July 30, 2014

While We’re Waiting … BDL Previews Cavs, Colts Scouting Report, Jack Hannahan’s Future

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 tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Kickstarting their annual team previews, KD begins with at least some more optimistic words this year about Kyrie the Kid: “The Cleveland Cavaliers, once again, are a farm team. But unlike the one that put up with LeBron James’ growing pains and hanger-on demands before he skirted off to Miami, this one is essentially acting as a growing field for whatever the team’s front office decides will come next. The team’s rotation is almost entirely filled with players on rookie scale contracts, and while a good chunk of those youngsters won’t bowl you over, they have enough star guard Kyrie Irving to make up for any misgivings you might have about two-through-12.

Irving is an unabashed star. You could probably score on him in a pick and roll, and he doesn’t have John Stockton’s career assists record shaking in its mid-cut sneakers, but the kid is an All-Star level scorer and game-changer. … The other youngsters have a lot of explainin’ to do, though.” [Kelly Dwyer/Ball Don't Lie]

A fun back-and-forth begins with this skeptical outlook of Dion Waiters: “Look, I’m an optimistic guy. I was convinced LeBron would never leave Cleveland. If you dig hard enough, I’m sure you can find a post from my old blog where I predicted the Cavs would make the playoffs when he did leave because of JJ Hickson’s development. I thought the Indians were a lock for the World Series in 2008 after doing absolutely nothing during that offseason. I saw Revenge of the Sith on opening night. I’ve convinced myself of more than my fair share of totally absurd shit. That said, I’m freaking the hell out over Dion Waiters. Questionable (at best) shot selection, erratic drives to the rim, an ugly shot, limited range, the whole manner in which he was drafted, his past behavioral issues, all of it. I’m worried man. Talk me off the ledge.” [Angelo Benedetti/Fear The Sword]

An intriguing positive fantasy perspective on the Browns. You don’t hear that too often: “The Cleveland Browns may have only one victory this season, but in fantasy terms, this team has turned out some reliable contributors, and they’re all rookies. Brandon Weeden has tossed a pair of touchdown passes in each of his last two starts despite having two of his starting receivers watching from the sideline. As a bye week replacement, you could probably do worse seeing how Weeden takes on a soft Indianapolis Colts secondary that has failed to surrender two or more touchdown passes just once in five games.” [Jason and Justin Sablich/The New York Times' Fifth Down Blog]

Planning for the Colts begins with that No. 1 pick: “#1 – Going All-In For Andrew Luck: The decision to cut ties with Peyton Manning and banking on Andrew Luck being “the next elite quarterback” in the NFL was a major storyline this offseason. This isn’t a pick that can be evaluated fully in its first season. Luck has not shined above and beyond the other quarterbacks in this year’s class; even Brandon Weeden is having a comparable season to Luck thus far. … There are a few things to take into consideration with Luck: he is going to throw the ball…a lot. He is averaging 44 pass attempts per game, but he’s only completing 55 percent of those attempts.” [Chris Pokorny/Dawgs By Nature]

Hammerin’ Hannahan time might be over in Cleveland: “Jack Hannahan‘s days in Cleveland are likely numbered. At least, they should be. Hannahan, a journeyman third baseman, was picked up by the Indians before the 2011 season. He was tabbed to be a stop gap at the hot corner as well as a defensive specialist on a club seemingly with plenty of offense. Two seasons later, Hannahan is no longer needed as a bridge to the future. Young prospect Lonnie Chisenhall, if he can stay healthy, appears ready to be the everyday third baseman. The Chiz Kid’s bat, much stronger than that of the 32-year-old’s, is now needed in a batting order that has great need for a quality hitter or three.” [Craig Gifford/Did The Tribe Win Last Night?]

Surprising source here, but Boston scribe Dan Shaughnessy shares his thoughts on Terry Francona’s impact in Cleveland: “‘He believes in Mark Shapiro (president) and Chris Antonetti (GM) and what they are doing. You’ve got to have a roster and a payroll. It takes talent. Since the Indians took him on, he’s been harder to find. He’s been going at it 24/7 right from day one.’” [Bill Lucey/Huffington Post]

Preseason rankings spark Big Ten basketball storylines: “1. The Big Ten Is Under Immense Pressure: The good old phrase, “there is nowhere to go but down,” applies in this situation. Nobody is surprised to see Indiana ranked #1 but the Buckeyes and Wolverines’ rankings may raise some eyebrows. Both of those teams return three key starters from last season – Aaron Craft, Deshaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith, Jr., for OSU and Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Jordan Morgan for Michigan. Returning starters and potential All-Americans will trigger a high preseason ranking but three teams in the top five is still a big deal for the league. Having said that, if any of the three teams slip during the early non-conference games, they will slide down the rankings fairly quickly which will eventually lead to “the Big Ten is still overrated” claims among many hoops fans.” [Rush The Court]