July 24, 2014

David Blatt on Anthony Bennett: ‘Last year is in the past’

anthony bennett summer leagueAnthony Bennett has been a little bit of a media darling at this year’s Las Vegas Summer League. After missing last year’s event following shoulder surgery, he’s had a hot start in the Cavs’ first two games this weekend.

During Friday’s 70-68 victory over Milwaukee, he had 15 points and eight rebounds, somewhat over-shadowing the hyped Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins showdown. His open-court dunk became a viral hit.

Today, he secured a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds in a 82-70 win over the San Antonio Spurs. He even had a nifty crossover that caught some attention on social media.

After the game, head coach David Blatt was asked several questions about Bennett’s performance. He even joked “What is this, the Anthony Bennett show?” You can view the entire video on Cavs.com. Below are the quotes about Bennett specifically.

“I didn’t think (Bennett) played badly (Friday). I just think today like the rest of the guys having played a game before and getting those jitters out of their system, and being a little bit more patient, and not over-doing things, they all looked better. AB has been good since day one, since I came. He’s really working hard to get himself in shape. He’s really, really trying to do a lot of different things on the court to help the team win and not being under pressure to do one thing, just to stay on the floor. It’s a work in progress, but he’s doing a great job and I hope he continues with the same passion.”

“Anthony has the ability to do a lot of things, he can play with his face to the basket, with his back to the basket. I think it’s very important that he feels comfortable and that he tries not to hurry. As long as he lets the game come to him, as long as he makes good decisions, he’s in a good place like he was today. And you know what, people? Everybody at the end of the game, they always look, ‘Well, how many did he score?’ Guy had 14 rebounds. You get 14 rebounds, you got a place to play.”

“I came in and Anthony also came in with a clean slate. Physically, as I said, he’s really worked hard and I think that’s the most important thing for him to get in shape to be the kind of player that he can be. Last year is in the past. We’re looking ahead and I really believe and hope that Anthony can be a big part of what’s ahead.”

“Anthony can shoot the three-point shot. I don’t think he needs to take eight a game, but when he’s got a good look and he’s in rhythm and he’s comfortable, it’s definitely a part of his game, yes.”

Let the Anthony Bennett hype train begin. Hardwood Paroxysm’s Scott Rafferty is one of the many to already write about Bennett’s early performance. It’s nearly impossible not to get even mildly excited about these two games and how Bennett might emerge into hopefully a rotation player.

Yes, it’s the Las Vegas Summer League, a circuit known for its open-court highlights and statistics that don’t translate too well to real NBA basketball. But Bennett was atrocious in 2013-14. He wouldn’t have been a rotation-caliber player for any NBA team. Progress is progress, however mild. Losing 25 pounds was exciting; seeing Bennett play like this and hearing Blatt talk about Bennett like this is really, really, really exciting.

Photo via Ben Golliver on Twitter

The Boots: Cavs defense, Dion Waiters and the depth chart

cavs defenseIn my usual half-rapid fire, half-prose form, I’m back with another edition of The Boots. For those unfamiliar with this feature, I assign loosely defined “Boot Up” or “Boot Down” votes to trending sports topics. With a disappointing Indians loss last night, let’s get excited about the Cavs.

Boot Down: The bad Cavs defense – Lest we forget, this is the biggest assumption facing the hope for a competitive Cleveland basketball team in 2013-14. Yes, the young players will need to continue to improve and the free agent acquisitions will hopefully make some impact.

But the Cavs defense under Byron Scott was simply atrocious. At times, it seemed that Scott had no set plans at all to counteract the other team. And the numbers show just how bad Cleveland was over the past three seasons. [Read more...]

NBA News: Carrick Felix signs four-year deal with Cleveland

Second round draft pick Carrick Felix and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to a four-year deal worth $3.3 million, with three guaranteed years, according to HoopsWorld (tweet). Second round selections do not have guaranteed deals, making the length of this agreement somewhat of a surprise.

Felix, who turns 23 in two weeks, was a shocking selection by the Cavs at No. 33 in June’s draft. A 6-foot-6 wing out of Arizona State, he’s a versatile and athletic defender who showcased his three-and-D abilities at the Las Vegas Summer League last month. The Cavs squad eventually fell in the tournament quarterfinals.

