July 31, 2014

While We’re Waiting… Let the young man get buckets

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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“It’s too early in Kyrie Irving’s career to know whether or not he’ll agree to let Nike light him all sexy and posit his game as evidence of a greater power and its love for us, though he probably will, but we can thank whatever deity Adidas is comparing Derrick Rose to this week that Irving is from New Jersey and won’t participate in any ads in which he claims to be an embodiment of the city whose team he plays for. No one will let that happen again. For what it’s worth, I’m happy with where Irving’s persona is at right now—he’s a fun-to-watch youngster with a moderate goofy streak. I’m glad he’s not yet a world-devouring brand, and we haven’t yet listened to him recite aspirational copy over a sepia-tone closeup of his muscles moving in slow-motion as he bursts toward a solitary hoop. Bring on Uncle Drew. Those ads have some whimsy, at least.

So why are some of us searching for reasons to mistrust this pupating superstar? If you can’t watch Irving without thinking, when everything gets quiet, “Am I going to hate this guy one day?” then you took the wrong lessons from the LeBron debacle. What we learned was to not allow an athlete or marketing machine to tell us that any athlete is pure. If you’re a Hawks fan, you probably like Al Horford a lot, but you don’t think of him as pure. Because that’s absurd. For whatever reason, when an athlete reaches a certain phylum of greatness, we start ascribing traits to them that can’t possibly be true. LeBron was held up as a gladiator and a prophet and, it turns out, he is actually just a basketball player. A brilliant one who gave Cavaliers fans hundreds of masterpieces over seven years that were, on the whole, pretty enjoyable.” [McGowan/Cavs the Blog]

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As we mentioned in the headline, one of the biggest combine snubs- “9. CB Travis Howard, Ohio State: The All-Big Ten Honorable Mention cornerback has good size (6-0, 198) and length (32 1/4″ arms) for the position, and although he had a very up-and-down senior season, his raw skills are intriguing.” [Brugler/CBS Sports]

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“Aside from that craziness, there are some other things worth note. Only three players (AD, Alfred Morris, and Ahmad Bradshaw) were in the top ten for each success rate and YPA. I like this, it means players who were getting penalized using one metric or the other are getting full credit here. Perhaps the most surprising guy is Jamaal Charles, who ranks sixth in RI despite an abysmal ranking of 29 in success rate. Part of what causes this is the lack of variance in success rate. There simply isn’t a huge difference between the between the best and worst guy, so being the worst in success rate won’t drag a player down as much as being the worst in YPA. Expanding on this, RI implies that there really are only one or two elite backs, followed by a bunch of guys who are a little above average and then a bunch of bums.” [Dawgs by Nature]

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“So if Meyer went 12-0 in his first season with somebody else’s recruits, what’s going to happen once he gets his own players in there? There’s a reason that Urban Meyer has been successful everywhere he’s gone, and it’s not just because he’s a good coach. It’s because he has recruited well. While his classes at Bowling Green and Utah weren’t as highly-rated as the classes he had at Florida and now Ohio State, Meyer knew what he was looking for to fit his system. He’d identify a player, bring him in and coach him up. It’s hard to argue with the results.

Now Meyer is having the same kind of success recruiting at Ohio State that he had at Florida, and he’s going all over the country to do so. While Ohio is a talent hotbed in the midwest with a lot of talent to go around, only 10 of the 25 commits in Ohio State’s 2013 class call the Buckeye State home. Meyer plucked talent from all over the country. From New Jersey to Florida to Texas to California.” [Fornelli/Eye on College Football]

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“Kyrie’s 23.9 points per game currently ranks 6th in the NBA. He joins LeBron James as the only other player in the Eastern Conference averaging 20+ points and 5+ assists each night. His statistical profile is beyond impressive and makes a valid claim for him to take a spot in the starting lineup. But it’s not a big deal if he ends up coming off the bench. It’s remarkable enough that a 20-year old has already solidified himself as a sure-fire All Star in just his second year in the league.

The Cavaliers are yet to play on ESPN or TNT since Kyrie arrived in Cleveland. His first All Star appearance acts as an opportunity to introduce himself to the more casual NBA fan. His full array of crossovers and hesitation moves will be on display whether he’s in the starting lineup or not. Kyrie has plenty of time to work up to being an All Star starter. And once he gets there, I figure he’ll keep that spot for the next, say, decade or so. After all, he’s just 20 years old.” [Kaczmarek/Hardwood Paroxysm]

  • Harv 21

    McGowan’s piece on LeBron/Kyrie is so perfect – in substance, style and timing – that I’d be happy if it was the last thing I read all day.

    Great choice, Rick.

  • mgbode

    totally agree. it’s a great overall message: don’t let what LeBron did ruin Kyrie for you.

  • mgbode

    first jWAR and now RI. Cleveland is becoming the center of the statistical universe!

    (seriously though, it is a nice metric. the things that would be awesome to add into it are defensive adjustments + OL adjustments, but then it’s a much more complex stat)

  • FearTheRoo

    The problem is, the people who think he’ll never leave are the one’s who will be burning his jersey in a few years. He’s going to leave eventually so we have to be ready.

  • cmm13

    Rick…

    In anticipation of the pending WFNY Kyrie shirt that has been suggested I give you my official request for the shirt to read:
    “But I’m Kyrie… I GET BUCKETS”
    I hereby denounce any royalties for any said profits of the negotiated slogan for said t-shirt in exchange for a free one.

  • mgbode

    why worry about what may happen when what is happening is so fun to watch?

    if he leaves in 5yrs, then he leaves. we get all the time until then to enjoy Uncle Drew.

  • cmm13

    agreed as well… I have found myself over the past two weeks excited to watch the impending cavs game of that night and it’s a great feeling.
    no amount of #6 residual ecto-plasm is going to haunt this old house.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Good grief!

  • Mike E

    I think you missed the point of the article. If you can’t even enjoy watching RIGHT NOW, then what do you get out of sports. You can’t have fun now b/c he’s gone in a few years. WOW.

  • mgbode

    exactly. it’s like the comments when Carlos Santana or any good Indians prospect comes up and does well immediately go to him being a Yankee/Red Sox/etc. Well, in 2018, maybe he is, but until then let’s enjoy what we have.

  • cmm13

    Much fear I sense in you… fear is the path to the dark side.
    Fear leads to anger, anger to hate, hate to suffering.

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • FearTheRoo

    I agree but we aren’t winning now. I hear nonstop that the Cavs/Indians/Browns are building for the future. How can we build for the future our best players will leave or be traded anyway? I want to win now, decades of losing is enough…