Waiting For Next Year http://www.waitingfornextyear.com ...a tradition of hope, passion, and misery Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:44:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 ESPN ranks Kyrie Irving as only the ninth best PG in NBA http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/espn-ranks-kyrie-irving-as-only-the-ninth-best-pg-in-nba/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/espn-ranks-kyrie-irving-as-only-the-ninth-best-pg-in-nba/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:44:07 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142787 Back in October, when Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving was coming off a three-year start to his career that saw him become a brilliant scorer who had difficulties playing defense or staying healthy, ESPN saw fit to rank him as the 23rd best player in the NBA and the seventh best point guard. Damian Lillard,

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Back in October, when Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving was coming off a three-year start to his career that saw him become a brilliant scorer who had difficulties playing defense or staying healthy, ESPN saw fit to rank him as the 23rd best player in the NBA and the seventh best point guard. Damian Lillard, John Wall, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul were ahead of him at that time. Of course, that ranking was a precipitous fall from the ESPN total player rank in 2013 that put him as the eight best player in the NBA.

In the 2014-15 season, Kyrie Irving has posted a career best True Shooting Percentage,1 an  indication that he’s become a more efficient scorer. Irving also has become a much better defender as he has held opposing point guards to a 16.6 PER,2 which is on par defensively with other point guards in this top group. His assist percentage is at a career low this season, along with his usage rate, as he has had to learn to share the initiator duties for the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James. For a more detailed breakdown on the improved play of Kyrie Irving in the 2014-15 season, take a look at a post from Kyle at WFNY from last month.

However, despite Kyrie Irving playing the best basketball of his career for a team that Vegas lists as the odds-on favorite to win the NBA championship,3 ESPN continues to drop Kyrie Irving when they rank him among his point guard peers, as he has fallen to their ninth ranked point guard. In these latest rankings, ESPN weights each player in categories of leadership, defense, playmaking, and scoring, to determine the best overall point guards.

 

Name Overall Leadership Defense Playmaking Scoring
Kyrie Irving 9th 14th 25th 7th 4th

 

In the end, the play of Kyrie Irving on the court will matter much more than the perception of ESPN or any other outlet, and their subsequent ranking of him. As the Cleveland Cavaliers gear up for the NBA Playoffs, let us hope that Kyrie Irving is able to utilize the brightest stage in basketball to demonstrate the advancements he has made to his game this season.

  1. True Shooting Percentage; the formula is PTS / [2 * TSA]. True shooting percentage is a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account field goals, 3-point field goals, and free throws.
  2. League average is 15.0.
  3. After failing to make the playoffs in Irving’s first three seasons.

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Watch the worst wedding dance video ever http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/watch-the-worst-wedding-dance-video-ever/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/watch-the-worst-wedding-dance-video-ever/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:47:08 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142768 We may be horribly, awfully, completely biased. I should stop right there—but I won’t. This video is of what appears to be a Baltimore Ravens fan. They do exist. Who knew? And this Ravens fan used his wedding to not only have a wedding band play “7 Nation Army” but also insisted on scripting his

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We may be horribly, awfully, completely biased. I should stop right there—but I won’t.

This video is of what appears to be a Baltimore Ravens fan. They do exist. Who knew? And this Ravens fan used his wedding to not only have a wedding band play “7 Nation Army” but also insisted on scripting his moment to do the Ray Lewis dance.

So, in my eyes this is pretty much the worst wedding dance video ever. Enjoy.

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WFNY’s 2015 NFL Draft Coverage: Joe Gilbert’s Top Five Wide Receivers http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/wfnys-2015-nfl-draft-coverage-joe-gilberts-top-five-wide-receivers/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/wfnys-2015-nfl-draft-coverage-joe-gilberts-top-five-wide-receivers/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:37:15 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142781 We are one month away from the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. I have gone through most of the positions in the NFL Draft and there are just a few more positions to go. We will now begin examining the offensive skill players in the draft; starting with the talented wide receiver class.

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We are one month away from the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. I have gone through most of the positions in the NFL Draft and there are just a few more positions to go. We will now begin examining the offensive skill players in the draft; starting with the talented wide receiver class. Here were my top five receivers in the 2014 NFL draft. Wide receivers have become highly coveted players in the NFL. The 2015 NFL draft has another loaded class of wide receivers. It may not be as great as last year’s draft class (that class is historically great), but it is just a notch under it. This draft has three elite receivers at the top with a good amount of depth after those three. For a team like the Browns looking for receiver help, this class has plenty of players to fill those needs. So, let’s take a look at my top five wide receivers in the 2015 NFL Draft.

1. Kevin White, West Virginia

March 2: Safeties
March 4: Cornerbacks
March 10: Inside Linebackers
March 13: Edge Rushers
March 17: Interior Defensive Linemen
March 20: Offensive Tackles
March 25: Interior Offensive Linemen
March 27: Tight Ends
March 31: Wide Receivers

West Virginia’s Kevin White is my top receiver and one of my top prospects overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. As a senior last season, he had 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games. He has the size, speed, and strength combination that most receivers do not possess.

White has great size at 6-foot-3, 215-pounds; great speed, running a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine; and great strength, lifting 23 bench reps at the NFL Combine. He showcases his athletic ability in his game very well. He can win jump balls over defenders, using his leaping ability and strong hands (as you can see below). His hands are great, allowing him to catch passes in traffic and versus contact. After the catch, he uses a combination of quickness and physical running to make big plays. His physical play is apparent in every part of his game. Against press coverage, he uses his quick feet, suddenness, and strength to separate from corners and get open. He runs crisp routes, which further helps him get separation from defenders. His comeback routes are extremely tough to cover because of his route running and threat to go deep. Quarterbacks will love him because he works to get open when the quarterback is scrambling. He has the size and physicality to be a good blocker. He adds to his talent with very good effort on the field. ESPN’s Todd McShay says, “White has excellent size for the position to go along with very good ball skills and run-after-catch ability.”

White has just one great productive year under his belt. He really came on this season and so some people may have reservations on selecting him. He does not have great elusiveness and agility to make people miss. He has the ability to be a good blocker because of his size, but he has not shown it consistently yet. He must work on his blocking technique to become a good blocker. But, overall, his combination of size, athleticism, strength and effort is unmatched by any other receiver in this class.

2. Amari Cooper, Alabama

Amari Cooper of Alabama is not far behind Kevin White as the best receiver in the class. In his junior season last year, he had 124 receptions for 1,727 and 16 touchdowns in 14 games. He was one of the hardest players to defend against in college last season.

Cooper is a smooth and fast athlete who makes things look easy. He can run past and separate from corners with ease. He has great ability after the catch because of his elusiveness and speed. White can make multiple defenders miss, extending plays into long gains. His hands allow him to make tough catches, including in tight spaces and in traffic. He tracks long balls very well, running an efficient route on deep passes. He is a smart player who can find holes in the defense, allowing the quarterback to throw to him through an open window. His suddenness and quickness helps him get past press coverage and get open versus physical corners. He runs good routes, getting low to change directions quickly (as you can see in the video below). ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. says, “He often separates with ease, hitting a second gear, and he has a good sense of how to find space against a zone and will make contested catches.”

Cooper can struggle sometimes with drops, specifically due to focus. He must shore up his focus so that these drops do not follow him into the NFL. He is not a very physical player and that shows up in his blocking. He does not block well and is just not a big factor in run blocking. He has good size, but he lacks the size and length that White has. But, he is a different type of player. He an elusive and a smooth receiver with the ability to make big plays on offense.

3. DeVante Parker, Louisville

Louisville’s DeVante Parker is a tall receiver, who many consider just as good as the two top receivers. In his senior season last year, he had 43 receptions for 855 yards and five touchdowns in just six games last season. His season was shortened due to a foot injury that forced him to miss the first seven games of the season.

Parker is a tall receiver at 6-foot-3 with long arms of 33 ¼ inches. He has a huge catch radius that gives quarterbacks a big area to throw at. He can explode into the air to reach a ball at its highest point. His body control allows him to adjust to inaccurate passes quickly and make acrobatic catches. His hands are huge, allowing him to pluck balls out of the air in tight areas or in traffic. These abilities make him an exceptional jump ball receiver, who can go above defenders for the catch. He is a long strider, who can reach a pretty good speed to run past defenders. When he catches the ball, he can make defenders miss with solid agility and an underrated strength to carry or break away from defenders for extra yardage (as you can see below). He has solid route running ability, including solid change of direction ability and good stacking technique on long passes. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah says, “I think he’s a phenomenal football player and very deserving of being a top-10 pick.”

Parker missed multiple games in college because of injuries, so teams will heavily examine his health. He does not have great strength and will probably need to add weight to his frame. He will need to add strength to be able to face the physical corners of the NFL and to be able to help run block. He can also improve his route running, especially in terms of running sharper routes rather then rounding them out. He could also use his body better on routes to shield defenders away from the ball. But, his size and athleticism should make him an immediate redzone threat.

4. Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s Dorial Green-Beckham has the talent to be one of the best receivers in this draft class. He did not play last season after being dismissed from Missouri after the 2013 season and had to sit out last season because of the transfer to Oklahoma. In 2013 with Missouri, he had 59 receptions for 883 and 12 touchdowns in 14 games.

Green-Beckham has a freakish combination of size and speed. He is 6-foot-5, 237-pounds and ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He has great jump ball ability because of his size, explosive jumping ability, and hands (as you can see below). He leaps over defenders and grabs balls away from their grasp with his big, strong hands. His catch radius is gigantic because of his size and leaping ability. His speed is rare for a player his size. He can speed past defenders with his long strides and gain separation from coverage. After the catch, he has the combination of strength and speed to make defenders miss. His size will allow him to be a good blocker in the NFL if he has a willingness to do it. Bucky Brooks of NFL Network says, “He is a long, rangy pass-catcher with the size, length and ball skills to demoralize opponents on the edge. If he keeps his nose clean and avoids making the kinds of knuckleheaded mistakes that plagued his tenure at Missouri, he could be a perennial Pro Bowler at the position.”

Green-Beckham’s biggest question mark is his character. He was dismissed from Missouri after being a subject of a burglary and assault police investigation and he was arrested multiple times for marijuana use. On the field, he is still very raw especially in technique. He is not a great route runner, struggling to plant his foot in the ground and make quick change of direction movements to gain separation from the defender. He also needs to add more strength to win versus the physical defenders of the NFL. The effect of his time off from football is another question mark he must answer. Overall, he is the quintessential “Boom or Bust” prospect with the ability to be one of the best receivers in this class.

