to win the Central, it could be enough to contend for a wild card. Especially if each league adds a second wild card team this year (it’s February 23 — we still don’t know).
IF EVERYTHING GOES WRONG: Sizemore and Choo don’t bounce back, Chisenhall continues to scuffle, and the rest of the American League proves too tough to overcome. Even in that scenario, though, this still looks like a .500-or-better team.” [Keri/Grantland]
“I had hoped for this young group, centered around Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, to show signs of progress as this season went on. I wasn’t exactly sure what that would look like heading in, but in hindsight the evidence of such progress is tangible. Kyrie missed his first game winning shot against the Indiana Pacers, a lay-up that went around the rim and down just before popping out. Since then, he’s capitalized on approximately five game winning or game clinching shot opportunities. He’s become accustomed to going nuts in the 4th quarter, scored 17 points in that final period of the Cavaliers last win, and closed out teams like the Dallas Mavericks in that same fashion as well. More than the shots he has hit though, is his specific willingness to take them. Every time.” [Bowers/Stepien Rules]
“Lowe understands he will be looked upon for leadership, but also realizes he needs to balance those skills with his own job. “There is a fine line there,” Lowe said. “I have always enjoyed working with younger kids and just talking about the stuff that I have learned. But also with that being said, you’re here to do a job.” So leading by example is what Lowe wants to do, but he’ll have to correct whatever it was that contributed to his worst season in the big leagues. [Camino/WTAM]
I swear they do this every year. Anyone else find this fishy? “The Steelers are close to being under the salary cap after restructuring the contract of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Pittsburgh clears about $8 million by reworking Roethlisberger’s deal. This is the latest in a series of moves the Steelers need to make to get out of their $25 million salary-cap hole, but more work needs to get done if the Steelers want to retain wide receiver Mike Wallace.” [Hensley/AFC North Blog]
Someone’s interested in the new slam dunk format. This piece is worth checking out for the dunk videos- “So why is there any reason for positivity? For one, the new single round format might actually work. Call me crazy, but the multi-round format of previous years has ruined what could have been some great dunk contests. Take Andre Iguodala’s performance in the 2006 Slam Dunk Contest. His alley-oop from Allen Iverson caught off the back of the backboard was probably the best dunk from that year’s event, but it came in the penultimate round and Iguodala ultimately lost to the diminutive Nate Robinson in a dunk off. Robinson’s dunk over Spud Webb signaled the turn of the contest towards a weirdly meta, prop-based approach to the dunk contest. Plus it took him 14 attempts to put it in. Iguodala was, in short, robbed.” [McPherson/Hardwood Paroxysm]
“Grady Sizemore: When a player starts to get injured as frequently as Grady Sizemore has been the last few years—he’s played in just 210 of a possible 486 games since 2009, and barely more than 100 combined the past two—he begins to fade from your consciousness. So it was not until I was looking over Sizemore’s card that I remembered just how good he was. From 2006 through 2008, Sizemore put up a .879 OPS (130 OPS+) while averaging more than 30 steals per season at a better than 80 percent success rate, and playing excellent defense in center field besides. For that three-year period, he was arguably one of the five best players in the major leagues. Since then, injuries have relegated him to status as a forgotten man.” [Barbieri/Hardball Times]