Last season for the Sun Devils, Felix had by far his most productive collegiate season. He averaged 14.6 points and 8.1 rebounds with a 56.9% efficiency field goal percentage in 35.3 minutes per game. The senior was named All-Pac 12 1st Team All-Conference and All-Defensive.

SB Nation’s James Herbert and Conrad Kazcamarek both have written lengthy features from Las Vegas about the master’s degree-holding rookie. In the articles, Felix discussed his love for skateboarding, his unique college recruiting process, his internship with Fox Sports, his ability to fit with Mike Brown’s defense and his NBA-worthy shooting range.

In the tight fight for minutes for the 2013-14 Cavaliers, Felix might actually have an opening to perhaps play 10-15 per night on the wing. The team retains starter Alonzo Gee, has a partial-guarantee deal with C.J. Miles and brought in Earl Clark, who’s expected to also play at small forward. Guard Dion Waiters will play exclusively at the 2, where he’ll likely share minutes with new addition Jarrett Jack.

The Cavaliers’ preseason schedule begins Oct. 8 at Quicken Loans Arena against Milwaukee. The 2013-14 NBA schedule is expected to be released on Tuesday.

[Related: The Diff: NBA conference imbalance and the East playoffs]

2013 NBA Draft – Kirk breaks down the candidates and potential trades – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-27

WFNY Podcast LogoKirk and I took the last opportunity before the draft to talk about all the possibilities. I also signed off by saying “Don’t drink too much” so there’s that.

  • The Kevin Love rumors and what that might have meant
  • Quantity vs. quality and Bill Simmons’ thoughts that four quarters don’t always equal a dollar
  • The trade rumors with the Pelicans and Greivis Vasquez
  • Do you think Chris Grant’s board is really so equal at the top or is it all smoke?
  • The Thomas Robinson trade rumor for the #19 pick
  • Houston trying to make a run for Dwight Howard
  • Thomas Robinson was supposed to be NBA ready
  • Nerlens Noel and the concerns about him
  • Noel might be an athlete and not a basketball player
  • Does Alex Len have the chance to be Hibbert?
  • Could Alex Len be Rick Smits?
  • Anthony Bennett and what he can be for the Cavs
  • Anthony Bennett’s dribbling ability and three point shooting ability
  • Victor Oladipo and his chances of being the number 1 pick
  • Victor Oladipo has the highest floor of any of the top six
  • Defense translates from college to the NBA
  • Ben McLemore and the Ray Allen comparison
  • Otto Porter from Georgetown
  • Otto Porter has the potential to be a complete basketball player
  • The Tayshaun Prince comparison
  • Sergey Karasev and the chances to have him with Dallas’ pick

[Read more...]

The Diff: 2013 NBA Mock Draft Database

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week’s article covered the makings of the 2014 Cleveland Indians rotation. This week, it’s back to the draft.

The Diff

This is not my first rodeo in talking about the 2013 NBA Draft class. For reference, you can look back at my WFNY articles in January, early March, late March, April and then mid-June. This has been an exhaustive process, but one that can always be handled with a few more stats. That’s the subject of today’s edition of The Diff: I’ve looked at 40 recent mock drafts from around the Internet and I’m here to share the results with what they mean for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ potential plans tomorrow. This activity will help to determine projected draft tiers and availability at different slots in the draft’s first round. [Read more...]

NBA Rumors: Timberwolves reject Cavs offer for Kevin Love

The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly turned down a loaded trade proposal from the Cleveland Cavaliers for All-Star big man Kevin Love.

According to ESPN’s Andy Katz, the trade offer was the following: forward Tristan Thompson, guard Dion Waiters and the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft. Per Katz, new Minnesota team president Flip Saunders won’t move Love and thus rejected the offer.

The trade rumor proposal was the headliner in Katz’s report late this afternoon on the Cavs continuing to shop the top pick in Thursday’s draft. Katz wrote that Cleveland is high on their two young players, but would love to nab a current All-Star to pair with Kyrie Irving (and not just in Pepsi Max commercials).