5. Jaelen Strong, Arizona State

Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong is another big receiver in the 2015 NFL Draft. As a redshirt junior last season, he had 82 receptions for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns in 12 games. He is one of the more physical receivers in the entire wide receiver draft class.

Strong is physical imposing receiver with good size at 6-foot-2, 217-pounds. He plays the receiver position with physicality and athleticism. His greatest strength is his ability to jump and grab balls at their highest point. He has great explosion to rise high above defenders and snatch balls away (as you can see in the video below). He has big, strong hands to grab balls away from defenders, along with good positioning to use his body to shield defenders away from the ball. He is a strong player with the ability to fight through contact to make tough catches. After the catch, he uses his strength to break away or carry defenders for more yardage. His size and strength also makes him a good blocker, who can be very helpful in the run game with improved technique. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein says, “Strong looks the part of a physical, possession receiver with a relatively high floor.”

Strong is not overly fast, so he can struggle to separate from defenders to get open. His lack of separation makes his job a lot more difficult. He is not an elusive or quick receiver, so he does not have great skill after the catch. He will not make defenders miss often, except when he uses his strength to break away. His route running is another area that he must work on. He needs to better utilize route running in order to gain some sort of separation from defenders. He also has the occasional focus drops. But, Strong’s ability to win jumpballs can help him get on the field, while he works on the rest of his game.

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Quality of play vs successful sporting events, While We’re Waiting http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/quality-of-play-vs-successful-sporting-events-while-were-waiting/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/quality-of-play-vs-successful-sporting-events-while-were-waiting/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:25:33 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142778 Happy Tuesday WFNY! Finally….a week without any new Kevin Love drama! Well, I mean, you know…other than that whole leaving the game early with back issues, right? Or maybe he just said his back was hurting as an excuse since he knew David Blatt wouldn’t play him in the fourth quarter anyway! Zing! So now

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Happy Tuesday WFNY!

Finally….a week without any new Kevin Love drama! Well, I mean, you know…other than that whole leaving the game early with back issues, right? Or maybe he just said his back was hurting as an excuse since he knew David Blatt wouldn’t play him in the fourth quarter anyway! Zing!

So now that we don’t have any Kevin Love drama to discuss, we can move on to bigger and better things, such as…..

Ummm…….

Hmmm…….

Wait a second, what are we supposed to talk about if we don’t have people freaking out over something related to this Cavs team? Baseball is right around the corner, but I don’t have anything to say about baseball. Besides, our new Indians coverage team has been killing it lately and as a casual-at-best baseball fan, I don’t really have anything to add.

We could talk about Ray Farmer’s suspension, I suppose. But does anyone really care? I’m happy the Browns didn’t lose draft picks over this stupidity, but a GM being suspended for the first four games of the season doesn’t really seem like it should impact the team all. After all, Farmer can text the coaches on the sideline from his couch just as easily as he could from his suite in the stadium. In fact, it’s probably even easier.

So instead, lets talk a minute about the other big sporting event going on right now. March Madness seems to be a huge success again this year. The TV ratings are through the roof. There have been so many close games that have come down to the last minute. And now we have huge, marquee names in the Final Four. We have Tom Izzo and Michigan State. John Calipari and Kentucky. Coach K and Duke. This is about as good as it gets1.

Or is it? The quality of basketball I’ve seen in this tournament has been atrocious. Almost-unbearable-to-watch levels of atrocious. The officiating has been an eternal trainwreck, players are missing wide open shot after wide open shot, sloppy turnovers, disjointed play, coaches trying to over-coach their teams, and fouls being called every 40 seconds of game time it seems. It’s been horrible.

The relative success of March Madness in terms of ratings and advertising and cash flow doesn’t surprise me at all. Like I said, the games have been close and we’ve had a lot of the top programs in the country involved. Just because the play itself has been awful doesn’t mean there hasn’t been drama and intrigue.

We’ve had plenty of debates internally at WFNY before over college basketball vs NBA. I know the arguments for the college game. There’s no question the atmosphere of college basketball is vastly superior to the atmosphere of NBA games. But in terms of the game itself, there’s just no comparison. The rules of the NCAA game ensure that it doesn’t have a chance in stacking up to the pro game.

I can’t decide whether the 35 second shot clock or the Five Foul limit is more offensive to basketball fans. With the 35 second clock, is there anything worse than a team getting a long offensive rebound? They pass it back to the top, they reset, and then they continue to pass around the perimeter for another 20 seconds before they initiate any kind of offense. And the Five Foul limit means that any time a star player gets two fouls in the first half, they’re sitting. Pick up their third? You’ll never see them again until the second half. I’m so tired of watching games where the star players I want to see aren’t playing because they are in “foul trouble” thanks to poor officiating and a ridiculous rule of only getting five fouls.

Look, I’m not trying to unnecessarily flame the sport of college basketball. The tradition, history, and pageantry of the sport is unlike anything else. The tournament is one of the absolute best sporting events in the world. So I don’t want to stray too far from my original point. The quality of play on the court needs to be improved. I know, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. But there’s a reason so many are clamoring for the sport to change some rules to better resemble the on-court style of play of the NBA.

The shot clock is almost certainly going to be reduced. It sounds like 30 seconds are where it’s going to go. That’s a good start, I guess, but I still think it should be reduced all the way to 24. Although, I certainly understand the arguments that 24 seconds is too short for the level of talent and athleticism in the college game. So I can accept 30 seconds as a compromise. There’s been a lot of talk of extending the restricted area. This is another great idea to open the lane up a little more and hopefully allow for a more free flowing style of play.

I love these proposed changes and I really hope they happen. I think they will be great for the quality of play in college basketball. I would love to see them also up the foul limit to six and I think they should also address the officiating somehow. But I’m always happy when sports are progressive and adaptable. History and tradition is fine when appropriate, but sacrificing quality of play for the sake of tradition makes no sense to me2.

I’ve been called a basketball snob before due to my stance on the college game. And maybe I am. What can I say? I love the game of basketball and nothing makes me happier than seeing the game played at a fast pace by the best athletes in the world. So while I have been able to enjoy the tournament thanks to the structure of the event, I’ve despised and been appalled by the level of play I’ve seen on the court. No wonder NBA GMs have such a hard time evaluating talent.

I have no clue if fans of college basketball are excited about the proposed changes or if they are resisting them. But personally, I feel like I should be more excited about this Final Four. Michigan State vs Duke and Kentucky’s quest for perfection. These are great storylines. I just hope the refs let these teams play and don’t turn this into another weekend slogfest of slow play and unbalanced calls.

*****

Going Clear

I initially had an enormous rant on Scientology and the HBO Documentary titled “Going Clear” that premiered this weekend. But after it was finished, I realized WFNY probably isn’t the place to discuss religion and the merits of what is and what is not considered a religion.

So instead I’ll just say that I would highly encourage everyone to check out this documentary and decide for yourself how you feel about it.

*****

New album(s) of the week

This is a pretty strong week for new music. Death Cab for Cutie has a new album and it is really good. Scott mentioned the new Wale album in his WWW yesterday. There are a whole bunch of indie releases worth checking out (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Follakzoid, and Death Grips to name a few). But I’m going to go a different direction this morning.

I don’t listen to a ton of electronic music. Sometimes I like listening to some dubsteb and chill-step stuff while playing video games or writing code, but I’m generally more of a rock guy. But there are two electronic albums this week that I think are definitely worth checking out.

The first is an artist few people probably know about called Madeon. Madeon is the pseudonym of a 20 year old French kid. He’s been releasing mixes and samples and doing production work for a few years now, but today he has released his debut album called “Adeventure”. The style blends traditional EDM with indie pop in a rather unique way that allows the album to not only be rhythmic in nature, but also uniquely catchy. And yes, he gets bonus points for collaborating with Passion Pit on this track:

The other album is by a band most of you are probably familiar with, The Prodigy. If any band or artist deserves the most share of credit for popularizing and bringing electronic music to the masses in America, it’s perhaps ironically the UK band The Prodigy. Their 1997 album “The Fat of the Land” is still one of the most influential albums in this country as it opened an entire generation’s eyes to what electronic music could be and inspired today’s technological generation to experiment with their computers to see what they could create.

Today, the Prodigy returns with their first album 2009, called “The Day Is My Enemy”. Is it their best work? Probably not. But honestly, it’s their most potent and focused album since “The Fat of the Land”. I really like the album a lot and am just happy to have a new Prodigy album out that I can be excited about.

I encourage anyone who likes any form of electronic music to check out these albums, as I’m pretty confident there is plenty of stuff on each of these releases for everyone.

*****

That’s all I have this weekend. Shorter than normal thanks to my decision to spike an entire section at the last minute, but it’s for the best. I hope everyone has a great week!

  1. I know there’s another Big Ten team in the Final Four, but I refuse to recognize that coach or his program
  2. Not to mention that prior to 1993, the college shot clock was 45 seconds, so if we really cared about preserving history, the shot clock would actually need to be raised, not lowered

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Trey Lewis to transfer from Cleveland State http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/trey-lewis-transfer-cleveland-state/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/trey-lewis-transfer-cleveland-state/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:07:28 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142748 For the second year in a row, Cleveland State is set to lose its leading scorer to another program. Guard Trey Lewis, who averaged 16.3 points per game for the Vikings this season, has been given his release from the school and is set to transfer. His destination has not yet been determined, but the 6-2

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For the second year in a row, Cleveland State is set to lose its leading scorer to another program.

Guard Trey Lewis, who averaged 16.3 points per game for the Vikings this season, has been given his release from the school and is set to transfer. His destination has not yet been determined, but the 6-2 guard is “exploring his options,” according to the CSU athletic department.

Brian Snow of Scout.com was first with the news.

It’s an unhappy bit of déjà vu for Viking fans, as Lewis is following in the footsteps of the 2013-14 campaign’s leading scorer, Bryn Forbes. After averaging 15.6 points for the Vikings as a sophomore, Forbes transferred to Michigan State last offseason. Forbes has averaged 8.7 points per game with the Spartans this year, including 14 in their victory over Louisville in the Elite Eight.

Michigan State plays Duke in the national semifinals on Saturday, April 4.

