April 24, 2014

Cleveland Sports Life Boat – Cavaliers Point Guards

Sometimes I make bad graphics using PowerPoint. @dgriff13 and @cre8ive_juice eat your hearts out.

Sometimes I make bad graphics using PowerPoint. @dgriff13 and @cre8ive_juice eat your hearts out.

I am a huge fan of the Ron and Fez show on Sirius XM Satellite radio. They do a bit on the radio called life boat, and I’m borrowing it for Cleveland sports. Here’s how it works. There are four people and only three seats remaining on the life boat. You must work your way through the list of candidates and, unfortunately, someone is designated to try their hand at long-distance swimming.

A couple rules.

1. You MUST pick three people to ride in the boat. “Let them all drown!” isn’t an interesting answer and frankly, you’re not funny. It’s been done, so skip it.

2. Don’t use an overly silly premise for your answer. Life boat is a silly enough premise where you aren’t going to “wow” anyone with your take that you should “keep the fatter guy because at least when we turn to cannibalism, we’ll have someone tasty to eat!”

So, the first Cleveland sports life boat is Cavaliers point guards. The candidates are:

Mark Price, Terrell Brandon, Andre Miller and Kyrie Irving

Craig -  Mark Price is easily the safest on this list due to nostalgia. I think Kyrie Irving could surpass him at some point if he plays in Cleveland long enough and continues to play at a high level. Just based on that speculation, Kyrie is safe. That means it comes down to Terrell Brandon and Andre Miller. I definitely think Terrell Brandon had a better career for Cleveland than Andre Miller did, but for whatever reason I was in love with Miller’s game as a Cavalier. I loved his bigger frame and his sneaky abilities. Andre Miller was so good that he led the league in assists in a year when the Cavaliers were 25th in the NBA in that category. Not easy to do when you’re working with Ricky Davis, Wes Person and Lamond Murray. It always felt like people sold him short. So, I know it’s controversial, but I think I’ll save Andre Miller and there’s no room for Brandon on the boat, unfortunately.

Rick - Price is a no-brainer. Before the season began I might have left off Kyrie because it was all potential. Now we’ve seen him get even better. Still based mostly on potential, but he has to stay. Brandon gets the edge. Miller only played in Cleveland 3 years. Brandon was a much better shooter. He was an All-Star on the heels of Mark Price’s career.

Scott - Price is in the rafters. Get him a captain’s hat and a sweet brass telescope to help guide you to the nearest shore. Irving would have been my first choice as he’s clearly the best of the group in terms of skill. That said, even he wouldn’t accept a seat at the expense of Price. The final seat goes to Terrell Brandon. All-Star, cover of Cavs Zine 3. Nuff said.

Ben - Mark Price and Terrell Brandon were on the team that made me love basketball, the 91-92 Cavs (*shakes fist at Michael Jordan*). 90.4%, #CavsZine3… Mark and TB are no doubters. Kyrie is the present and the future, the alpha and the omega. Irving is on pace to be the best of the point guard in Cavs history, which is saying something (Point guard is far and away the Cavs’ deepest position; John Bagley, Kevin Johnson, Brevin Knight, Mo Williams, B-Diddy…). And poor Andre Miller… while I love his old-man, un-athletic game, his teams were entirely forgettable and the dude was traded for Darius Miles. I can’t help but dock him for that. Plus, the bulk of Miller’s career was spent elsewhere, so he’s gotta be kicked off.

Andrew - I think Mark Price and Kyrie Irving are no brainers. Mark Price right now is almost certainly #1 on everybody’s list. He’s unquestionably the most popular Cavalier player of all time. Kyrie Irving has a chance to surpass Price. It’s possible Irving leaves in a few years and everyone dislikes him and whatnot, but if he plays 10+ seasons in Cleveland, not only can he be the most popular Cavalier of all time, but he has a chance to be forever remembered as the guy who saved basketball in Cleveland. Yeah, he gets a spot on my lifeboat.

