April 19, 2014

Random Cavaliers Off-Season Thoughts

Now that Summer League has come and gone, things are probably going to be mostly quiet on the Cleveland Cavaliers homefront until training camp starts in late September/early October. Sure, the Cavaliers will likely sing restricted free agent Alonzo Gee at some point, they still have to decide whether or not to pick up Daniel Gibson’s team option (they probably will), and there’s always the chance of the Cavaliers being involved in some kind of trade. But for the most part, this is the quiet period for the team.

So in the meantime, while football is getting ready to start and baseball is going through all their trade deadline hoopla, here’s some random basketball thoughts to pass the time.

- I fully expect an Alonzo Gee deal to be done in same shape or form, whether it be simply Gee signing his qualifying offer for 1 season or the two parties agreeing to a multi-year deal. I also fully expect the Cavaliers to pick up Daniel Gibson’s option. The $4.792 million price tag isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s not a huge burden either.

Gibson and Anderson Varejao are the only remaining links to the LeBron era, and with that Gibson still brings some veteran experience and leadership that the team is lacking with the departure of Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker. We know Gibson’s peak, and it’s more or less an average SG with the ability to fill in a few minutes here and there at PG. But Gibson has also become a vastly improved defensive player and was one of the few players who really showed a lot of effort on that end of the court last season. I don’t see any reason for the Cavaliers not to bring back Gibson this season.

- So what will the Cavaliers roster look like this season? Well, to begin with, here’s the breakdown of players with a chance of making the team in training camp, at least as I see it today:

  1. Anderson Varejao
  2. Luke Walton
  3. Kyrie Irving
  4. Daniel Gibson
  5. Tristan Thompson
  6. Dion Waiters
  7. Alonzo Gee
  8. Omri Casspi
  9. Tyler Zeller
  10. Luke Harangody
  11. Jeremy Pargo
  12. Kelenna Azubuike
  13. Samardo Samuels
  14. Kevin Jones
  15. Donald Sloan
  16. Jon Leuer

The Cavaliers can keep 13-15 players. The 11 locks (i.e., fully guaranteed contracts) to make the team are Andy, Walton, Kyrie, Gibson, Thompson, Waiters, Gee, Casspi, Zeller, Harangody, and Pargo. That leaves 5 guys (Azubuike, Samuels, Jones, Sloan, Leuer) fighting for 2-4 spots.

I’m going to guess that Sloan will be the odd man out. I thought for sure he did enough in Summer League to warrant getting first shot at backing up Kyrie. But with the acquisition of Pargo on a guaranteed contract, I’m not sure the Cavaliers will want to carry another PG. I think Leuer and Samuels are virtual locks to make the team. Azubuike will come down to his health, and the same with Jones. If healthy, Jones will have a chance to show why many thought he would have been and should have been drafted.

If the Cavaliers decide they do like Sloan, one option would be to cut either Azubuike or Jones (my guess would be Jones) and keep Sloan but send him to the D-League to start the season.

- What kind of team will the Cavaliers be? Young and inexperienced for sure. I really think this team is going to struggle on defense as well. Yes, Tristan Thompson has the athleticism to be a great defender, but in the Summer League he didn’t show a whole lot of improvement in his footwork and discipline from last season. Zeller looks to struggle with foul trouble, Kyrie was a liability last season (hopefully he’s going to begin to show improvement there this season), Waiters has a lot of work to do on defense. Obviously Varejao is an elite defender when healthy, and Gee is a pretty solid defender. Gibson has been pretty good on defense the last couple years. Beyond that, though, there are a lot of questions and issues on defense.

On offense, we know Byron Scott wants his team to run. In their last year under Mike Brown, the Cavaliers were 24th in Pace (94.1 possessions per 48 minutes). In Coach Scott’s first season the Cavaliers jumped to 11th in the NBA in pace (93.0) and last year they were 14th in the league (91.3). Pace Factor doesn’t tell the whole story, but obviously the focus on playing faster is there.

The one thing the team lacked last season, though, was an offensive identity. If Kyrie wasn’t creating on offense, nobody ever seemed to know what to do. Their spacing was atrocious as was their shot selection, which lead to them finishing 29th in eFG% and 24th in offensive rating (points per 100 possessions). The team still sorely lacks outside shooters who can help spread the floor. That’s going to be a very serious problem.