The rumored deal immediately became the talk of Twitter with some national writers saying that it makes sense for Minnesota to decline the offer. Certainly, the 24-year-old Love was one of the premier young stars in the league before battling injuries over the past year. He played just 18 games during the 2012-13 season. These writers shared how the Cavs’ offer was not of significant value or enough star power.

Love, the No. 5 pick in the 2008 draft, had a career-low 17.9 PER in his limited minutes this past year. He also posted career lows with 35.2% shooting along with 70.4% from the free-throw line. Over the previous two seasons, he averaged 22.7 and 14.4 per game with a 24.8 PER.

Thompson, 22, averaged 11.7 and 9.4 in playing all 82 games in his sophomore season. He was much improved down the stretch as the Cavs played without their best big man, Anderson Varejao. He developed an effective push shot and increased his True Shooting percentage to a respectable 51.6% from a disappointing 46.9% his first season.

Waiters, 21 and nine months younger than Thompson, averaged 14.7 and 3.0 in an up-and-down rookie season. He shot only 41.2% from the field, yet improved his shot selection and efficiency over the course of the year.

The Cavs’ No. 1 pick in the draft has been much criticized with no unanimous favorite among pundits. Previous rumors had the GM Chris Grant making a pitch to the Portland Trailblazers for LaMarcus Aldridge. Indications are that the team is over-valuing the pick, hence leading to varied trade rumors and speculations.

[Related: Are the Cavaliers on the verge of making a huge mistake?]

2013 NBA Draft – All you need to know about the Cavs from Joe Kotoch – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-25

WFNY Podcast LogoI was very happy to be able to get Joe Kotoch to join me a few days before the NBA draft. You should know Kotoch from his website ProBasketballDraft.com and also his work at SheridanHoops.com and his twitter account @probballdraft.

  • Joe Kotoch and where he came from
  • Sports law and agency work
  • ProBasketballDraft.com and their mission
  • NBA fans getting better at looking at the draft analytically instead of emotionally
  • Chris Grant and his ability to keep his secrets this year
  • Teams typically don’t play games with the first pick
  • The Cavaliers want to trade the pick, but they can’t get anyone to pay their price
  • Should the Cavaliers be keeping the price this high?
  • Can the Cavs get LaMarcus Aldridge?
  • Can the Cavs get Shawn Marion or Paul Pierce?
  • The CBA, salary cap and luxury tax
  • The Miami Heat and their incentive to trade Chris Bosh
  • Kevin Durant and the agency switch?
  • Jay-Z, Rich Paul and CAA
  • Does Kevin Durant’s place in OKC seem in doubt now?
  • What do rookies choose when they pick agents coming out of college?
  • What was behind all the negativity surrounding Nerlens Noel?
  • College players and their winking side deals
  • How scary is the representation to a guy like Chris Grant?
  • Do the Cavs think they should be further along in their own development?
  • The Cavaliers keeping Jamahl Mosely who developed Tristan Thompson
  • Can the Cavaliers count on Anderson Varejao?
  • Would anything in this draft shock you three years from now?
  • The Cavaliers and 2014 [Read more...]

2013 NBA Finals, 2013 NBA Draft, Heat, Spurs, Cavaliers thoughts with Brendan Bowers – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-20

WFNY Podcast LogoAmazingly enough I hadn’t caught up with Brendan Bowers on the podcast since I relaunched it. So, today I finally did. We talked about the game seven happening tonight in Miami. We talked about the draft and what the Cavaliers should really be focused on as they head into 2013/14.

  • The 2013 NBA finals and what the subtext is
  • The storylines in the game for Cleveland
  • Watching the two very best teams in the NBA right now
  • Could the NBA benefit from a shorter schedule?
  • Spreading the game out to 50 games
  • Does the game come down to the three point shot tonight?
  • Does it just come down to the supporting casts?
  • Manu Ginobili was awful in game six and great in game five
  • What do you think of the referee storyline with Joey Crawford
  • Should Joey Crawford have ever reffed game six?
  • LeBron James can set the tone at times without stuffing the stat sheet
  • 2013 NBA draft and what the Cavaliers should do
  • Bowers took Otto Porter
  • The healthy relationship that the Cavs fans and media have with the draft process now
  • The Cavs overvaluing the #1 pick in trade talks according to rumors
  • What are you looking for the Cavs to achieve should they trade the pick?
  • In his third year Kyrie Irving deserves a chance to make the playoffs
  • Are we looking at risking the maturity of the roster or are we risking Kyrie Irving leaving Cleveland?
  • The sense of urgency to the sense of patience [Read more...]