So it boils down to Brandon and Miller for me. I want to save Miller. I probably liked Miller a little more than Brandon. I realize this is sacrilege to certain sects of Cavs fans, but Andre Miller was the lone bright spot in the darkest period of Cavalier basketball of my life. He was the one guy that made watching those horrible teams worth it. He was selfless, always seemed to give his best effort, and under different circumstances might have been a part of some really good Cleveland sports teams. But regardless, I’m still giving my last spot to Brandon. He was just such an underrated player and was tasked with being the PG to follow in Price’s shoes. I think that’s an often overlooked aspect of his career. Just how monumental that task was, and how he not only excelled in it, but he thrived on it. He was a great player, a great Cavalier, and he played longer than the 3 years Andre Miller played.

Hey, look out on the horizon….what’s Brevin Knight doing still standing on the ship?

Kirk - I don’t remember seeing Mark Price, the greatest point guard in Cavalier history, play one single game. I’ve seen pretty much every single game Kyrie Irving has played. They’re both so safe that the lifeboat company was commissioned to decorate their seats with a 25 and 2 respectively. Terrell Brandon was my first favorite Cavalier. Those Brandon, Phills, Mills teams of the Fratello era are the first ones that I remember Joe Tait telling me about on the radio. Andre Miller was probably the first Cavalier that I saw and thought he was good enough to make them a good team. It’s funny how both went on to several productive years and spent the majority of their career elsewhere, yet both generate fond memories.They both are sitting at 13.8 ppg in their career with Miller getting the edge in assists 7.1-6.1 as well. Miller’s departure led to the awful season that made the Cavaliers bad enough to have the best odds to draft LeBron James. It changed the franchise’s course. That alone made me think long and hard about this. But, in the end, this is best CAVALIER point guard. As much as I want to keep Miller, I Iet him go and pull #1 (or #11, for the earlier days) safely on board.

 

  • ThatAlex

    These kinds of things are more fun when there aren’t any obvious choices. Price and Irving are virtual locks to almost everyone. I’d like to see a Cleveland Indians Starting Pitcher life boat with Bob Feller-Stan Coveleski-Bartolo Colon-CC Sabathia. Or a best Browns backup QB life boat where there aren’t any stars or obvious choices.

  • Slice

    Terrell Brandon was phenomenal, one of the top PGs in the game for a while. Miller over Brandon? A couple of you guys need to walk the plank.

  • mgbode

    Mark Price played for a Dream Team before they became terrible (DT-II). He was the best shooting PGs of his era.

    Terrell Brandon helped usher in efficiency statistics into the mainstream (he was subject of SI’s “best PG in the NBA” story due to his efficiency stats).

    Kyrie Irving is the future, so we need him to survive.

    Andre Miller might be able to float long enough to get saved anyway (I kid!). Seriously though, he was only a Cav for 3 years. We might as well include Kevin Johnson on this topic if he counts. Or John Battle or, more importantly, Lenny Wilkins (who gets bonus points for coaching – obviously).

    Brevin Knight and Mo Williams are now stomping around about getting a mention.

  • dwhit110

    This was fun, and I do agree with the majority who picked Price, Irving, Brandon (and in that order). Hoping for more of these in the future, nice new feature Craig.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Agreed, fun idea and classy to pay homage to Ron & Fez. My thoughts are the same as just about everyone, so I’ll chime in on the next one.

  • JNeids

    I don’t even know who that second pitcher is and I’m still throwing CC off and hoping the money in his pockets helps him drown faster. Yes I realize we traded him and I never expected him to come back, but once you sell your soul to the pinstriped devil, you’re dead to me.

  • Harv 21

    Mildly surprised at the “lock” status so many give Price among those great players> Maybe understood the game better than them all, but had the least physical ability and could be turned into a liability with physical play, especially on the defensive end. Could shoot the crap out of the ball and was scrappy but had the least complete game of any of them. Maybe people won’t betray their nostalgia.

    I’d probably toss Andre, but not easily.