Lewis, a Garfield Heights grad, averaged 16.3 points per game for CSU this season, earning first-team All-Horizon League honors. Seeing a former teammate advance to the Final Four may have inspired Lewis to seek a bigger stage.

Lewis began his college career at Penn State, but transferred to CSU after the coaches who recruited him left for different jobs.

There is only speculation as to where Lewis will wind up as of now, but several major programs are said to be in the mix, including Louisville. Cardinal guard Terry Rozier, a Shaker Heights product, has declared for the NBA Draft, potentially opening up a backcourt spot for Lewis to fill.

The Vikings played at Louisville this season, so Cardinal skipper Rick Pitino has certainly had an up-close look at Lewis. Cleveland State only scored 33 points in their loss at the KFC Yum! Center, but Lewis scored 24 of those.

Garfield Heights coach Sonny Johnson said via Twitter that several schools have inquired about Lewis.

Lewis’ departure means the Vikings will have to replace three starters: Lewis, point guard Charlie Lee, and forward Marlin Mason; the latter two are graduating. Forward Anton Grady is currently slated to return, in which case he will be the Vikings’ go-to scorer.

With Lewis and Lee leaving, there will be plenty of minutes to be had in the CSU backcourt. At least one Viking guard, rising junior Andre Yates, seems to have taken notice.

The announcement of Lewis’ transfer adds to a big news day for Cleveland State’s athletic department, as the school also announced that it was cutting its wrestling team while adding a lacrosse program.

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D’Angelo Russell named first-team All-American http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/ohio-state-basketball-dangelo-russell-first-team-all-american/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/ohio-state-basketball-dangelo-russell-first-team-all-american/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:43:04 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142734 Ohio State’s tournament run ended earlier than Thad Matta and company would have liked, but there is some good news for Buckeye fans this March: guard D’Angelo Russell was selected as a first-team All-American by the Associated Press. Russell, a 6-5 freshman from Louisville, averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.6 steals in 35

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Ohio State’s tournament run ended earlier than Thad Matta and company would have liked, but there is some good news for Buckeye fans this March: guard D’Angelo Russell was selected as a first-team All-American by the Associated Press.

Russell, a 6-5 freshman from Louisville, averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.6 steals in 35 games for Ohio State. He shot nearly 48 percent from the field and better than 41 percent on three-pointers. He led the team in points and rebounds per game, and was second in assists and steals behind Shannon Scott.

Russell is widely expected to declare for the 2015 NBA Draft, and he is expected to be a high lottery selection if he does. He caught the eye of New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, who called Russell “a great looking kid, [a] great prospect” in early March. The Knicks were fined for those comments, as league officials are forbidden from discussing underclassmen.

According to the Plain Dealer, Russell answered “no comment” when asked by the about declaring for the draft following the Buckeyes’ second round loss to Arizona, a game in which he scored just nine points on 3-of-19 shooting.

OSU coach Thad Matta says that no decision has been made regarding Russell’s future, but that he would welcome the do-it-all guard back should he choose to stay in Columbus.

From the Plain Dealer:

“I haven’t even thought about it,” Matta said. “I think from the standpoint of just sitting down with him, let’s just get as much information as we possibly can to make the right decision for him. The thing I love about that kid, is if he leaves, he’s definitely had both feet in all the way, and that speaks volumes to who he is.

“Obviously if he’d like to come back, we have a scholarship for him.”

The Buckeyes finished the season 24-11, including 11-7 in Big Ten play.

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Miles Austin reportedly set to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/miles-austin-reportedly-set-to-sign-with-the-philadelphia-eagles/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/miles-austin-reportedly-set-to-sign-with-the-philadelphia-eagles/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:30:58 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142726 Miles Austin had a good season with the Browns in 2014 and many fans hoped to see him back with an encore performance. As the off-season has unfolded the Browns signed Brian Hartline and then Dwayne Bowe and it raised questions about the real chances of the Browns also asking back Austin. As recently as

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Miles Austin had a good season with the Browns in 2014 and many fans hoped to see him back with an encore performance. As the off-season has unfolded the Browns signed Brian Hartline and then Dwayne Bowe and it raised questions about the real chances of the Browns also asking back Austin. As recently as this weekend, Terry Pluto still expected the Browns to try and bring Austin back. Now, it appears his departure is imminent with Ian Rapoport saying Austin will sign with Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s too bad for the Browns, because Miles Austin’s value was really high according to any Browns fans who really watched the games as opposed to just reading the box scores. Miles Austin caught a lot of first downs for the team and really seemed to have that keen sensibility to get to the yardage markers.

Miles Austin only had 47 catches for 568 yards for the Browns, which isn’t a gaudy number. He also only received two touchdowns and his “long” on the year was 31 yards, but that doesn’t really tell the tale for me. Based on a deeper look at the numbers, of the 47 catches, 34 of them went for first downs over the 12 games he played. He also caught the most balls on third down. Of those 34 first downs, 17 of them were three yards or less past the sticks. I think after watching him play that it shows his awareness as a veteran receiver to get “just enough.” Also, of the 34 first down catches for the Browns, 14 of them were on third down. Third down conversions are such a big deal to a football team in terms of keeping drives alive and giving an offense momentum.

Miles Austin Catch Distribution by Down

Obviously the Browns thought Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe could add to their overall passing attack with Andrew Hawkins, who led the team in receiving in 2014. Hopefully one of those guys can become the savvy veteran who has a knack for converting third downs like Miles Austin seemed to be able to do in 2014.

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McShay has the Browns adding to their trenches in latest mock draft http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/mcshay-has-the-browns-adding-to-their-trenches-in-latest-mock-draft/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/mcshay-has-the-browns-adding-to-their-trenches-in-latest-mock-draft/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:00:11 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142705 The 2015 NFL Draft is exactly a month from today with the first round starting on April 30th. The Browns will be looking to upgrade their roster, especially on the defensive and offensive line. ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Browns upgrading both of those areas in his latest mock draft. In the last version of

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The 2015 NFL Draft is exactly a month from today with the first round starting on April 30th. The Browns will be looking to upgrade their roster, especially on the defensive and offensive line. ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Browns upgrading both of those areas in his latest mock draft.

In the last version of his mock draft, McShay had the Browns selecting wide receiver DeVante Parker of Louisville and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers of Miami (FL). In Monday’s mock draft 4.0, McShay has the Browns selecting defensive tackle Danny Shelton of Washington and again he has the Browns selecting Flowers with their other first round pick.

McShay has the Browns selecting defensive tackle Danny Shelton with the 12th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He is ranked second in my 2015 NFL Draft top five rankings of the interior defensive linemen. He would be a great fit for the Browns, who are in need of a run stuffing nose tackle. He is a huge player with the ability to take on two blockers to help his fellow defenders get free and make plays. The Browns are very light in the middle of the defensive line, especially with Athyba Rubin’s departure, so Shelton could slide right in and start immediately.

Here is what Todd McShay had to say about the selection:

#12: Danny Shelton
Cleveland Browns (7-9)
COLLEGE: Washington   Class: Sr   HT: 6-2   WT: 339   POS: DT

Analysis: Outside of quarterback, which the Browns aren’t going to be able to address here in this scenario, the team’s biggest needs are at wide receiver, right tackle and nose tackle. Shelton is the No. 9 player on our board, so he’s a value here, and there are good receiver and right tackle prospects to be had with the Browns’ No. 19 pick. You always have to worry about consistency with a player Shelton’s size (6-2, 339 pounds), but he has the potential to be a dominant force against the run and double-team magnet in the middle of Cleveland’s defensive front. He can also push the pocket as a pass-rusher.

With the 19th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, McShay has the Browns selecting offensive tackle Ereck Flowers. Flowers is ranked fifth in my 2015 NFL Draft top five offensive tackle rankings. He is a run blocking tackle, who would most likely play on the right side for the Browns. He is a big tackle with pretty good athleticism to develop into a good pass protector. He is still a little raw in his pass protection technique, so he will need some coaching in the NFL, but his run blocking ability could translate right away. The selection of Flowers would help solidify an already very good Browns offensive line.

Here is what Todd McShay says about Flowers:

#19: Ereck Flowers
Cleveland Browns (7-9)
COLLEGE: Miami (FL)   Class: Jr   HT: 6-6   WT: 329   POS: OT

Analysis: With Danny Shelton going to them at No. 12, I think this pick would come down to a wide receiver or offensive tackle. Flowers is a tough player with very good intangibles who takes well to coaching. He has a massive frame, is effective as a pass protector and a run blocker, and could fit in at right tackle opposite Joe Thomas or at guard.

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Ray Farmer suspended four games, Browns keep draft picks http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/ray-farmer-expected-to-be-suspended-browns-likely-keep-draft-picks/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/ray-farmer-expected-to-be-suspended-browns-likely-keep-draft-picks/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:34:52 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142715 I hate calling it “Textgate,” so other than that reference I won’t call it that. Regardless of what you want to call the Cleveland Browns’ texting violations and forthcoming punishment, it appears we might now know said punishments. And thankfully for me and my bubbling pot of rage, it appears the Browns will not lose

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I hate calling it “Textgate,” so other than that reference I won’t call it that. Regardless of what you want to call the Cleveland Browns’ texting violations and forthcoming punishment, it appears we might now know said punishments. And thankfully for me and my bubbling pot of rage, it appears the Browns will not lose one of their draft picks as a result.

First of all, how long did this thing need to take? I know the NFL wants to dominate the sports news landscape, but was this drawn out process a part of that? Or worse, did it really take them this long to deliberate on the facts and decide on the punishment? I understand how bad a year it’s been for the NFL in terms of rules enforcement, but just because they might have acted too quickly and wrongly with Ray Rice certainly doesn’t mean they need to spend countless weeks on every single issue involving punishment.

This is all good news from my vantage point. Obviously you wish the Browns wouldn’t have gotten involved in any of this at all, but this hopefully closes the book on the disastrous departure of Kyle Shanahan. It seemed to be his departure that set all this texting stuff in motion. That departure ended up getting Shanahan his release, but also led to his apologizing for how it all went down in his exit.

Regardless of that, this punishment seems to fit the crime. In a league that has coaches in a sky-high booth connected with headsets and armed with non-iPad Microsoft tablets to help gameplan, it seemed rather backward-looking to think that the Browns gained any kind of advantage from texting. As Shanahan’s messy departure unfolded, it’s easier to see how it was the opposite of advantage as it all unfolded in a buffet of dysfunctional dishes.