2013 NBA Draft: Nerlens Noel rumored to have “epic bad dudes” around him

There may be massive questions surrounding Nerlens Noel and the people with whom he’s associating with as the NBA draft draws near. In a podcast with Bill Simmons, Ryen Russillo wondered aloud who would end up writing the article on the topic, but it seems to me he just broke the news.

“I think the Noel thing is the most interesting,” Russillo said of the 2013 NBA draft. Russillo expounded “He has, by all reports if you start digging a bit deeper on this – and I don’t know who is going to end up writing this story – but he has some like epic bad dudes with him.”

The rest of the story is that he hasn’t signed with an agent, he’s been a serial appointment breaker with business people including multiple agents, Clevelander Rich Paul and the infamous World Wide Wes.

Combine that information and the well-known injury questions surrounding the young athlete, and it seems less surprising when there are rumors about Noel dropping down draft boards, including the one being operated by Chris Grant and the Cavaliers.

Of course, maybe there’s more to the story. Certainly a kid rebuffing agents and business managers in the NBA is going to draw attention and cause negative stories in the media. Who else is going to source more stories in the media other than the many managers and agents who pepper the landscape of the NBA? But maybe there’s a real cause for concern too.

You can bet all this and more is factoring into the Cavaliers decision-making process for this year’s draft. We’ll just have to wait, see and judge all this on the back end unless someone really figures it out through an exhaustive reporting process into Nerlens Noel’s “handlers” whomever they might be.

I recommend the entire podcast to Cavs fans, by the way. There were some juicy trade scenarios as Simmons and company like to play with.

[Related: Scott Raab part 2 on 2013 NBA Draft, Michael Irvin, Joe Thomas, Mike Polk, Danny Green – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-17]

The Diff: Cleveland futility, NBA Draft and Indians streak

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, The Diff provided an update on the various top Cleveland Indians prospects. This week, I’m covering three varying Cleveland sports topics.

The Diff

WFNY Mentality

Back in September, I wrote a lengthy article about the worst three-season stretches in Cleveland sports history. The formula was simple: I looked at the longest continuous stretches of last-place finishes for the Cavaliers, Indians and Browns, when all three were active. Barely, by just 2 games over Minnesota, the 2012 Indians stopped a city-record three consecutive last-place streak from occurring. But how do things stack up in using a different approach to Cleveland sports futility? [Read more...]

2013 NBA Draft, LeBron James, Trent Richardson, Asdrubal Cabrera and more with Dennis Manoloff – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-04

WFNY Podcast LogoI tracked down Dennis Manoloff to talk about some injuries. That was Asdrubal Cabrera, Trent Richardson and the 2013 NBA draft. That morphed into a conversation at the end about LeBron James, of course.

  • Asdrubal Cabrera’s injury and just how bad it is

  • Cabrera’s toughness and wanting to power through the injury

  • Is the sense of panic lessened by Terry Francona?

  • Inconsistent offense, a scuffling bullpen and a rotation without an ace

  • This is a different club than the ones of the last two years

  • Can the Tribe hang with the Tigers for the whole season?

  • Baseball isn’t a plug and play statistics league

  • The rainout and whether or not everyone handled it well

  • The philosophy of MLB to want to play games at that hour of the morning

  • Trent Richardson and how much of a concern it is

  • Richardson has never been healthy as a Cleveland Browns player

  • Will Norv Turner mitigate the risks of Trent Richardson with utilization of other backs?

  • Should the Cavs trade the pick or which players are exciting out there?

  • Ben McLemore and how exciting he is to watch

  • Being attractive to LeBron James

  • Setting yourself up with cap space to be a player in 2014 regardless

  • LeBron needs to win three rings to set up Cavs return [Read more...]