  • brownstowner89

    Eric Snow must’ve been too slow getting off the ship.

  • ThatAlex

    Another great one to do is an Indians Power Hitter life boat: Albert Belle/Jim Thome/Manny Ramirez/Travis Hafner

  • brownstowner89

    World B Free sees your lfieboat and raises you a helicopter.

  • Chucky Brown

    Kyrie and Price – automatic
    TB gets the nod for the S.I cover

  • Tall Jeff

    Eric Snow’s bloated carcass IS the ship.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    John Bagley is rolling over in his grave!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Bartolo Colon? CC Sabathia? Feller-Score-McDowell FTW!

  • Garry_Owen

    Tough pool for the last one. We’ve only had backup QBs since Testaverde. (Maybe Couch. I guess I’d exclude Couch.)

  • Harv 21

    with almost the RPM of John Morton

  • Harv 21

    I get the ref … just wanted you to know someone did.

  • mgbode

    i disagree. we haven’t had any backup QBs because they’ve always had to start at least a few games. heck, Thaddeus Lewis now has NFL Starting QB on his resume.

    (oh, you meant starting quality, well, whatevs :) )

  • Harv 21

    lay-ups clanking off the bottom of the rim were deemed an automatic elimination from consideration. I don’t write the rules, I only cite them.

  • Harv 21

    remove the PEDs and you have to add Colavito and Thornton. Actually, remove them and it’s pretty slim pickings for sheer power.

  • mgbode

    remove PEDs and you will have noone. PEDs are not a recent phenomenon (they have just changed in what is used and also what is and isn’t acceptable).

  • http://twitter.com/RickWFNY rick grayshock

    Hey guys, we’re going to do a series of them. Don’t spoil those debates early!

  • mgbode

    my neck still hurts from following the arc of his rainbow FT’s

  • Harv 21

    So tell me what Rocky took – the mushrooms he grew off-season? We shouldn’t confuse the idea that players have always been looking for an edge with the assumption that they ingested things that accomplished that. And it wasn’t so long ago that the conventional baseball wisdom held weight lifting and bulking up verboten, that it was better to be loose and quick, not muscle bound and “tight.”

  • mgbode

    players were always looking for whatever edge they could gain. now, they may have been wrong about it (complete avoidence of lifting as you mentioned), but how far back to greenies go? stimulants/amphetamines are believed to help that quick trigger on swings.

    i’m just tired of the PED debate at this point. it should be tested, no doubt, but MLB decided they didn’t care for the 90′s, so why should I care now? it was what it was, now let’s move on.

    just like my memories of LeBron with the Cavs (or Tressel and the Buckeyes), I’m not going to let what happened afterwards destroy my memories of what happened at the time.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    How about Smush Parker?

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

    Price has the record for 3 point percentage in a season, and he holds the career record for free throw percentage… one season Price hit almost 100 free throws in a row…. Physically, maybe he’s not gifted like Kyrie, or others, but MP could shoot better than just about anyone in the history of the league, other than maybe Jordan. He is CLEARLY a no brainer. Also, point guard wasn’t a strong position offensively when he played… so DEF wasn’t that big of a liability, as it would be now.

    Honestly, you almost have to throw out Kyrie, because his resume’ is only 80 games. He may very well be better than all 3 of these guys eventually, but only time will tell.

  • Harv 21

    Agree with a bunch of what you say but still think we locals overrate Price, because he played on a fav Cavs team and maybe for some unspoken reasons. My point is his particular skillset was uneven enough to be an equalizer with less popular names, and my pet peeve is romanticizing local players because they were our heroes when we were young. Great shooter, but he couldn’t drive in traffic very well so he wasn’t going to personally beat a team with his 90% FT rate going to the hole again and again, like Kyrie can. Dagger jumper when open, but couldn’t really create his own shot like Terrell or KJ or Andre or Kyrie. To me he was closer to guys like Hardaway than guys who could do about everything on both ends, like Stockton and Payton and obviously Magic.take over a game. Again, I loved the guy, but if we view him sans warm fuzzies his greatness at one thing and obvious deficiencies elsewhere put him pretty close to Andre, who did everything well but nothing great. Don’t think Price is a no-brainer.