In case you missed my rant on the previous rumors of the Browns’ “severe” penalties, you can go back and read it. In the end, I don’t consider this punishment (if it comes to pass as Schefter describes) to be too severe for what the transgression turned out to be.

UPDATE: The rulings have been made official: the Browns will not lose a draft pick, but the organization has been fined and Farmer will be suspended for the season’s first four games.

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Watch the hysterical video of the Indians reading mean tweets http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/watch-the-hysterical-video-of-the-indians-reading-mean-tweets/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/watch-the-hysterical-video-of-the-indians-reading-mean-tweets/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:29:02 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142722 The Cleveland Indians ripped this bit off from Jimmy Kimmel, but who cares? The execution was really great and delivered the kind of hysterical results you’d expect. My favorite is also the featured image here where Tony Mazur gets bro-slapped by Nick Swisher. I also appreciated the Jim Rosenhaus bit. And just getting a jump

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The Cleveland Indians ripped this bit off from Jimmy Kimmel, but who cares? The execution was really great and delivered the kind of hysterical results you’d expect. My favorite is also the featured image here where Tony Mazur gets bro-slapped by Nick Swisher.

I also appreciated the Jim Rosenhaus bit. And just getting a jump on version two of the video, for those who don’t know who Jim Rosenhaus is, he’s the one on the radio who is Not Tom Hamilton. Also count the number of times you see Kluber shirts.

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Cavalier Film Room: Classifying LeBron’s Turnovers http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cavalier-film-lebron-james-turnovers/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cavalier-film-lebron-james-turnovers/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:45:00 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142675 When we last met in the film room, it was to highlight the Cavaliers’ offense keeping it 100. In this film room, however, we’re going to “attack” an issue that has been hidden in plain sight all season: LeBron James’ increased number of turnovers. Any way that you want to slice it, this has been

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When we last met in the film room, it was to highlight the Cavaliers’ offense keeping it 100. In this film room, however, we’re going to “attack” an issue that has been hidden in plain sight all season: LeBron James’ increased number of turnovers.

Any way that you want to slice it, this has been James’ worst season of his 12-year career with miscues. He is averaging 4.0 turnovers per game, 5.8 turnovers per 100 possessions, has a 15.5% turnover rate, and with seven games remaining in the regular season, it’s possible that James could still tally his most total turnovers in a season despite playing 70 games at most.

Now, how do you go about dissecting a turnover problem? Well, I didn’t have time to watch all 260 turnovers this season from James, but what I did do was take a look at all of the turnovers from games where James had six or more. That covered 14 different games and 101 total cough-ups. I wanted to log a few different things when perusing these clips. First, I wanted to drop each of these turnovers into one of several buckets to classify them by type. Next, I wanted to log if there was a teammate directly involved with the turnover, and if so, who it was. Finally, I tried to determine if it was one of LeBron’s self-described “attack” turnovers, which James admits don’t bother him nearly as much in the grand scheme of things.

So, what buckets made sense for type classification? Two obvious ones were offensive foul and traveling. Traveling was expanded to include carry, double dribble, possession lost on a jump ball tie up, and any other miscellaneous types. From there, I decided to add four more buckets:

  • Miscommunication
  • Decision making/accuracy
  • Defensive pressure
  • Loose handle/bad hands

Miscommunication is for the type of plays where the passer anticipates a cut one way and their teammate cuts the opposite way or the passer is expecting a teammate to be spotted up at a different spot than they are. Defensive pressure is where the a strong defensive play was made to influence the turnover. It didn’t necessarily have to be a steal. Something as small as tough defense that forces the player to dribble it off their knee would fall into this category. Traps and deflections would fall into this range as well. I grouped together loose dribbling and bad hands, and the hands could have been on the part of James or the receiving teammate. Pretty much everything else falls into the decision making and accuracy bucket, which captures the inexplicable snap decisions that James is often forced to make.

So, how did these categories shake out? Take a look at that fancy infographic above. Along with the information in the chart, I deemed 41 of James’ 101 turnovers as worthy of being called “attack” turnovers. The others would qualify as “unforced” to use LeBron’s own words from the Atlanta loss on March 6.

“As far as turnovers, I suck, I suck,” James said. “Tonight was another one of those nights. Some of them were attacking. I remember I had a couple I drove left hard, I thought Kev [Kevin Love] was going to be at a certain place, he cut, I threw it out of bounds. The first two turnovers, I got my arm grabbed. I wasn’t strong with the ball. I turned the ball over.

“My last turnover, I seen Kyrie [Irving] open in the paint. I tried to throw high, I should have thrown low. Those are careless turnovers, so it was split. Of my nine, I think five of them were unforced, four of them were attack turnovers. But, I suck. As far as me turning the ball over, I got to do better.”

Let’s start with an example of a turnover that is just going to happen from time to time. In this scenario, LeBron has the ball posting up mid-range in isolation against Michael Carter-Williams.

James quickly turns to face up and drive past Carter-Williams baseline side. He has a strong angle to the basket to either get a layup, dunk, or go to the foul line. As James gathers to go up strong, however, he simply loses his grip on the basketball as a pair of Sixers defenders rotate over to help Carter-Williams. This is a classic attack turnover as it occurs in the course of aggressively driving to the basket.
Now, James certainly had other options on this play with Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith open on the perimeter, but I’m not going to beat him up for that. If he doesn’t lose grip on the ball, this would have been a point-yielding possession for the wine and gold.
♦♦♦
Next up, we have one of our miscommunication type turnovers. LeBron and Timofey Mozgov are in a pick-and-roll situation at the top of the key early in the shot clock. Mozgov clips Jeff Teague with the screen, and LeBron darts left with Al Horford picking him up as he surges toward the hoop.

You can see that Atlanta is already in a cross-matchup situation as Paul Millsap picks up Iman Shumpert and Dennis Schroder accounts for Kevin Love. Love starts in the right corner at the three point line, but as James drives, he slides into the post area looking for a dump-off pass. Schroder bites over to help Horford with James, and both James and Love see the opportunity. However, they see it differently. James throws the lob, while Love stays on the ground, waiting presumably for a bounce pass and layup.

This is one of those plays that is James and Love still getting to know each other’s games and their favorite spots to place and receive the ball. These seem to be happening much less than they were at the beginning of the season as the familiarity increases.

♦♦♦

One of the more frustrating developments for me personally this season has been LeBron’s often-loose handle when driving to the basket. He’s committing an awful lot of turnovers in cases where he’s letting the defensive stick their hand in or he’s dribbling it too high or too far behind him as he cuts. The best way I can phrase it is that sometimes it appears that James is dribbling a basketball that is low on air.

In this setup, James has Paul Millsap on him at the top of the key. He clearly wants to take him off the dribble and create something going to the basket.

 

 LeBron drives right on Millsap, and Millsap reaches in early with his left to try to jar the ball loose. James powers through that, taking a couple more dribbles before jump stopping. When he does jump stop, Millsap sticks his hand in again and causes the turnover. The Hawks get the ball up the court quickly and get a transition hoop because Kevin Love lets his man beat him down the court. The floor balance for the Cavaliers was pretty rough on offense, and Shumpert was left to pick between guarding one of two players.
♦♦♦
Now, we move on to the types of turnovers that LeBron truly needs to minimize to get this issue under control. Most of the following can be attributed to poor decision making or accuracy and are of the “unforced” variety.
First up, we see James in another post-up isolation scenario. However, this time, notice how tightly packed the Pacers are within the paint to prevent James from getting anywhere. Solomon Hill is on James, plus George Hill and Roy Hibbert are cheating over as well on either side of Hill.
At the moment that James turns to make a move and then bounce pass it to Timofey Mozgov, there are four Pacers in the paint. Four extended sets of arms and legs that the bounce pass has to get through to Mozgov on the other side of the key. It’s C.J. Miles, who cheats way down off of J.R. Smith on the right wing, that grabs the steal and heads the other way with it. James would’ve probably been better off giving it back out to Irving behind him or trying to make the wing pass to J.R.
♦♦♦
 Staying within that same game, we find another situation where James attempt another cross-paint pass that has a low probability of making it there.
James uses a Mozgov pick to cut down the right side of the paint, goes airborne, then tries to zip a corner pass to Love in the left corner, who is admittedly wide open. But, look again, and see that the pass has to go through three Pacers to get there as Mozgov and Love’s men are in the flight pattern of the basketball. David West easily snags the pass away.
♦♦♦
 Moving on to the Chicago game before the All-Star break, an eight turnover experience for James, we see a fastbreak scenario unfold. James drives in on Tony Snell with Thompson running to the hoop on his left, Mozgov trailing the play, and the pair of shooters in Smith and Irving spotting up on the right side on the wing and in the corner.
Two extra defenders, including Joakim Noah, pinch down when they see James has a one-track mind to the hoop. I love that will within James, but when it starts out 45 feet from the basket, it gives the defense time to allocate extra bodies to the drive. It also means James can’t stop when someone does stay in front of him or get in his way. Snell plays great defense, and Noah coming over stops James dead in his tracks. The ball never even really gets off of James’ hands as Snell snags it.
♦♦♦
Staying with the same contest, James waits for Thompson to set a slow-developing pick inside the arc. These extremely tight quarters for a pick and roll are odd, and it doesn’t end well.
Noah is able to slide over to stop James from driving with ease. LeBron then tries to pass it to Dellavedova on the right wing (again cross-court) between two or three defenders. In my opinion, Delly should have rotated up a step or two as LeBron got further into the paint, but the pass was far too soft to expect it to make it all the way to Delly against Chicago’s defense.
♦♦♦
In this turnover sequence against Detroit, LeBron does do what I recommend he should have earlier in this series of clips and stops his drive when there are multiple defenders in between him and the basket.
He tries to hit the trailer Love on the left wing, but Andre Drummond is trailing the play too, and his deflection causes a backcourt violation (mostly because the official whiffed on the call and Drummond indeed did touch the ball). It’s still a pass from the deep from the right side of the paint to the left wing, and it wouldn’t have accomplished anything if it were merely a deflection rather than a turnover.
♦♦♦
Finally, we see James in another post-up against the Warriors. James commits the cardinal sin: he leaves his feet without any clue as to what he is going to do with the basketball.
 As he turns to the middle and looks for his shot, it’s cut off by the helping big man Bogut. The Warriors do a nice job of cutting off the outlet to the wing and the dump-off to the corner. James is left to try and lob the ball over the defender, and Draymond Green easily wins that battle over Irving.
♦♦♦
In the end, why is LeBron turning the ball over more and is there anything the Cavaliers can do to remedy the problem? What I can say is that from watching this collection of high-turnover games, James has to key in on two areas where the turnovers are coming at a rapid pace: unforced halfcourt turnovers from isolation and poor dribbling.
The problem with isolation can be that jump pass may be needed to find the open man as help defenders shade over, and you’re forced to throw it through them. Some of the better defensive teams, like the Bulls, Warriors, and Pacers, are going to make you pay for decision-making like that. The Cavaliers are too well-equipped at this point with their top seven to settle for some of these looks they get out of isolation. It’s all about making the defense choose, then taking what they give you. With a roster as talented as the Cavs currently have, you have that luxury.
Until next time, the film room is closed!
(GIFs by Scott Sargent, Infographic by Kyle Welch)

