While We’re Waiting… One step at a time

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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.

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“How about Dion’s improvement in shot distribution? In December, he took 30 of his 114 field goals from inside of three feet, approximately 26% of his attempts, and only lined up for one freebie of every seven shots from the field. In January, those numbers increase to 54 of 156 shots attempted at the rim (35% of tries), and a free throw per three field goal attempts. This helped turn around his appalling 39% true shooting in December, into 52% in January, a completely respectable mark for a high-usage guard that turned 21 last month. Tonight was not a good night for Dion though; he is alternating good & bad games. He picked-up four fouls in his first eight minutes of play, turned the ball over three times in the third quarter, missed a completely-all-alone layup, and shot 3 of 10 with a couple of ill-advised jumpers. Maybe he stayed out too late last night. Reasonably aggressive though, he did take six of his shots inside 8 feet, but never received the benefit of a foul call. In a plus/minus anomaly, he finished a team best +15.” [Hetrick/Cavs the Blog]

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“Rondo’s misfortune may be Jrue Holliday or Kyrie Irving’s gain. The two Eastern Conference reserve All-Star point guards are both having excellent seasons. Holliday has had a fun career to watch thus far, steadily improving each season to the point that he now is a bona fide star. Still only 22 years old, he is averaging over 19 points and 8 assists per game while playing pretty good defense. His Player Efficiency Rating has jumped from 14.7 last season, to 19.4 in 2012-2013. With Andrew Bynum out, Philadelphia has a serious talent deficit, and Holliday has helped the team weather the post-Iguodala era respectably.

He isn’t, however, better than Kyrie Irving. Irving is 6th in the league in scoring, and does it with remarkable efficiency. He is excellent in the fourth quarter, and his Player Efficiency Rating is 22.9 which ties him with Russell Westbrook for 10th in the NBA. He is shooting 41% from three point range, and 85% from the line. Overall, he is shooting 47.5%. There isn’t a weakness to his offensive game, and his defense is much improved from his rookie season. Hopefully Irving gets the nod. His strong play this week has certainly gotten noticed by the national media.” [Zavac/Fear the Sword]

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Ranking brother pairs with the Tribe- “2) Roberto and Sandy Alomar (1999-2000) – Sandy played catcher for the Indians from 1990 to 2000. Roberto was the Tribe’s second baseman from 1999 to 2001, so they were together on the team for two full seasons. During 1999 and 2000, Sandy played just 134 games, but was still a league-average hitter, as catchers go. Roberto’s time in Cleveland was arguably the peak of his career. In the two years he played with his brother, Roberto had an OPS of .903, played in two All-Star Games, won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers, and finished 3rd in the 1999 A.L. MVP voting.” [Lukehart/Let's Go Tribe]

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“The obvious followup: When it comes to Dawson, what’s to look at? He has been the pro’s pro in Cleveland since 1999, persevering through lousy team after lousy team. He’s not just an all-time great Brown, he’s an all time great kicker — he’s made 84 percent of his kicks in some of the worst conditions in the league.

And it’s not a question of age, either. As Dawson ages, he gets better. The past two seasons he’s 14-of-15 form 50 yards plus, and 53-of-60 overall. He is on the verge of becoming the Browns all-time leading scorer, ahead of a guy named Groza. It’s not a money issue either, not with the Browns a reported $48 million under the cap. If they’re going to spend the money on anyone, how could it not be Dawson?

Seriously … what in the world is there to think about with Dawson, for even one second?” [McManamon/The OBR]

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“However it’s used it just gave a situation with a ton of options even more options. In the new NBA, these deals are going to become more and more common. This being at the early stages of the new CBA, Chris Grant has set the price very high. So much so that it would probably make sense to hang onto more space all next year to see how many of these deals Grant can barge his way into. Then ultimately cash in during the summer of 2014 when more top tier talent should be available.

By the way, in the short-term, Speights and Ellington have both played key roles in winning the last two games of our first three game winning streak of the season. The third of which was punctuated by Irving calmly walking the ball up the court, down two, stopping 28 feet out with 0.7 seconds left and dropping a three.” [Nagel/Stepien Rules]

  • Harv 21

    I wouldn’t agree that Kyrie’s defense is “much-improved,” but I did see him give way better effort in the last quarter of the Toronto game. He has the lateral quicks and strength to do it whenever he decides it should be a priority. [One thing he cannot improve upon is his calmness before draining the winning shot. On the replay watch the serenity as he dribbles upcourt and rises up. You can't fake or teach that attitude, relaxed as someone practicing alone in a gym].