The Diff: The stats behind drafting Nerlens Noel at No. 1

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, The Diff covered the historical finishes for MLB teams that started 26-18. This week, it’s NBA Draft talk time.

The Diff

Since the Cavaliers won the lottery last week, Cleveland sports fans have been enamored by the idea of Nerlens Noel. Whether you love him or hate him, the 19-year-old University of Kentucky center already has been the subject of dozens of Cleveland-based analyses and reports. Is he the best prospect in this draft? Will he fit in the NBA? Will he actually make an impact in 2012-13? How good can he be? After perusing through the usual and not-so-usual stats, I’m here today to give you the statistical know-how about why Noel should be the Cavs’ no-doubt pick at No. 1.

 

[Read more...]

2013 NBA Draft, 2013 NBA trade scenarios and more with Kirk – WFNY Podcast – 2013-05-29

WFNY Podcast LogoKirk wrote a fantastic article exploring the trade market available to the Cavs and I wanted to go over it and push him further on it since it has been out there a few days. Of course we also talked about some other stuff like Dwight Howard.

  • Kirk’s NBA Draft Rumors article
  • Being an eighth seed and the pains of it
  • The finishing of one three year plan and starting another to compete for a title
  • Oklahoma City trading Harden one season too early to Houston
  • Should OKC have played one more year and taken a CLE deal?
  • Did people expect Harden to be as good as he’s been this season in Houston?
  • Demarcus Cousins and how scared we all are of him
  • Luol Deng and why he might or might not work
  • Joe Johnson contract hell
  • Deron Williams and the Brooklyn cap space situation
  • Dwight Howard and whether or not you can gamble with him
  • Would you take a chance on Dwight Howard with the Cavs? (hypothetically)
  • The Dream scenario and how Kevin Love is not a possibility
  • What if the Cavs do nothing?
  • How coachable are the Cavs’ young guys like Kyrie Irving, Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson?
  • Missing Delonte West and loving his game
  • Ben McLemore and Nerlens Noel and who they can become [Read more...]

2013 NBA Draft Lottery – Cavs win! Nerlens Noel, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh? – WFNY Podcast – 2013-05-22

WFNY Podcast LogoScott joined me for about 20 minutes to discuss the Cavaliers goings on since winning the NBA draft lottery last night. Here’s what we talked about more specifically.

  • The turmoil of having the first overall pick in the draft

  • What do you think about the trade down cuteness?

  • Due diligence and just how little fans and media can do

  • Nerlens Noel and how good he needs to be in order for Grant to justify taking him

  • Do you trust Chris Grant to avoid the tendency to chase height and need?

  • Kevin Love and how unavailable he really is

  • James Harden wasn’t available until he was either

  • Lamarcus Aldridge and his availability

  • Marc Gasol and his ability to be moved

  • Chris Bosh’s name and how nobody has talked about it yet

  • Free agency pool and who you would look at in free agency

  • Zach Lowe’s critique of the NBA lottery event and the Cavs

  • Players and how goofy they look on the dais [Read more...]

The Boots: NBA Draft lottery, Byron Scott’s tenure, playoffs

nerlens noelIn my usual half-rapid fire, half-prose form, I’m here today with another edition of The Boots. Again, for those unfamiliar with this feature, I assign loosely defined “Boot Up” or “Boot Down” votes to trending topics in the sports world. Let’s talk basketball again today.

Boot Up: Slotting in at No. 3 – That’s not necessarily what Cavs fans were hoping from the 2012-13 season. Kirk, Scott and Andrew all have written way more eloquently than I possibly could about the franchise’s current situation post-Byron Scott. But for now, I’d like to focus on what it means for the draft. Obviously, slotting in at No. 3 lines up the stars for a possible better pick than later in the lottery, as fans hoped before the year and maybe even as late as the end of February. [Read more...]

2013 NBA Draft: Lakers receive 19th pick; will go to Cavs

While the Cleveland Cavaliers received initial good news with the Los Angeles Lakers officially making the playoffs Wednesday night (thus earning the right to swap with Miami’s No. 30 first-round pick), it was previously undetermined what pick that might be in the first round.