  • mgbode

    interesting thought and I think you have a solid point:

    Mark Price: 3.5FT/36min (2nd season) / 4-5FT/36min (peak yrs)
    Kyrie Irving: 5FT/36min (2nd season)

    Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson were guys during Mark Price’s era that got to the line alot more. So, difference in officiating is negligible.

    It may only be a point or two a game, but that can make a big difference.

  • Harv 21

    Forgot about Isiah, good example of someone who gave Price problems because he could both drive right past him or shoot jumpers. Matter of fact, I’ve said since last year that Kyrie’s offensive game reminds me more of Isiah than any other PG. (won’t mention defense won’t mention defense won’t mention defense)

  • Hugh Jass

    If we are talking ALL time, there should be mention of Ohio State’s own Jim Cleamons. He ran the offense with great assists to Austin Carr, JJ, etc. and was a defensive standout. What he may have lacked in offense, he offset with outstanding play on the other end, as well as distributing the ball. I’d keep Kyrie, Price and Cleamons. Brandon and Andre come in 4th and 5th respectively.

  • humboldt

    What does that make Smush Parker?

  • mgbode

    We’re talking about defense. We’re talking about defense? We’re
    not talking about scoring points. We’re talking about defense. When you
    come to the arena, and you see them play, you’ve seen them score,
    you’ve seen them give everything they’ve got, but we’re talking about defense right now.

  • mgbode

    do we have to wait until Movember for the “best mustache” lifeboat?

  • thenoclist

    How is this a debate?

  • saggy

    THE LIFE BOAT,SOON WILL BE MAKING ANOTHER RUN,
    THE LIFE BOAT, PROMISES SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE….

  • Guest

  • saggy

    and CC welched on his bets to other Cleveland athletes

  • saggy

    I agree – brandon was being hailed as the best PG in the entire NBA at one point.

  • saggy

    JJ Reddick – IN TODAY’S NBA – is being truly coveted right now. For all intents and purposes he is basically Mark Price.

    You can draw your own conclusions, but the NBA, hell, basketball in general, has always had a place for guys who can shoot. And Price could shoot better than all of them.

  • saggy

    I get what you’re saying but it’s like saying “Bob Feller gave him problems.” Well, Feller – like Thomas – gave EVERYONE problems.

  • saggy

    with all due respect – the whole Tressel thing is dumb. Those kids did nothing wrong, and once Tressel found out he was in a lose-lose situation. Can’t believe Penn State is going to get off for what happened over there (apologies to all you Nittany Lions) while OSU rues being suspended for a couple of bowl games.

    but…….as usual, i agree with your opinion of PEDs. In fact, I have a mentor of mine who played in the bigs in the 60′s, and he says it’s no different now than it was then. guys are still looking for the edge, they’re just using different stuff. We can’t all be DiMaggio

  • Chip Chipperson

    Can we please get an Ichiban of the day on WFNY?

  • mgbode

    yes, I agree on the Tressel situation as well. I don’t care much about the Penn State deal though. All parties were fired, many are being brought to court and Paterno’s legacy was forever tarnished.

    if they are able to cobble together being competitive despite no bowls for 4 years and drastically reduced scholarships, then more power to them.

  • Harv 21

    funny, I think the PD got the caption wrong. Free didn’t happen to arrive via copter. Believe this was the team-sponsored grand entrance to the first presser or practice. Hence the red carpet the employee is unrolling in front of him.

  • mgbode

    i’m barely too young to remember World’s time with the Cavs but I always assumed he had a team sponsored red carpet guy with him everywhere he went along with flower girls just ahead of him to ensure his feet only graced the lovely petals.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    A lifeboat with a hole in it?

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Is that like a kaizen? We don’t do Lean Six Sigma around here.