I expect to see a young athletic team that tries to run and attack the rim as much as possible. I expect to see vast amounts of pick and roll, with Kyrie and Waiters trading off ball handling responsibilities. Both Andy and Zeller are excellent at operating the pick and roll, and Kyrie and Waiters are both capable of making plays happen out of those sets. It gives the Cavaliers a lot of versatility and the ability to quickly reverse plays to try to create and take advantage of mismatches.

- What should we expect/want for this season? Playoffs? I think we need to hold off on playoff thoughts. Unless Dion Waiters really is Dwyane Wade1, the Cavaliers having glaring problems. Where is the shooting on this team? How will they handle perimeter defense, especially against larger backcourts? Rookies tend to struggle and take time to acclimate to the professional game. Dion Waiters showed us in Summer League he has a lot of work to do to be an impact NBA player. These things take time.

I don’t think the Cavaliers are going to be a very good team. If Anderson Varejao stays healthy all year, the Cavaliers might make some noise and beat some teams. But he’s always an injury liability and could be traded at any point. No, I don’t think playoffs will be a factor yet. In fact, if Kyrie and Andy miss extended time again this season, I expect the Cavaliers to be right near the top of the lottery again. And you know what? That’s ok. Until the Cavaliers are ready to make a bold move up the ranks, I’m content to keep collecting high draft picks. At some point the team has to start showing improvement. I’m just not sure it will be this season.

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. I hate this comparison so much….so unfair to Waiters []

  • floydrubino

    Another example of you being wrong. Hopefully he can develop into a poor man’s Bruce Bowen but that’s it.

  • mgbode

    eric snow was signed under Gilbert’s reign? wait, he was signed?
    Shaq was signed for $20mil? that wasn’t a contract we traded for?
    DW had a weak outside shot? Does Duke know that?

    and on and on and on and on

  • mgbode

    and hickson did so well for the kings that they cut him

  • mgbode

    and yet you refused to ever name those players except those above. to say there were 19 players in that draft better than TT is ridiculous

  • floydrubino

    They signed Eric Snow to a new contract after gilbert got there for a ridiculous amount of money. I don’t even understand your rhetoric about Shaq.
    Derrick Williams has an average outside shot. He is too small to play inside. He shot around 25% from 3 point range this year. It’s funny when you make points that you think are obviously right and your still wrong. He had 1 good game and you think he’s a great shooter. Good logic. Plus did you hear that the nba line is farther back than college. Didn’t know if you knew that.

  • floydrubino

    You can’t figure out that pretty much the first 20 players I would of taken ahead of TT. I have to name 5-20 or you just can’t figure out that I would of taken the guys picked ahead of him. Look at that years draft and read the list and pretty much everyone to #20 I would of taken.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    You are flat out lying now. The 76ers gave Snow his contract and then traded him to Cleveland. The Cavaliers never signed Snow to a contract. He was always playing under the extension the Sixers gave him.

  • mgbode

    we didn’t sign Snow (and it was Gund/Paxson when we traded for him).

    we didn’t sign Shaq (we traded for him)

    Derrick Williams shot 57% from 3pt land in college (taking 2 shots per game, so it’s not like he didn’t take them). What he did as a rookie has nothing to do with the draft since it happened AFTER the draft. Explain how that is a “weak outside shot” when scouting him for that draft.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    As players, other than playing PF, they could not be more different. Hickson likes to shoot from outside on offense and has no post game. Thompson, while worse on offense, plays entirely inside and actually has post moves (which isn’t saying much). On defense it’s no contest… Hickson doesn’t play defense and Thompson does. Thompson is a shot-blocker and Hickson is not. What they didn’t get to replace Hickson was a player anything like Hickson.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    My comment to mgbode was slight tongue and cheek, it didn’t translate.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    No I knew he was the son of the once PF for the Lakers what I didn’t realize were the some of the statistics he was putting up mainly 3PT which a few of my fantasy teams needed.

