August 26, 2014

Thoughts Heading into the Wine & Gold Scrimmage

Cleveland fans will their first look at Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller and the rest of the 2012-13 Cavaliers this evening at the Wine & Gold scrimmage at The Q. Also their first look at Kyrie Irving: Year II. And Tristan Thompson and new guy CJ Miles. And Skinny Samardo Samuels. Skinny Samardo, everyone!

Can you tell I’m excited?

This disastrous Tribe season (God bless Jon, TD and the rest of you die-hards for sticking through til the end, I checked out just about here), coupled with the Browns’ dreadful 0-4 start (with a road game against the Super Bowl champs coming on Sunday. YAY!), I’m more than ready for some Cavalier basketball. I’m not alone, as the Cavs sold out of their free tickets for tonight’s scrimmage (but don’t fear, there’s another free game on Monday).

Here’s what I’ll be looking for during this battle between Team Wine and Team Gold:

I’ll be honest, not my main concern.

Dion Waiters: Waiters is the player that I’m most interested to see1. How does his game look? Does he take good shots? Does he pass well? Does he pass at all? Does he have a interest on the defensive end? And while I’m certainly hope he’s in shape, after reading this article about rookies and summer league, I’m not overly concerned about his post-draft weight.

Tristan Thompson: Thompson has been a workout warrior this offseason and I’m intrigued to see how his game has improved. Can he catch the ball on the move? How’s his handle? Post moves: smooth or awkward? Can he go up with his shot quickly or does it take awhile? As you can tell, I’m focusing on his offense. I have no real concerns with his defense or rebounding.

The crowd: I’m sorta blown away that the scrimmage sold out. Sure, the tickets were free but Cleveland isn’t exactly known as a basketball town2. I’m excited to see the energy level the crowd will bring (though these type of games can get fairly disjointed).

Daniel Gibson: I’m not really looking for anything with regard to Gibson. He is what he is at this point. I just wanted a reason to link to Scott’s awesome piece on Boobie.

Skinny Samardo Samuels: I really liked Samardo during his rookie year. I think he has the skills to play but there’s some between-the-ears issues. Following the lockout, Samardo came in out of shape and never really got going. It’s a good sign that’s he’s lost weight and is taking this seriously. Guys built like him (the Anthony Mason, Jerome Lane types) can have long NBA careers.

Kyrie Irving: Are you still awesome? Can you get awesomer? Will you care about defense, even just a little?

Anderson Varejao: As one of the oldest Cavs on the team, will he be a vocal leader during this practice? Or just (a very good) lead-by-example guy. I also want to see if he’ll be busting his butt and still flopping during a meaningless game.

Tyler Zeller: I hope Byron Scott sticks him on Kyrie’s team, just so we get to see Big Z II run the floor with his dynamic point guard. Asides from that, I’ll be interested to see how he plays either with or against Tristan Thompson. How Tristan and Tyler fit together will be an important part of the Cavs future.

CJ Miles: I’m sure I’ve seen him play at some point (the Jazz have been on TV, right?) but I have no real memory of him or his game. I’ll be interested to see how Miles fits in in with this team.  I assume he and Alonzo Gee will be on separate teams.

Alonzo Gee: I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure what I’ll be looking for with Gee. I just hope he plays well. Well, I hope he plays smart too.

Who wants to backup Kyrie Irving? I hope it’s Jeremy Pargo, simply because I like saying Pargo. Pargo Pargo Pargo Pargo. Looking at their training camp roster, the other likely candidate (asides from Gibson, for those of you who still view him as a point guard) is Donald Sloan. I liked what I saw from Sloan last season. He seemed mature and didn’t make a ton of mistakes.

Omri Cassipi: I hope he doesn’t get super down on himself every time he misses a shot. You can tell he’s trying and I hope summer play in Europe helped his confidence level. He can get too down on himself after he makes a mistake and it takes him out of plays (Samardo does this too. A lot of young guys do). Anything the Cavs get out of Casspi this season is a bonus.

The Q: How much of a game-day-feel is this thing going to have? I’m sure Moondog will be out and about, but will there be t-shirt cannons? Will the scoreboard be on? Will the scoreboard shoot flames? Will I be able to purchase beer?

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I’ll have more following the scrimmage and I’ll probably have a tweet or two while it’s going on.

The Cavs play their next exhibition game on Monday at 7:00 pm at The Q against Montepaschi Siena, an Italian team from the Euroleague. They’ll go against their first NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks, on Tuesday in Canton, at the Memorial Civic Center.

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Footnotes:

  1. which should make sense, given that he’s the Number 4 pick in the draft []
  2. although having LeBron James followed by Kyrie Irving is a great way to grow a fanbase []