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Sam Bradford wouldn’t sign extension with the Browns http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/sam-bradford-cleveland-browns-trade-rumors/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/sam-bradford-cleveland-browns-trade-rumors/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142704 Another day, another member of the media confirming that it was in fact the Cleveland Browns who offered a first-round draft pick for former St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford was ultimately sent to the Philadelphia Eagles in a deal for quarterback Nick Foles. According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, however, the machinations of the failed

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Another day, another member of the media confirming that it was in fact the Cleveland Browns who offered a first-round draft pick for former St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford was ultimately sent to the Philadelphia Eagles in a deal for quarterback Nick Foles. According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, however, the machinations of the failed deal run a lot deeper than just the Browns being one-upped by the Chip Kelly.

I think I can now say with certainty that The Other Team in the chase for Sam Bradford—as many have inferred—was Cleveland. The Browns would have been willing to part with a first-round pick in either 2015 or 2016 (I do not know which year) for Bradford, but there were two problems: One, the Browns didn’t have a quarterback to give in return, and Philadelphia was willing to fork over Nick Foles. Two, Bradford would not have been willing to sign a new contract this off-season if he were traded to Cleveland, and he is willing to consider an extension in Philadelphia. So the Philly deal was really the only one that made sense for the Rams and for Bradford, in the end.

So, let’s take this step by step:

Apparently none of the three quarterbacks on the Browns—Johnny Manziel, Josh McCown, or Connor Shaw—counted as actual quarterbacks. Splendid. While Browns fans could play the “grumble grumble national media narrative bias grumble” card, fewer individuals are more plugged in to the Rams than King. If he’s reporting it, it’s true.

Then there’s the contract situation. Bradford was not willing to sign a contract extension with the Browns. Entering the final year of his gigantic six-year, $78 million deal, Bradford is set to be a free agent in 2016. This report insinuates that not only was Bradford willing to sign with the Eagles, but he will most definitely sign an extension with them, effectively washing away the hope that Cleveland could still acquire him on Draft Day. While it’s not worth ever counting out Kelly and his potential to make a head-scratching move, it appears that the former Sooner will be in the City of Brotherly Love for the next several well-compesated seasons. Not bad considering he was pondering retirement as recent as a few months ago.

Meanwhile, the Browns are still without a quarterback. They have plenty of ammunition in the way of draft picks, but even those are up for debate as the NFL is expected to take at least one of them this week. Teams with quality quarterbacks are not willing to trade them and free agency is never the answer. It’s looking more and more like the Browns will be picking another QB come draft time. It is also looking more and more like we’ll be having these exact same discussions a year from now.

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Forget the NBA playoffs; let’s realign the “target demographic”: While We’re Waiting… http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/target-demographic-nba-playoffs/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/target-demographic-nba-playoffs/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:30:59 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142630 Happy Monday, kids. Is it pretty safe to say that March is going out like a lion? April will bring us crummy things like tax deadlines and such, but come this time next month, we’ll be fully ingrained in the NBA Playoffs, the MLB regular season and NFL Draft talk. Buckle up, you guys…It’s going

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Happy Monday, kids. Is it pretty safe to say that March is going out like a lion? April will bring us crummy things like tax deadlines and such, but come this time next month, we’ll be fully ingrained in the NBA Playoffs, the MLB regular season and NFL Draft talk. Buckle up, you guys…It’s going to be a fun few weeks. But While We’re Waiting…

Today is my birthday. I say this not in search of acknowledgment or well wishes, but in search of some sort of reasoning. You see, it’s my 34th birthday—or, as advertisers see it, my final year as a member of the target demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males. While I’ll admit that even I have had it better than women, a segment of people who are automatically ixnayed from potential admittance to this demographic from Minute One, I’m still unsure as to why this range is what it is.

Don’t get me wrong: I completely understand why it was, at some point in ad-focused history, set this way. Mid-30s may as well be 40, and 40 is, well, no longer where the influencers exist. A giant portion of A-List celebrities are well north of 40, but they aren’t the ones getting billed for commercials these days. Some are even still single and, by definition, still hip. Leo DiCaprio is 40. So is Derek Jeter. Pharrell Williams is 41, and is married and has a son and is the current personification of hip. It could also be argued that if you produce “Rump Shaker” and “Blurred Lines” over the course of a 20-plus year career, and continue to be a part of fashion trends around the world, that you’re more the exception that the rule. This all said, I think it’s worth reconsidering what exactly comprises the target demographic—and not just because I’m clinging to my last 365 days of relevance, but because I think it just makes damn good sense.


Once you start to tread into your 30s, real life starts to knock on your door and pesky things like utilities and insurance command a bigger share of the wallet than it did when I would willingly drink copious amounts of Bud Light.

I’m not sure about you, but I earn a few dollars more per week today than I did when I was 18. Same can be said for 21 through, well, 33. It can also be said that there are plenty of other forward-thinking mediums already catering to the older millennials. Take one good look at ESPN’s 30 for 30 series—the critically acclaimed, award winning, unit pushing, live-tweet driving series. What age range do these typically cover? Almost all of the events took place during a period where current 35-to-40-year-olds were in their formative years as a sports fan. Ben Wilson was murdered in 1984. Len Bias passed away in 1986. “The U,” the documentary that focused on the heyday of the Miami Hurricanes, largely focused on the late-80s. Gretzky traded to LA? That happened in 1988. The OJ chase that was coupled with the NBA Finals and World Cup in Chicago took place in June, 1994, the same year that Andres Escobar was murdered. I could go on, but the point is crystal clear: All of these moments would only resonate with someone, more than likely male, who was living up their formative years between 1984 and 1994. Mathematically, we’re talking individuals who born between, say, 1975 and 1985—35-to-45-year olds in present day.

To the advertisers who are in search of my hard-earned dollars, it could reasonably be assumed that I spent more money, at least more frequently, on items of leisure when I was 18-through-33. Once you start to tread into your 30s, real life starts to knock on your door and pesky things like utilities and insurance command a bigger share of the wallet than it did when I would willingly drink copious amounts of Bud Light. But given the trends of wages plateauing and the whole feel-good quip about 40 being the “new 30,” it would make sense for marketers to keep folks like me (and you, if you’re in my same boat—the balding, greying, weight-gaining boat) on their radar. We may not look as good as we did when we were 18, but Lord knows that our dollars go just as far.

I firmly believe the “target demographic” should morph into something closer to 21-40. Eighteen-year olds have enough at their advantage. Let’s have them wait a few years before entering the radar. And hey—you can join too, ladies. Who’s with me?

♦♦♦

Speaking of being old and nostalgic, I can’t believe that it’s been 25 years since Michael Jordan’s 69-point game. Just like all of the documentaries discussed above, Peak Jordan occurred in the late-80s and early-90s, a time where there were plenty of distractions. Like most fans my age, I don’t believe I truly understood how special the events I was witnessing actually were. Being that young, there was no point of reference. It didn’t help that I also spent so much time loathing the man for how much of a thorn he was in my side as a Cleveland fan, but if Jordan provided me with anything as a child, it was to not take excellence for granted when presented with the opportunity to watch. It’s the reason I refuse to live and die with every Cavs game. It’s the reason I watched all of the Miami Heat games when LeBron James went away for a few years. It’s the reason why I’ll watch random sporting events like Tennis when Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal are playing. I have no vested interest in who wins (though I love pulling for Andy Murray), but I simply love watching the best in the world execute their craft on the largest of stages. For this, I can thank Michael Jordan.

♦♦♦

These “brutally honest” push notifications are fake, but some of them should be conjured up before it’s too late. Some of my favorites:

♦♦♦

Oh, hey there Hot Takes. We’ll need you to step aside. #ActualSportswriting is coming through:

Inside Jeremy Lin’s Life after Linsanity” by Pablo S. Torre (ESPN The Magazine): “Sometimes the gloom of this trajectory strikes Lin on the team plane, when he’s tired and trapped. Sometimes it strikes him at home, so he’ll go to the beach by himself and take deep breaths. Often he’ll come home after games and watch film on his iPad, climb into bed by midnight, pray aloud, read, then fail to fall asleep until 4. “And then I wake up at 6, head spinning with a million different thoughts,” he says. “About plays from the previous night. About when I’ve had success in the past. How I can try to replicate that. How I can work on certain moves. How I can analyze the game differently.”1

Take These Broken Wings” by Kim Cross (SB Nation): “Delvin McMillian lives in a two-story brick house in an upscale subdivision in Alabaster, a community 30 minutes south of Birmingham, Ala. Blond boys toss footballs across landscaped lawns and race each other down the street. Walking up to his home, I stupidly look for a wheelchair ramp. Delvin is a world-class wheelchair rugby player. But when he is not on the rugby court, he goes about his business on two prosthetic legs that begin below both knees. They vanish under his pants so well it is easy to forget them.”2

Being Andre the Giant” by Denny Burkholder (CBS Sports): “Having worked many uninspiring manual labor jobs, a teenage Andre had yet to find a path in life that excited him. That changed when he tried pro wrestling. Suddenly, the small-town kid was performing in the world’s biggest cities in front of throngs of mesmerized fans. Pro wrestling was perfect for Andre the Giant. He could travel the world, become a celebrity, meet new people, make lots of money and have fun doing it.”3

Story of Patty Mills: Spur, Aussie, Bala” by Alexander Wolf (Sports Illustrated): “The walls of the locker room in the Spurs’ arena, the AT&T Center, are festooned with the same Popovich-chosen motivational saying, posted in every language represented on the roster, including Meriam Mir, which is spoken in the eastern Torres Strait. “I wasn’t interested in ‘There is no I in team’ or any of that crap,” the coach says. Instead the words are from Jacob Riis, the 19th-century Danish immigrant to the U.S. who became a social reformer and championed the stranger in a strange land.”4

♦♦♦

And finally, this week’s Brew Sneaker Album du Jour: Wale’s “The Album About Nothing”

Prince George County’s own is back with another album. After abandoning the Seinfeld-based theme that made him famous in the mixtape circuit, Wale Folarian is set to release “The Album About Nothing” on March 31. A look at the cover to the right, and you’ll see the DC-native standing next to Jerry Seinfeld, but rather than the comedian being in his trademark plain-white sneakers, the Jordan fan has him outfitted in some fresh VIIs.