  • floydrubino

    Once again you obviously can’t read that well. I said they were the same players performance wise not their game type. That means you will get 8 to 10 points and close to 10 rebounds a game from either 1. Thanks on the lesson of captain obvious stuff. I thought since I said performance wise(results if you still don’t understand) I wouldn’t have to ramble on. Let me say it again so you understand fully you are gonna get 8-10 points from Hickson and Thompson. You are gonna get 8-10 rebounds from Hickson and Thompson. If they traded away Hickson and don’t get more than that out of Thompson it is a stupid trade and draft pick. Casspi is horrible so he isn’t a factor and the 2nd rounder that we will eventually end up with from the Kings isn’t worth passing on true talent at #4 than wasting it on TT if you already have Hickson on the team.

  • floydrubino

    Yes and the Kings organization is known for it’s incredible decision making.

  • floydrubino

    Because every expert said his outside game wasn’t good enough at the next level. The fact that he only took 2 shows it’s not a strength or he would of gone to it more. It was definitely out there that he had glaring weaknesses in his game.

  • mgbode

    you sir, are funny. anyways, here’s a scouting report from nba.com:
    A super combination of athleticism and strength coupled with a strong outside
    shooting game.
    Will be one of the better outside shooters for a power
    forward in the NBA. Will space the floor well and move the opposing bigs to the
    outside.
    http://www.nba.com/jazz/news/David_Locke_2011_scouting_reports_derrick_williams.html

    biggest questions were if he could transition to SF and if he played good enough defense. who questions a 57% 3pt shooter on their outside game?

  • floydrubino

    Lying. Way to make it sound so extreme. I might be wrong about how Snow got there but I’m going off memory from 10 years ago. They made him team captain in 2007 so they obviously liked him. He was awful. There might be details that I get wrong from 10 years ago because a lot of time I go off memory. If they were in that contract already fine who cares. There I’m wrong about the facts. He still kept him 3 years to long with that contract if he was locked into it. Why don’t you tell me one thing Gilbert has done right other than Kyrie. If I inherited the team I would of cut Snow the 1st chance I got so it doesn’t matter how it got done the facts are still the same that they kept him and I would of cut him the day I got the team. So I still would have done it differently.

  • floydrubino

    There is where you don’t get it. They say better shooter for a power forward. He’s not a power forward. And the power forwards that he is competing with are horrible shooters. The stuff I read was how he was a tweener and he wasn’t going to be big enough inside to play and a good enough shooter from the outside to play a 3.

  • mgbode

    yeah, most teams wouldn’t cut a player who is shooting 37%FG and refuses to play defense

  • mgbode

    keep trying to twist despite all evidence showing the opposite.

    the problem with DW possibly transitioning to SF was he was a tweener who might not be able to defend SFs quickness or PFs girth.

    and, there are plenty of good shooting PFs in the NBA nowadays. Love, R.Anderson, David West, et cetera. Stretch-4′s are all the rage.

    Here’s another scouting profile for you to read (1st strength: outside shooting):
    http://nbaplaybook.com/2011/07/12/draft-pick-scouting-report-2-derrick-williams/

    Williams is a set shooter, and his form is very easy, very smooth, and it is
    the type of shooting form that can allow Williams to take it a few steps back
    and transition to shooting behind the NBA three point line (probably not at the
    same rate as college though).

  • mgbode

    you were challenged that Snow was signed by the Cavs when he was traded for by Gund/Paxson. When this was brought to light, you responded with:
    “They signed Eric Snow to a new contract after gilbert got there for a ridiculous amount of money.”

    So, you completely made that up.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Haha, gotcha floyd… so points and rebounds accurately show that one player is as good as another player and offers the same thing. Nevermind the defensive side of the ball. Nevermind that players have to account for Thompson in the paint when driving to the hoop, but not Hickson. Got it.