    Re Dion, starting to wonder whether what’s blocking a big breakthrough is not the lack of skills or knowledge but not yet having figured out which of his skills to pull out when, to penetrate, set up at a spot for a pass, move, dish. leak out, etc. We saw this (a little bit) with LeBron his first year, when someone wrote he sometimes played like a carrying too many groceries. I’m thinking if Byron can put him in one role for a while we’ll see a big jump and big numbers.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Agree with all of that. Yes, Kyrie’s defense is a little better this year, but far from “much-improved”. I’d like to think it will eventually be much-improved, but I doubt he’s ever going to be a 1st team All-Defense threat.

    And you’re spot on with Dion. I know I wrote it at some point (can’t remember if it was a post or in the comments), but that’s the biggest thing all rookie SGs struggle with. In college, SGs can get whatever they want wherever they want it on offense. In the NBA, SGs have to take what the defense gives more than any other position. It’s the biggest adaptation of any position from college to NBA, and it’s why rookie SGs almost always struggle their first season. Dion can still have his lightbulb moment and be a very, very, very good NBA player.

  • mgbode

    anyone who questions what Jimmy Haslam thinks of Phil hasn’t watched Road-Tested. Haslam’s wife produces/edits that show and Phil is far from a bit character in it.

  • Harv 21

    didn’t write exactly what I meant at end. Instead: if he’s put in one role for a while he should figure out how to exert his will on the game, depending on who’s on the court with him. Dion and Kyrie have to develop the synchronicity to form a pick-your-poison choice for the opponent, and Dion has to be confident to be the alpha and take over when Kyrie is laying back or on the bench. There is something about Dion’s skillset and personality that make me think this can work in a big way if he develops right.

  • mgbode

    both posts and comments on the SG-position. very valid point on it too (believe Wade was the only one who bucked the trend (above league average PER) and even he saw his PER jump up 6pts from yr1 to yr2.

  • mgbode

    good points.

    on Kyrie’s D, I don’t know. he seems to be more Steve Nash than Chris Paul honestly. he spends so much effort doing everything on the offensive end that he’s often late getting back on D and just doesn’t have the footwork down yet either. he’ll likely get better, but if he just ends up like Nash during his MVP years, I’m not going to complain :)

    on Waiters, I don’t think we have the luxury of giving him a specific role. teams like SA can do that with Kawhi (shoot 3pters and play-D rookie!). for us, Waiters role depends on who else in on the court. w/ Kyrie, he can be more of a spot-up shooter and backside slasher. w/o Kyrie, he oftentimes needs to be the playmaker (and he’s struggling to transition though getting better). honestly, I think it’s healthy for him to take his lumps and try everything out this season.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Indeed. And we don’t even need to see a meteoric rise in Dion. Just steady improvement over the next 2-3 years is all I want to see from him. Anything above that is golden.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    The pick your poison template is OKC (I know, enough with the Thunder comparisons). But Durant and Westbrook have developed, and continue to develop, a dynamic where they force opponents to decide which guy is going to kill them. And they are getting better and better at figuring out how to trade off scoring opportunities It’s been awesome watching those two this season.

  • Harv 21

    don’t mind him taking lumps this year but here’s where I’m a mild Byron critic: I don’t see the consistent plan with Dion, and that’s what young players need. Either start him or bring him off the bench, let him come into the game and out about the same time, have him play a lot and get schooled or have him watch a lot and integrate little lessons slowly. But, barring injuries or disciplinary measures, don’t change what he’s doing game to game more than necessary. Let him get his feet underneath him a little.
    This may be a little unfair to Byron, who until a week ago had barely anything but newbies, the barely one-dimensional and other teams’ pure salary cap dump. Trying to be fair to Byron, even when some of his rotations (like the 4 guards at the end of the Toronto game) confuse me.

  • woofersus

    Yeah, it’s definitely not so much a question of whether or not the Browns want to keep Dawson, but whether or not Dawson thinks he’s going to get a shot at being on a good team here if he signs another contract.

  • mgbode

    yeah, Byron does some strange things. granted, he’s been given what became a strange roster too though.

  • humboldt

    So do you then perceive this as a non-issue? I think that’s a highly sympathetic interpretation, but even if that is the case and they are going to re-sign Dawson, it begs the question of why leadership has allowed this question to twist in the wind. Are they not wanting to give Dawson’s agent leverage? Are they really weakening his position by staying mum?

  • mgbode

    there is no urgency for them to do anything right now. no other team can contact him yet and that time isn’t for another month and a half. currently, the new FO/coaches are just being assembled and going through all the details.

    I do not believe that Dawson wants to leave the Browns when he is so close to passing Groza and assuring himself a special place in Cleveland Browns history. Kickers don’t usually get to have a legacy but Dawson has one here and can cement it.

    I also do not believe that Haslam wants him to leave when he is so close. I think he understands the special place fans have for Phil and that while discussions may get sticky in the media, they will remain friendly with each other, get things done, and move forward with Phil as a Brown.