For those who are a bit confused about all of this, a few years back in 2008, Wale released “The Mixtape About Nothing,” a 19-track independent album that featured countless soundbites from the long-time comedy Seinfeld—the self-proclaimed show about nothing. The cover art for this mixtape featured the feet of the four key characters of the show and Wale. A year later, we were greeted with “More About Nothing,” After singing with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group, the rapper released a few general, actual albums, but largely abandoned what got him to where he was. The albums sold well with the rapper’s niche, core audience, but did little beyond the first week. Three albums later, we get “The Album About Nothing,” and rather than having an album full of old clips, we get Seinfeld himself serving as the narrator over the course of the 14 tracks. But don’t fret: There’s still a slew of key lines intertwined.

Before “The Pessamist,” a track with J. Cole, we get a dialogue between Seinfeld and George Costanza:

Jerry: “Oh, so there’s still hope?”
George: “I don’t want hope. Hope is killing me. My dream is to become hopeless. When you’re hopeless, you don’t care. When you don’t care, that indifference makes you attractive.”

Wale once again brandishes his impressive wordplay and continues to bang the drum on items like institutional racism and things like obsession with celebrities. The album itself will not compete with the recent releases of Drake and Kendrick Lamar, and will undoubtedly be trumped by Kanye West’s release later this year. But it’s classic Wale, and it’s great to see (and hear) him going back to his roots.

  1. Pablo, with Jeremy Lin, is effectively the Lee Jenkins to LeBron. Add in some top flight production and this is one hell of a piece.
  2. I love stories about random individuals excelling at random things. I had never known that wheelchair rugby was a thing.
  3. It’s the day after WrestleMania and I’m not sure what I’m more surprised about: A piece on wrestling linked here or the fact that it’s hosted on CBS Sports.
  4. A terrific story about the player who may very well be the most diverse on a team full of international talent. Very well reported.

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Does Anyone Want to Win? 76ers vs Cavs: Behind the Box Score http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/does-anyone-want-to-win-76ers-vs-cavs-behind-the-box-score/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/does-anyone-want-to-win-76ers-vs-cavs-behind-the-box-score/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 01:26:27 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142673 Philadelphia 76ers (18-56) 86 Cleveland Cavaliers (48-27) 87 Box Score On Saturday night, Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena hosted a nail-biter of a game for the ages when Kentucky survived Notre Dame 68-66 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. It was one hell of a game, and though it may have been one of the more

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Philadelphia 76ers (18-56) 86

Cleveland Cavaliers (48-27) 87

Box Score

On Saturday night, Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena hosted a nail-biter of a game for the ages when Kentucky survived Notre Dame 68-66 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. It was one hell of a game, and though it may have been one of the more well-played games in the tournament, it was still characterized by a few of the things that make college basketball a less aesthetically pleasing game than its professional counterpart: underproficient offense, low scoring, and sluggish play. Quicken Loans Arena must have been unable to evacuate the building of the scent of college basketball, because the odor of the slower, less enjoyable game made Sunday afternoon’s Cleveland Cavaliers-Philiadelphia 76ers game a real stinker, so that viewers and spectators sure felt like they were watching an NCAA game (but without the excitement and enthusiasm).

Like the Kentucky Wildcats, the Cavaliers eventually escaped with a victory they probably didn’t deserve, but the 76ers blew every opportunity they had to take it. In a fourth quarter in which both teams appeared reluctant to score, somebody had to get the win, so it may as well have been the Cavs. With any luck, this game was a test for a team destined for great things, no different than Kentucky perhaps, but it was mostly one to be forgotten. It would have been a big setback to lose a second consecutive game after Friday’s bummer in Brooklyn.1 But let us peek behind the box score nonetheless, bracing ourselves for what horrors we may discover.

0 - The Cavs scored an astounding zero points in the last 4:04 of the game, and still managed to win. Were they up by a substantial margin that the 76ers were unable to overcome? No. Did both teams stop playing and begin wrestling at center court? No. Did the referees suspend the shot clock and allow the Cavs to dribble out the last four minutes and four seconds? No again. Seven seconds after Timofey Mozgov’s putback layup with 4:04 remaining, 76ers guard Robert Covington made an obnoxious, contested 25-foot jump shot, and that was the last of the scoring. The remainder of the game had 11 missed field goal attempts, four missed free throws, four personal fouls, and zero points. The last three-and-a-half minutes read like the play-by-play of a Washington Generals intrasquad scrimmage: MISS Smith 27′ 3PT Jump Shot; Irving Bad Pass Turnover; MISS James 8′ Fadeaway Jumper; 76ers Timeout: Short; MISS Covington Free Throw 2 of 2; MISS Noel 7′ Jump Shot; Thompson REBOUND. Game over, folks. Wasn’t that fun?

15-of-42 – LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined to shoot 15-of-42 from the field, for an appalling 35.7 percent. This is unheard of for two hyper-efficient scorers of their caliber, who have career effective field goal percentages of 53.1 and 50.6, respectively. They both shot over forty percent in the first half, then faded down the stretch. James and Irving are both among the best fourth quarter players in the league, but made only three of their 16 field goal attempts in the money quarter. LeBron clanged sideways runners in the paint off the back of the rim that he normally makes, and Irving missed several of his trademark layups, some popping out of the hoop at the last possible moment. Although their 18 wins are a punchline, the 76ers defense isn’t, as their 99.8 defensive rating since the All-Star game is seventh in the league. But they didn’t contest every shot from James and Irving, and footage of the game doesn’t show that it was the 76ers defense that deserved all the credit for the Cavs stars’ struggles. Whether they were bored, tired, or simply having a bad day is unclear, but for them to both play so poorly is a rarity.

16 – A positive takeaway from the game was that the Cavs won their 16th straight game at home, a great sign. The Cavs’ last loss at home occurred on January 7, against the Houston Rockets. Since then, they’ve blown teams out at home by an average of 14.6 points per game; rendering most fourth quarters moot before they had a chance to begin. The restoration of the Cavs home court advantage accompanied their season turnaround, as they were a morbid 11-9 before the current 16-game streak. Being indomitable at home was the foundation of all the late, great 2000s Cavs teams, such as when they famously went 39-2 at home in 2008-09. The Cavs were underwhelming on Sunday, sure; but let’s not forget they’ve been unstoppable at home over the last two-plus months, and just returned home after a grueling stretch of 15 of 20 games on the road, during which they cemented their status as one of the best teams in the league. Even though the Cavs have been lethargic for two consecutive games, fans should expect a letdown after the return home following their recent gauntlet of a schedule. Let’s not forget the Cavs thrashed the Western Conference two-seed Memphis Grizzlies just last Wednesday.

7 – The Cavs have only seven games remaining, and we’re starting to enter that “rest ‘em” or play ‘em” start of the schedule, where coach David Blatt needs to weigh whether it’s in the team’s best interest to maximize health or level of play entering the playoffs. The Cavs had two key players exit the game and not return on Sunday. Iman Shumpert missed another dunk (we flubbed one on Wednesday), but also left the game following the failed dunk with an ankle injury. Kevin Love had a pass sail over his head late in the game, then immediately called timeout and exited the game, with his lower back injury flaring up again. Neither appears to be serious, but the Cavs want neither a hobbled Love nor a flat-tired Shumpert when the games matter.

How Blatt manages the situation these next two weeks could be crucial entering the playoffs. The Cavs don’t play another game until Thursday (!), a home revenge date with the Miami Heat. They only have two road games remaining. I think the Cavs need to be as healthy as possible entering the playoffs, but I think actively not trying for more than a week-and-a-half makes it harder to knock off the rust.

I think the Cavs should go full tilt in Thursday’s Heat game and in Sunday’s home affair against the Chicago Bulls, then rest up for the playoffs. Michael Jordan never played in five consecutive Finals, which is exactly what LeBron intends to do. After the two weeks he took off earlier in the season, LeBron came back rejuvenated and refreshed — a totally different player than the one taking the court in November or December. So, if James wants to spend the next 20 days sipping cocktails in Cabo San Lucas, I fully support it. The Cavs have shown what their capable of, now they need to rest up, watch film, figure how to fix what few flaws they have, and perfect the things they do well heading into the playoffs.

  1. In my first round preview, I wrote, “The Nets are a non-threat to the Cavaliers in the unlikely event that they play one another in the playoffs. The Cavs are 3-0 against the Nets so far this season, with their last contest of the season loitering in Brooklyn until Friday night — a game the Cavs will most certainly lose now that I’ve written this.” Whoops.

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Anthony Swarzak makes Cleveland Indians roster; Josh Tomlin sent down http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/anthony-swarzak-josh-tomlin-cleveland-indians-roster-news/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/anthony-swarzak-josh-tomlin-cleveland-indians-roster-news/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 17:31:52 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142668 Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Anthony Swarzak made the Cleveland Indians roster out of spring training, the team announced on Sunday morning. Starter Josh Tomlin was sent down to Triple-A Columbus. TJ House and Zach McAllister won out the final two rotation spots. Swarzak, 29, has spent his entire baseball career with the Minnesota Twins. A second-round

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Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Anthony Swarzak made the Cleveland Indians roster out of spring training, the team announced on Sunday morning. Starter Josh Tomlin was sent down to Triple-A Columbus. TJ House and Zach McAllister won out the final two rotation spots.