  • floydrubino

    Look how you get excited about inconsequential things and then overhype them when it ultimately means nothing in the discussion. The question was initially what would you do differently than gilbert. Who cares how snow got there I would of cut him with one of my first moves. Oh no I messed up that he was signed to a 7 year contract and gilbert didn’t cut him until the last year. He still kept him for his whole contract and even made him a captain.Ultimately it still means I would of still handled the situation differently than Gilbert by not wasting a roster spot on snow immediately.You are just like most of these people on this site that burn energy on pointless side items and don’t understand the core of the discussion. You will focus on some meaningless side item because you have nothing else interesting to say. If you don’t understand how ultimately it means nothing in the discussion because I would of still handled the eric snow situation differently it wouldn’t surprise me. The only 2 things I got wrong were I forgot about a contract that happened over 10 years ago and the year Gordon Haywood was drafted. Oooooooh you really got me. Get a clue. Yeah keep focusing on ridiculously insignificant things.

  • floydrubino

    Hey good job trying to cram a square peg into a round circle to make a point. You were waiting for any opportunity to try to use it. Both players are average at best. Go ahead and search for things to plug into but what I said was that stats don’t always tell the whole picture not it is a rule that it’s always like that like your trying to make it seem like to prove a point. Way to go to take every thing I post to ridiculous extremes to try to belittle my points in future posts. So look up what I said and where was it that I said that every single time you can never compare stats. What I said was stats don’t tell the whole picture and different players are called on for different things. What I said was that if TT was the #2 option on a team and another player was the 5th option you can’t compare the 2. So you and a couple other geniuses on this site tries to misconstrue things that I have said to your own advantage and pick and choose only certain parts without telling the complete thought. Got it.

  • floydrubino

    wow look how well he played in portland. It’s weird when you put a player in the right circumstance how they can perform.

  • floydrubino

    That’s hilarious that you told me not to twist things and then you wrote exactly what I just said why scouts didn’t like him.And then it’s even funnier that you defend good power forward shooters with David West who is 35 years old. Yeah if David West is an example there must be a lot of good shooting power forwards.

  • mgbode

    I have agreed with you from the start on the tweener designation for DW. But, he was pegged good at outside shooting by scouts, which you don’t believe. It’s that gross mischaracterization where I find fault.

    David West is 31yo, not 35. And, he’s a good player (among my favorite non-Cavs, which is why I included him).

    other good shooting PFs (outside Love, Ryan Anderson, D.West): Aldridge, Thaddeus Young, David Lee, Garnett, Pau Gasol

    Purely 3pt shooting guys: Novak, Ilyasova, Bonner

    And I could go on, but this is just getting silly, no? The PF position is one with a premium on the ability to hit outside shots these days.

  • mgbode

    yeah, all he needed was the realization that he was about to be out of the NBA and without a NBA contract to bother trying. color me skeptical that he will be able to sustain that for longer than 19 games.

    (and, I really liked Hickson’s skillset. he has all the natural talent in the world, but just doesn’t seem to care, clashed with 3 different coaches on 2 different teams now, and never learned how to play defense)

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    There are these things called guaranteed contracts, bud. You can’t just cut anyone you want to in the NBA.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    So it’s all of us that are being ridiculous and misconstruing things, but it’s not you. Sounds like you’re in constant denial, my friend.

  • mgbode

    and add that Gilbert has also allowed Grant to take back more $$ in deals post-LeBron in order to obtain more assets (Baron Davis / Mo deal to gain what became the Kyrie pick, Luke Walton / Ramon deal to gain Lakers top pick + right to swap Miami’s with LALs in 2013).

  • mgbode

    cutting a guaranteed contract means you still pay him. it’s hard to discuss the larger points without an understanding of how things work in the NBA.

    it is okay to forget. no worries, I do it and get corrected too. but, when corrected, to continue to push incorrect information also makes it quite difficult to discuss matters.

