July 30, 2014

While We’re Waiting…Kyrie earns respect, OSU/Wisc, Bourn notes

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“”This weekend was just basically about earning everybody’s respect and getting a chance for people to see me who don’t usually see me,” Irving said. “We’re not nationally televised. This weekend is to show my face to the fans and get everybody in the league acclimated to my face.” [Ingram/USAToday]

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“Bourn is one of the fastest players in major league baseball, and that speed helps him to be an elite defender in CF. He’s a two-time all-star and has a pair of Gold Gloves sitting on his mantle, and the defensive metrics rank him as the top CF in all of baseball. By baseball-reference.com’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) measurements, his glove alone was worth three wins last season in Atlanta. He’ll patrol CF as part of the fastest outfield in baseball, flanked by two other guys who played CF last season in Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs. Stubbs and his cannon arm will slide over to RF while Brantley and his…less than cannon arm will be running down balls in LF. The grass at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario really will be the place fly balls go to die this summer, provided the front office doesn’t move one of the former CF for pitching depth. And we haven’t even talked about Bourn’s impact with the bat or on the bases yet; he hit a solid .274/.348/.391 with 9 HR and 57 RBI last season, while stealing 42 bases with Atlanta. He’s swiped at least 41 bags in every season since becoming a full-time player in 2008. Every time Bourn gets on base, he’s a real threat to turn a single into a triple like no player we’ve seen in Cleveland since…dare I say it…Kenny Lofton. The Indians as a team stole 110 bases last season. Bourn and Stubbs (30 SB last year, 40 in 2011) have the potential to do that between the two of them in 2013. Bourn’s presence will also let Terry Francona rest Drew Stubbs against lefthanded pitching, as he’s put up some pretty ugly splits against southpaws throughout his career. Lineup flexibility is always a good thing, and we’re not talking about Garko to the OF type of flexibility here.”[Ciammaichella/TheDiaTribe]

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“Life on the road in the Big Ten is brutal. And then, there’s the Kohl Center.

Prior to the Buckeyes’ win last season, they had gone more than 10 years without tasting victory in Madison.

Wisconsin wins at a better than 90 percent clip at home. Its win percentage against ranked opponents sits above 70 percent. In winning three consecutive Big Ten titles and five of the past seven, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta knows a thing or two about winning on the road. In fact, the Buckeyes have been victorious in more than two-thirds of their road games during their current three-year stranglehold on the conference.

But throughout one of the most successful eras in Ohio State basketball history, the Kohl Center remained as a house of horrors. Even for the nation’s best teams, winning on the road is no given.”  [Rowland/ElevenWarriors]

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“As if Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star guard Kyrie Irving wasn’t frightening enough, the second year waterbug dominated the NBA’s Three-Point Shootout on Saturday night in Houston, shooting brilliantly during the final round on his way to a 23-point serve and the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest championship.

Irving isn’t known as a three-point shooter despite his 41 percent career mark from behind the stripe. Pitched as a scorer and savior for the lottery-bound Cavs, Irving has still managed to make two treys per game this season in spite of the defensive shifts bent on denying him good looks, while hitting 42 percent in his second season from long range. Though opponents are best served ducking under screens and anticipating Irving’s brilliant work off of the dribble, there’s a reason he’s able to parlay both disparate offensive talents into an uber-efficient 23.5 points per game in his sophomore season.” [Dwyer/BallDontLie]

  • humboldt

    “This weekend is to show my face to the fans and get everybody in the league acclimated to my face.”

    I hate to be a Kyrie buzzkill, but this line was eerily reminiscent of another Cleveland superstar intent on building a global brand and maximizing market share. I suppose it’s just the nature of today’s NBA speaking through its players, but I still don’t like it.

  • Natedawg86

    Don’t beat him down because he wants his performance in an all star game to gain more respect to the more casual NBA fan. Don’t run him out of town because he wants his peers to respect his game. Enjoy him while he is here whether it is 4 or 40 years

  • humboldt

    I figured a response like this would be forthcoming. I only wish I had enough power in my blog comment section rhetoric to run a person out of Cleveland, let alone a millionaire athlete.

    I remain disappointed in his choice of words, and the mentality it seems to reveal. As I said, I don’t blame Kyrie: the player-as-brand concept has been particularly insidious in the NBA for decades, and this is just more of the same. Am still rooting for him, but – as with many fans – much more guardedly this time around.

  • Harv 21

    I hear the concern but don’t think we have to view it as someone distracted from basketball. And this attitude is certainly not new. For every introverted Larry Bird or Durant there’s 5 ferociously talented ballers that thrive with attention. Jordan was maybe the greatest competitor ever while being an attention whore. Magic would have built a huge brand 30+years ago if all that charisma and camera time didn’t get used up popularizing the NBA game in general. And then Michael could stand on his shoulders and build a personal brand, using as a springboard a game the public now loved.

    Kyrie loves attention, no doubt. But maybe the ham in him is part of the same package that lets him embrace the pressure to win games.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Overkill IMO