Swarzak, 29, has spent his entire baseball career with the Minnesota Twins. A second-round pick in 2004, he was once a hot-shot starting pitching prospect — ranking No. 100 in Baseball Propsectus’ league-wide prospect rankings prior to 2006 — but flamed out in the past few seasons. He was a reliever and spot-starter most recently.

His inclusion into the 25-man roster is a bit of a surprise after his rough spring training. In 8.2 innings, he allowed nine runs (all earned) with nine hits, two walks and 11 strikeouts. He’s expected to be potentially the final reliever on the team.

Over on the starting rotation, the news of Tomlin’s demotion was not as surprising. McAllister, 27, had a better spring and the Indians brass was largely effusive in their praise. With his hold on the No. 5 spot, he’s projected to start the home opener on April 10.

Of course, the 25-year-old House had a sensational second half to last season, so even though he had worse spring numbers than the other two, his spot seemed largely safe. He was 5-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 19 games (102 innings) for the Tribe last season.

As a recap, here is then your Indians starting rotation:

And the bullpen now safely includes: closer Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Scott Atchison, Marc Rzepczynski, Nick Hagadone, Kyle Crockett and Swarzak. The team held a 13-man pitching staff for most of last season, so one extra bullpen spot could be up for grabs. Reliever Austin Adams was informed he’s in the mix for that spot. It also could be given to a position player like Tyler Holt, Jerry Sands or Jesus Aguilar.

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Cable monopolies, the real NFL Network and more – WFNY Podcast – 2015-03-27 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cable-monopolies-the-real-nfl-network-and-more-wfny-podcast-2015-03-27/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cable-monopolies-the-real-nfl-network-and-more-wfny-podcast-2015-03-27/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 12:42:43 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142666 Craig Lyndall and Dave Sterling get together in person, in public, to talk about the day’s events in sports, cable TV and technology… Nervous Dog in Stow Chris Clem live in Cuyahoga Falls Scene Magazine awarding WFNY Podcast into eternity Cavs game against Memphis League Pass and why they won’t let local superfans see local

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Craig Lyndall and Dave Sterling get together in person, in public, to talk about the day’s events in sports, cable TV and technology…

  • Nervous Dog in Stow
  • Chris Clem live in Cuyahoga Falls
  • Scene Magazine awarding WFNY Podcast into eternity
  • Cavs game against Memphis
  • League Pass and why they won’t let local superfans see local games
  • NFL losing blackout restrictions
  • Buying Game of Thrones on iTunes
  • Watch ESPN doesn’t work as well as MLB app
  • The NFL should have an NFL network with all past games archives
  • NFL Game Rewind and how mediocre it is
  • Watching the NFL combine
  • Dan Gilbert and how he should start a soccer team
  • The evil of charging for tethering and data
  • Comcast and the cable companies with their government-granted monopolies

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On the 25th anniversary of Michael Jordan dropping 69 on the Cavs http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/michael-jordan-cleveland-cavaliers-69-points/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/michael-jordan-cleveland-cavaliers-69-points/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 18:02:08 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142657 What if I told you that Mark Price and Craig Ehlo would combine for 57 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists against Michael Jordan and the vaunted Chicago Bulls? And that John “Hot Rod” Williams, coming off of the bench, would produce a fantasy owner’s dream—23 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocks. How about Scottie Pippen,

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What if I told you that Mark Price and Craig Ehlo would combine for 57 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists against Michael Jordan and the vaunted Chicago Bulls? And that John “Hot Rod” Williams, coming off of the bench, would produce a fantasy owner’s dream—23 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocks. How about Scottie Pippen, BJ Armstrong and John Paxson combining to go 6-for-21? What if I also told you that the Cleveland Cavaliers would lose?

On March 28, 1990, a game was housed in Richfield Coliseum between the two teams, and only two members of the Bulls would even break double-digits in scoring. The only problem: One of those Bulls was named Michael Jordan and his double-digit outing was a career-best 69 points to go with 18 rebounds, six assists and four steals. The Cavs would lose by four in overtime.

Here’s the short-and-sweet game recap from the Associated Press on this very night:

RICHFIELD, Ohio — Michael Jordan scored 69 points tonight, the ninth-highest total in National Basketball Association history, as Chicago beat Cleveland by 117-113 in overtime and clinched a spot in the playoffs.

Jordan made 23 of 37 field-goal attempts and 21 of 23 foul shots. He also had a career-high 18 rebounds, plus 6 assists and 4 steals.

It was the fourth time Jordan had scored more than 60 points. His previous career high was 63 against Boston in the 1986 playoffs. He also scored 61 twice in 1987.

“This would have to be my greatest game,” Jordan said. “When I scored 63 against Boston, we lost. It sure feels a lot better.”

Only three players have scored more points than Jordan: Wilt Chamberlain, who did it six times (100, 78, 73, 73, 72, 70); David Thompson (73), and Elgin Baylor (71).

Jordan, who was averaging 33 points a game, scored 16 in the first quarter, 15 in the second, 20 in the third, 10 in the fourth and 8 in overtime.

“He’s one in a million, one in a billion,” said John Williams, a Cleveland forward.

Twenty-three foul shots. Eighteen rebounds. For a shooting guard.

The broadcast of this game was national, aired on TNT. The Bulls were creeping up 50 wins and the Cavaliers were floating around .500. An article was printed in the Cleveland paper that was titled “Mission Impossible: Ehlo to try and ground Air Jordan.” The entire piece was rooted in how good of a defender Ehlo was, and included a quote from No. 23 about the defensive prowess of the Cavs guard. Closer to game time, Doug Collins, who was on the TNT broadcast team, said that Cleveland’s best chance to win would be to keep the ball out of Jordan’s hands. Jordan would drop 16 points in the first quarter and finish the game with a 42.6 percent usage rate.

Price was playing a sensational game, scoring efficiently and playing solid defense on Paxson which led to some immense frustration. Conversely, Daugherty struggled in this contest, large in part to swarming defense from the Bulls front-court and Jordan helping on the weak side.

Perhaps the most amazing variable in this contest: Jordan did almost all of his damage while being double- and triple-teamed, and had just one dunk. Ehlo played defense for much of the contest, but the Lenny Wilkens-led Cavs also utilized Winston Bennett to help ease the burden. Turn-around jumpers, dribble drives—when he wasn’t scoring, he was being fouled and cashing in at the line. Sometimes, he was doing both, sinking ridiculous and-ones from the elbow and block. At halftime alone, Jordan hit 11-of-15 for 31 points, seven rebounds and three steals—a quality game for most superstars. Unfortunately for the Cavs, Jordan wasn’t like most superstars. The only reason the contest went into overtime was because Bulls coach Phil Jackson sat Jordan for a portion of the third quarter, allowing the Cavs to come back from a substantial deficit.

Jordan was the leading scorer in 1989-90, averaging 33.6 points per game, but averaged an insane 44.8 points per game against the Cavs that season. The 1990s version of the Cavaliers was one of the best in the history of the franchise. That they’re so well known for being on the receiving end of such rich Michael Jordan-based history is remarkable.

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The struggle to keep that edge: Cavs vs. Nets Behind the Box Score http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/the-struggle-to-keep-that-edge-cavs-vs-nets-behind-the-box-score/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/the-struggle-to-keep-that-edge-cavs-vs-nets-behind-the-box-score/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 04:32:45 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142640 The NBA regular season is 82 games long. It’s full of ebbs and flows, and even good teams drop games to bad teams. The Cavaliers have defeated the Nets three times this season (including two blowouts), but they were unable to complete the sweep as the Nets played like the team that desperately needed this

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The NBA regular season is 82 games long. It’s full of ebbs and flows, and even good teams drop games to bad teams. The Cavaliers have defeated the Nets three times this season (including two blowouts), but they were unable to complete the sweep as the Nets played like the team that desperately needed this one to keep their playoff chances alive. The Nets pulled away from the Cavaliers late and won 106-98 after a back and forth game where the Cavaliers refused to consistently defend or put their foot on the gas pedal offensively.

Cleveland Cavaliers 98
Brooklyn Nets 106
Box Score

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54-20 – The Brooklyn bench exploded in this contest, including contributions from two former Cavaliers. Jarrett Jack was 6-for-13 for his 15 points, adding five assists in 25 minutes. He also played down the stretch as Deron Williams sat on the bench. Jack got by Kyrie Irving more than he should have, and it threw off the balance of the defense as the Cavs over-helped on the dribble penetration, opening up easy buckets for the Nets. Earl Clark, signed Friday after being traded by one team and cut by three NBA teams in the last year or so, made three field goals for seven points during the second half. He also managed to stay in bounds when he caught the ball too. Shocking, I know. Bojan Bogdanovic managed 18 of his own, while Alan Anderson chipped in 13.

20 – The veteran leaders of this team, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, posted 20 point scoring efforts. Lopez missed two of the prior three Cleveland games this season, scoring 10 points with 8 rebounds in the other. Johnson struggled mightily (3-for-9, 6 points) in one blowout loss and did not play in the other. He had 26 points in the four-point loss. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Johnson, Lopez, Deron Williams, and Gerald Wallace were supposed to lead their own Boston-style rise to the top of the East with multiple All-Stars, does it?

10 – The fourth and fifth options in the starting five, J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov, weren’t heard from much on Friday night. The duo combined for just 10 points of 4-of-13 shooting. Mozgov played only 16 minutes, sitting the entirety of the fourth quarter yet again. He has now played in just five of the last 15 fourth quarters. The Cavaliers played small for a good portion of the second half as they tried to match the Nets, who had Joe Johnson playing some power forward. The scoring was basically limited to the three stars, who were the only three that reached double digits.

3 – In the past two games, No. 3 Kendrick Perkins has entered the game as the first big man off the bench rather than Tristan Thompson. In fact, Tristan has not seen the floor until the start of the second quarter in each of those games. Now, the opponents (Memphis and Brooklyn) were each starting two big post players in Zach Randolph/Marc Gasol and Mason Plumlee/Brook Lopez. And, Perkins has yet to get any consistent minutes, so this may just be a predetermined ploy to get him some minutes outside of garbage time. However, he is a train wreck on offense and a foul magnet on defense. I’m glad the Cavaliers acquired him as insurance for a playoff matchup against someone like Chicago, Memphis, or San Antonio that could test our frontcourt. Thompson posted eight points and nine rebounds in the game, while Perkins turned the ball over twice and committed one foul in his five minutes of floor time.