  • floydrubino

    I have said over and over again that I don’t remember everything from years ago because I could care less to look up a contract that happened over 10 years ago. The NBA never has 7 year contracts so I assumed they signed him because he got payed until 2009. And as for cutting him bud so you know for sure that there was language in the contract that he had to hold a roster spot until 2008. Because if you don’t you are assuming this and then you are a hypocrite at a comical level. Because I didn’t know that there are 7 year contracts where the player has to hold a roster spot for that whole 7 years. They cut him in 2008 so there must have not been that language in the contract I assume.You know why I assume because I’m not going to spend a half an hour looking up the language of eric snow’s contract.
    Everything you mentioned as for Dan Gilbert has done right has nothing to do with basketball but ways to make Dan Gilbert richer off using lebron if he stayed here. I specifically said other than Kyrie name something right he has done. The pick up of Davis was a no brainer because they were throwing in their 1st round pick and we had like 30 million to spend. Him paying 40 million is a joke because he was going to make almost a billion give or take 100 million dollars if lebron stayed his whole career. 8 more years of lebron would of been crazy profits for his casino and the cavs because downtown would be hopping 41 nights a year plus the playoffs. He did this for money not because he’s a great person and owner.
    And you know for sure that Dan Gilbert doesn’t have any decision making in draft picks and trades. Because several quotes from agents made it sound like if you deal with the cavs you deal with Gilbert.
    And it’s ridiculous for you to say to build a community. If you don’t see how this is an insult to fans than you are oblivious. We have already built the community the owners not putting a winning product on the field is what is tearing it down. So around 50 years of unbridled support without winning a championship isn’t enough for these owners.
    So go ahead and go to your eric snow reference for awhile or something else that is stupid but I could care less because from your posts I already know your depth of knowledge on the important stuff like player, coach, and owner performance which is the only part that I personally care about. You think I care that I forgot eric snow’s contract details from over 10 years ago. Your right I assumed that we signed him because I didn’t think anyone was dumb enough to give him a 7 year contract.
    I know most of these pea brained followers of yours is going to defend their damsel in distress but I think it’s hilarious that you blow up a minor memory mistake and try to turn it into a bigger deal than what it is because ultimately you have no substance to your stuff just monday morning quarterbacking and wrong assessments on performances from execs because you make a couple hundred bucks a month selling tickets probably.
    And once again I have never met one intelligent person that capitalizes whole sentences. That’s a fact not an assumption.

  • floydrubino

    What incorrect info am i pushing. I assumed we signed him because people don’t get 7 year contracts in the nba for the most part. And then I said I would of cut him regardless of how he was signed for this long. How is this pushing wrong info.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Yeah, because it really takes an Eric Snow reference guide to remember that the Cavaliers traded for Eric Snow and that he was never a free agent after that.

    I don’t expect you to memorize everything. But if you don’t know something, don’t go around spouting a bunch of lies about it. You claimed as a fact that after Gilbert bought the team they signed Eric Snow “for a ridiculous amount of money”. That’s not a memory error. It’s a complete lie.

    Yes, I know for a fact that Gilbert is not involved in making player selection choices. Since you don’t believe me, I encourage you to email any beat writer and ask them.

    As for Snow’s contract, I know the CBA. Eric Snow’s contract was signed as an extension, and was thus fully guaranteed. Meaning, you can’t cut him without still paying his entire salary and having it count against your salary cap. So what difference would cutting Snow have made? His money would still have counted against the Cavs and they still would have been over the cap and thus unable to spend on a quality free agent.

    You can keep insulting my intelligence and our fellow readers’ intelligence all you want, but it’s not making you look any smarter. Actually, you know what? No you can’t. Next time you insult someone with personal attacks, you’re getting banned. If you want to argue the facts, and point out what facts you think are wrong, that’s fine. But this is your final warning to cool it on the personal attacks on everyone around here.

    Go back and read my response. I didn’t make a single personal attack on you or your intelligence. I merely pointed out that you are factually wrong about the Cavaliers signing Eric Snow, and you are factually wrong about saying Dan Gilbert is the one signing players and drafting them. mgbode has not insulted you once, yet you continuously insult him in your responses. So again, if you want to disagree with us, disagree with us. There are plenty of people who disagree with me on this site and we have fruitful discussions about it without insults and personal attacks. So go ahead and disagree. But the next time you insult someone and call them “pea brains” or “oblivious” or “unintelligent”, you’re going to get banned.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Indeed, another excellent point. I expect we will see more of this in the future as well.

