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“Last season, Irving was pretty much a sieve defensively by any metric or objective observer. According to Synergy, Irving allowed 1.03 points-per-possession overall, which ranked him at 447th in their database. There were no positives to even take away from the specific situations with at least 50 possessions: be it isolation, in the pick-and-roll against ball-handlers, or in spot-up situations, Irving was simply bad by the numbers. Not only that, but the defense showed a marked improvement when Irving stepped off the floor, according to 82games.com. The Cavs went from giving up 112.6 points-per-48 minutes with him on the floor to 107.6 with him off of it.
Of course, some of his defensive dreadfulness was due to the team surrounding him. Antawn Jamison has been (how to put this nicely…) a complete and total disgrace defensively for about three years now. Tristan Thompson was okay defensively, but was still only a rookie. Others such as Ryan Hollins and Anthony Parker are not known for their defensive prowess. But having said that, some of the defensive deficiencies could fairly be placed on Irving’s shoulders. He did, after all, allow opposing point guards to accumulate a 19.0 PER against him with a .559 eFG%.
In 2012-13, there has been some marked improvement in Irving’s defense statistically. His overall points-per-possession number according to Synergy is down to 0.83. His most marked improvement there has been in isolation situations, where he is only allowing 0.53 points-per-possession in comparison to 0.99 last season. That mark is good for 15th in the NBA.” [Vecenie/Fear the Sword]
“It’s simple really. In all likelihood Speights will be a free agent this off season. Since being traded to Cleveland, he’s averaged 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1 assist, and .8 blocks with 1.3 turnovers in 22.9 minutes a night. He’s shooting .450/.333/.882 for a TS% of .526, with a PER of 19.6 according to basketball-reference. These are pretty good numbers. So now the Cavs have a bench player who can play both center and power forward, has a cap number of $4.2 million, and has a player option for $4.5 million next year. He’s certainly going to have value for a team looking to make a playoff run. Furthermore, the only way Speights doesn’t opt out is if he turns into Roy Tarpley, or if he gets hurt. If that happens, why would the Cavs even want to pay him $4.5 million next year?
Why wouldn’t Cleveland try to get an asset for him when they could just sign him in the off season anyway? At that point, it doesn’t matter if he’s a Cleveland free agent or a San Antonio free agent. Marreese Speights isn’t a sacred cow. He’s just a basketball player. If Chris Grant gets a chance at a 2014 pick, why wouldn’t he take it?” [Cavs the Blog]
“There has been a lot of back and forth over the quality of both Tom Heckert’s and Michael Lombardi’s drafts in recent weeks, and it got me thinking: what should we reasonably expect out of any draft pick? My first thought was to go pick by pick, or maybe use groups of five to compare to each other, but it quickly became apparent that as the game changed, so too did drafting strategies. It simply isn’t a good idea to compare drafts in the 80s to 2012, and that’s exactly what you would have to do to have any kind of meaningful sample size. Instead, I decided to go round by round. In this post I’m going to explore what we should expect out of a first round draft pick, and perhaps more importantly, what we need to get to be better than the other 31 teams in the league. Before I begin, I want to be clear that my conclusions are broad on purpose. I am not digging to far into these numbers just yet, and there’s a lot of nuance here. I’ll do my best to note the pitfalls involved with this type of analysis, but just be assured there are a lot of them.” [Dawgs by Nature]
“When to use free agency in earnest? Active free agent signings are best done to put an ok team over the top. This means identifying holes and plugging them. FA done right lets you transform positions of weakness into strength literally over night. FA done right can move an ‘ok’ team into playoff range.
That’s where I think the Browns are; that’s why I think this FA season is crucial. To my eye, the biggest weakness on the Browns is the defensive backfield. We saw how bad the CBs were when Haden was out. Even with Haden playing, Sheldon Brown isn’t getting any younger and it doesn’t look like Skrine, Wade, Badamosi are long term answers. All of them are 6′ 0″ or less too.” [Kanick]
“Unlike Thompson, who needed help with technique, footwork, and where to stand at the FT line, Dion needs to adjust to the mental side of the NBA. From day one heʼs shown the ability to get past defenders and into the lane. He has an elite ﬁrst step and when he explodes to the basket heʼs tough to stop. Of course, what he found out was that in the NBA the next few steps were a bit tougher. He had a tough time ﬁnishing and drawing fouls. So he stopped himself.
Looking back at the Clippers game in Staples Center, while it was one of the highs of the season so far, it may have stunted Dionʼs growth a bit. He was unconscious from the perimeter and spent the better part of the next two months trying to ﬁnd that same hot hand. Having shown that ability to take over a game with his jump shot and combining that with his difﬁculties converting in the lane it made it easy to settle.” [Nagel/Stepien Rules]