8-of-30 – Sometimes, they just don’t fall. The wine and gold only hit 8-of-30 three pointers, while the Nets outscored them from deep with a 9-for-23 clip. How many times have the Cavaliers been outscored at the three point line in the last 35 games (January 15th going forward)? Including this game, it is just the fifth time that has occurred (1/21 vs. Utah, 2/18 at Chicago, 2/26 vs. Golden State, 3/7 vs. Phoenix) during that timeframe. What has happened more often than that is the Cavaliers outscoring their opponent by 20, 30, even 45 points from behind the arc. On the season, the Cavaliers are making 9.9 threes per game (11.7 since 1/15, most in the league), and they’re allowing 7.6 makes from three (7.2 since 1/15). So, since their team reconstruction, they’re averaging a 13.5 point advantage from deep. Their backcourt was just 3-of-18 tonight (Irving, Smith, Delly, Shumpert). Love and James combined to make 4-of-9.

18 – I really liked Kevin Love’s offensive balance in the first three quarters. He posted 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting as he hit a couple threes but did most of his damage in the low post. The problem? He finished the game with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Love played five minutes in the final quarter (before committing five fouls in the fourth and fouling out) but did not even attempt a shot. Irving and James combined for 11 shots in the fourth with two each for Smith, Shumpert, and Thompson. That’s completely unacceptable to forget about your third best player in a game, especially when J.R., who sometimes masquerades as the third-best scorer on this team, is not hitting shots. The Cavaliers have gotten better in regard to getting Love the ball where he likes it in the low post, but it’s often early in the game and seldom in the fourth. In the fourth, Love is either sitting on the bench as Blatt plays Thompson and the Cavs go small or he’s spotting up in the corner. Of course, there’s value to Love in the corner, but relegating him to that and only that is a crime. I’ve seen more desire to get the ball in good scoring position from Love lately, and he seems to be less plagued by the back spasms. I’ve really liked some of the looks that Love has commanded in the paint in the last two games. Now, it needs to happen late in the game.

8 on 5 - The three referees kind of sucked in this one, but the defensive effort is the reason the Cavaliers lost this game. It was odd, however, to see the Cavaliers get called for five offensive fouls. It was enough that Coach David Blatt earned just his second technical foul of the season. LeBron’s box score line (24 points, five rebounds, nine assists, five steals, three turnovers) looks better than the game he actually played. He made several odd decisions in transition, including two offensive fouls, one missed finger-roll layup, and a miss-dribble that eventually turned into a Mozgov dunk since the center continued to run the floor.

2.5 – Just 2.5 games separate seventh and eleventh in the East. The Cavaliers have largely dominated the Nets this season, though they’ve seldom been at full strength in those games. Kyle did a great job covering these potential matchups earlier today, but I just want to say that I have no shame in wanting an easy first round matchup. Kyrie Love, and Tristan have never played in a postseason game. Injuries can happen. For confidence and injury reasons, I’m all for a sweep or a five game series in the first round rather than a back and forth six game series against Indiana or Miami that could rattle the Cavaliers or wear them out a bit. That second round matchup is looking like it could be the Chicago Bulls, who suddenly have Nikola Mirotic playing out of his mind. If Derrick Rose returns to form, that team is going to give the Cavaliers every sort of scare and could knock them off. I’d rather have a few days off entering that series.

3-6 – I’ve been getting the short straw between my BTBS colleagues Kyle, Will, and Andrew. Since January 15, the Cavaliers are 28-7, yet I’ve covered six of their seven losses! The only one I missed was the Houston game. On the season, the wine and gold are 7-10 with yours truly at the helm. Maybe I should let the newer guys take more games?

 

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Jimmy Haslam puts Knoxville home on the market http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cleveland-browns-owner-jimmy-haslam-home-on-the-market/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cleveland-browns-owner-jimmy-haslam-home-on-the-market/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:36:39 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142636 Maybe he’s serious about staying in Cleveland after all. Less than a week after rumors emerged that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam could conceivably swap the Browns for his home state Tennessee Titans, the Pilot Flying J truck stop magnate has put his Knoxville, Tennessee mansion up for sale, according to Realtor.com. Haslam reportedly purchased

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Maybe he’s serious about staying in Cleveland after all.

Less than a week after rumors emerged that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam could conceivably swap the Browns for his home state Tennessee Titans, the Pilot Flying J truck stop magnate has put his Knoxville, Tennessee mansion up for sale, according to Realtor.com.

Haslam reportedly purchased the home in 1996 for $1.4 million. His property seems to have weathered the economic crisis well enough, as it can be had for the low, low price of $4.9 million.

The nearly 10,000-square-foot Knox County home boasts five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, four more half baths, a swimming pool, and lake access, among other amenities.

Per Realtor.com, listing agent Karlyn Reedy did plenty of research before putting the home on the market:

Listing agent Karlyn Reedy of Saddlebrook Realty told us she spent a lot of time at the library researching the home’s history before putting it on the market. She related the story of how local architect Charles I. Barber designed a handful of beautiful homes along the Tennessee River in the 1920s, this home being the “favorite.”

Reedy said this 17-room home is prized for its elegance, views, and location right along the bend of the river in the “most prestigious area in Knoxville.” Homes that offer a view of the winding river command a premium, and in this home “every window has a view.”

Haslam refuted the rumors that he was interested in trading the Browns for the Titans, and putting his Tennessee home up for sale seems to jibe with that.

If you have the necessary scratch, here’s the listing. We’ll even waive the finder’s fee if you promise to invite us to a pool party.

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Cleveland Sports Championship Watch: March 27, 2015 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cleveland-sports-championship-watch-march-27-2015/ http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cleveland-sports-championship-watch-march-27-2015/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 20:30:06 +0000 http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=142605 Four weeks ago now, WFNY introduced the Cleveland Sports Championship Watch, a recurring post to update the Northeast Ohioan masses of when their long and agonizing wait for a title will come to an end. WFNY will track the Title Ticker throughout the year, gleaning every insight and nugget of valuable information that can be

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Four weeks ago now, WFNY introduced the Cleveland Sports Championship Watch, a recurring post to update the Northeast Ohioan masses of when their long and agonizing wait for a title will come to an end. WFNY will track the Title Ticker throughout the year, gleaning every insight and nugget of valuable information that can be gleaned from such patently unreliable information. The projections are based on the odds produced by Vegas and the betting public. It is an inexact science — but it is a science nonetheless. One less futile than economics at that. The last update was March 13, and, like flossing, two weeks seems like a reasonable break. Here’s your Cleveland Sports Championship Watch for March 27, 2015, starting with the Title Ticker.1

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 1.32.30 AMNothing drastic to report since the last report, but the market response (or lack thereof) to what WFNY has covered over the last two weeks is remarkable despite limited movement.

No news is good news for the Indians. There’s actually been plenty of news out of Goodyear, which WFNY is following closely, but none worth shifting the Indians’ title odds according to Vegas. Sports Illustrated would disagree, though.

The Browns saw their title odds decrease without even doing anything — inaction alone was all it took for Vegas to shift their odds from 75:1 to 100:1. That looks worse than it actually is, though they dipped from having just over a one percent to chance to having less than a one percent chance of winning the Super Bowl. To what to attribute this drop? Take your pick. It may have been the perception that the Browns squandered free agency (ESPN Insider Mike Sando gave their moves a “D” grade, the worst in the NFL), invaluable center Alex Mack’s “cautious” rehab plan, or the belief that karma won’t favor “rule breakers” facing “severe” penalties for untimely sexting, err, I mean texting during games. I guess the betting public isn’t a big fan of Dwayne Bowe.

It could be worse (though barely), as the Washington Redskins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Tennessee Titans all have a lower probability of winning the Super Bowl.2 The Browns are nearly three times as likely to win the Super Bowl as the Jaguars and Titans, and the Browns were only in unfounded rumors to be traded for one of those teams this week.

The character in the title scene most worth watching remains to be the Cavaliers. The Cavs saw a minor boost in title odds since we last checked in — and they had just survived a classic in San Antonio due to a legendary performance from one Mr. Irving. I expected a sizable jump after the Cavs dominated the second seed in the Western Conference on Wednesday night, maiming the Memphis Grizzlies 111-89. But the Cavs’ title probability didn’t budge after the victory.

The weekly variations may just be market noise at this point — what matters is that the Cavs remain clear favorites. The Golden State Warriors had their odds move from 4:1 to 3:1, a 4.5 percent improvement, but they still remain 8.5 percent less likely to win the Finals than the Cavs; even though they could win 69 games (which would be tied for the second most all time.3

On Thursday, I previewed the Cavaliers’ potential first round playoff foes. Though I didn’t consult the future odds, Vegas is mostly in agreement with my assessment. For odds to win the NBA Finals, the prospective opponents’ probabilities belong to, in descending order, the Miami Heat, the Indiana Pacers, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics, the Charlotte Hornets, and the Brooklyn Nets. The Heat have the best championship odds at an insanely low 150:1, while the Brooklyn Nets have an unfathomable 1000:1 chance to win the NBA title. To put that in perspective, the Browns have a better chance of winning a championship next season than the Miami Heat do this season.

The Eastern Conference odds remain shockingly skewed in favor of the Cavs. The market has the Cavs odds of winning the Eastern Conference at -200,4 which translates to about a 60 percent chance of winning the conference. That’s nearly THREE times more likely than the Atlanta Hawks’ 22.5 percent chance of winning the conference, and the Cavs are EIGHT games behind the Hawks for the top seed in the East. Chicago lags well behind Atlanta, but the prospect of a Cavs-Bulls series is scary to Cavs fans.

The most likely Finals matchup remains Cavs-Warriors, with a 20.8 probability of happening. That would be a dream matchup for Adam Silver, the NBA, and fans of good, star-studded basketball. All in all, there’s a 34.0 percent chance Clevelanders won’t be waiting for next year, and that’s better than bad.

  1. Odds provided courtesy of Sportsbook. Waiting for Next Year does not condone blah blah blah don’t gamble on sports, kids.
  2. The Oakland Raiders, like the Browns, have a 100:1 odds to win the Super Bowl.
  3. Again, all of these should be followed by the disclaimer “according to Vegas and the semi-legal betting public.”
  4. Meaning that a bettor would have to wager $200 to win $100, should their bet prove successful.

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