  • floydrubino

    No what you do is blow things out of proportion and call me a liar when it is an easy mistake to assume. We paid eric snow 7 million in 2008 and 2009 and we got him in 2002. If you don’t see how someone could assume that we gave him a contract when we made him team captain in 2007 I get it. Like I said before I would of cut him immediately. Like you said we already were going to pay him so why would you play this guy and even make him captain when he is a playing liability. Get rid of him and develop another player. Same thing with Anthony Parker and jamario Moon. And you sound ridiculous saying you personally know Dan Gilbert’s every day operations. That’s funny that you and some beat writers think they know how business is handled behind closed doors. You sound like Dan Gilbert in the letter so now I know why you think he has done a good job. All Dan Gilbert did was basically blow the best chance this city ever had to win a championship by squeezing every dollar out of lebron that he could and acting like it was his decisions and business that was making the cavs more profitable. No it was only lebron bringing value not gilbert and he was called out on it by lebron and he acted like a baby and now he can’t use us and lebron to make him even richer. What amazes me is that Gilbert hires Ferry and Grant so even if I am wrong(which everyone knows gilbert has his nose in everything) he still has kept these people in jobs and what does our roster have to show for it for the last 9 years other than Kyrie. Go ahead and ban me I could care less because I knew when you were even challenged that you would handle your business like this because when someone doesn’t play right you take your ball home child.

  • floydrubino

    Oh and by the way the stuff that you are so passionate about (contract details and stuff) is stuff I would have my secretary look up. So you would make a good secretary.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Stay classy, Floyd.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I addressed every single one of your issues above. You just choose to not believe me. So whatever. I don’t know what else I can do. But again, I did it without resorting to insults. Something you can’t help yourself from doing even warned to stop it.

    Enjoy the NBA season, my friend.

  • mgbode

    sigh.ok, to rehash:

    Floyd: Do you want me to start with the ridiculousness of signing eric snow or more recent signing of shaq for 20 million

    **after I stated that neither Snow nor Shaq was signed and Snow was traded for before Gilbert owned the team**

    Floyd: They signed Eric Snow to a new contract after gilbert got there for a
    ridiculous amount of money. I don’t even understand your rhetoric about
    Shaq.

    **it’s fine in the initial post to get it wrong. it happens. but, if someone corrects you, then you might want to make sure you have your info correct before going back to that well.

    And I even let go the fact that you kept saying we got Snow in 2002 (it was 2004) and the harping over him being a team captain in 2007 meant we really liked him as a player rather than acknowledging that he was a good leader (Mike Brown even made him part of his staff after he retired)

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Yeah, but surely it was Dan Gilbert who named Eric Snow captain, anyway. You don’t know!

  • sgtkickarse

    I have no idea what that Floyd dude was trying to say. From the signing Eric snow to ridiculous amounts of money to signing Shaq for 20 mil when he only got 1 mil the next season from the Celtics, all of that is wrong.

    I do think the Front Office has made some mistakes. But show me a team which hasn’t. At the time, I thought Tristan was an odd and maybe even bad choice. But I haven’t seen enough evidence of anyone else at a position of need who has played so much better. And when John Hollinger, one of the few ESPN guys I actually respect, did his “re-draft” a year later in order of how guys should have been drafted based on their play that first year; he had Tristan going 2nd. So when a guy who watches way more basketball than I do says something like that, I would tend to give more validity to that then some poster on this site who gives completely wrong information as facts and then insults anyone who disagrees with him and points out the areas where he was wrong.

    I don’t think this year I would have taken Waiters at 4. Nor would I have traded three picks for Zeller. But that is all in a reactionary short term viewpoint. Maybe after one year of play, we will look back on the draft and say two of the bigger steals of the draft were Waiters and Zeller. I sure hope that is what happens.

    But I hope we can have discussions on this site without people getting into name calling and insults. It’s childish and shouldn’t have a place here. We are all supposedly fans of the same teams, so we should at least be able to find some common ground with that right?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Exactly. I’m not sold on Tristan or Waiters. The Cavs front office has made plenty of mistakes over the year. But there’s no need to make up stuff and insult everyone on this site. It’s completely uncalled for.

  • Jack Brickman

    Wait…is floydrubino Leo Flor-whatever from Bleacher Report? He has the same writing style, makes the exact same arguments, frequently gets facts wrong but pretends he’s right even in the fact of actual evidence to the contrary, and just generally doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I think we’ve got a match!