Per the NBA draft rules, playoff teams are sorted by regular season record alone. The Lakers, Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls were all tied at 45-37 at the end of the season, thus tying for the 18-20 picks in the first.

Finally then, the NBA hosted a tiebreaking coin flip today. Per the Cavs’ Fred McLeod on Twitter:

Overall, the Houston Rockets were awarded pick No. 18 and the Bulls will receive No. 20.

Thus, along with the Lakers’ No. 19 pick, the Cavaliers also are in formal possession of the No. 3 lottery slot1 and two other second-round picks: No. 31 (via Orlando) and No. 33 (CLE’s).

It’s potentially expected that the team might look into packaging multiple picks to move up in the draft, as they did in 2012. In order to acquire the rights to Tyler Zeller (No. 17 pick) from the Dallas Mavericks, the Cavaliers traded away picks No. 24 (Jared Cunningham), No. 33 (Bernard James) and No. 34 (Jae Crowder).

For folks with long enough memories as well, they might also remember that Cleveland was on the winning side of a couple other coin-flip tiebreakers in the 2012 draft as well. “What’s not to like,” eh?

[Related: Fair or not, it was time for the Cavaliers to move on]

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Footnotes:

  1. Here are the exact lottery odds for that slot: 15.6% of No. 1; 15.7% of No. 2; 15.6% of No. 3; 22.6% of No. 4; 26.5% of No. 5; 4.0% of No. 6. []

WFNY Stats & Info: Mavericks closing in on Lakers in West

The NBA regular season concludes in just 20 days on Wednesday, April 17. Between now and then, boy, there’s going to be a whole lot of exciting back-and-forth action.

Most notably as it relates to the Cavs besides their own draft position, fans should be paying attention to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference playoff race. Back on March 8, I shared an update about how the Lakers were closing in on Utah. But now, there’s a new competitor: Dallas.

Fitted with some gnarly motivational playoff beards, the Mavericks are on a 10-4 tear in March while the rest of the hopeful playoff teams continue their relatively mediocre play.

After a busy Wednesday night in the Association, here’s the most recent look at how the bottom of the West playoff standings play out right now:

Rk Team W L Pct GB Left SRS JH Rt JH Rk JH Odds
6 GSW 41 32 0.562 +3.5 9 0.75 100.8 12 98.8%
7 HOU 39 32 0.549 +2.5 11 3.90 104.1 7 98.4%
8 LAL 37 35 0.514 10 1.14 100.8 13 54.5%
9 UTA 36 36 0.500 -1.0 10 -0.17 99.8 18 26.1%
10 DAL 35 36 0.493 -1.5 11 -0.09 100.5 15 19.2%
11 POR 33 38 0.465 -3.5 11 -1.36 100.1 16 3.0%

 

Now, with data through Tuesday’s games, here is a look at these teams’ remaining schedules:

Rk Team Left P/L H/R P: H/R L: H/R W Pct JH Avg SRS Avg
6 GSW 9 3/6 6/3 2/1 4/2 0.497 100.4 0.5
7 HOU 11 5/6 5/6 2/3 3/3 0.480 99.2 -0.8
8 LAL 10 6/4 6/4 4/2 2/2 0.539 101.4 1.3
9 UTA 10 5/5 6/4 3/2 3/2 0.527 101.4 1.1
10 DAL 11 6/5 6/5 4/2 2/3 0.506 100.2 0.2
11 POR 11 8/3 7/4 5/3 2/1 0.586 103.0 2.8

 

Key: JH stands for John Hollinger’s ratings, rankings and playoff odds at ESPN. SRS is a standardized ranking system built around an average of 0.0. P/L is playoffs and lottery teams, while H/R is home and road games.

Both Golden State and Houston appear to be playoff locks with only a few weeks left. Thus, after all the positioning thus far, it appears these next four teams are battling only for the No. 8 spot.

With Wednesday’s win, the Lakers actually jumped from about 42% playoff odds to over 54%. That’s also because every other team besides Utah (win) and Dallas (didn’t play) lost last night. But it shows how the Lakers’ progress had been stagnant over the last few weeks.

In terms of remaining schedules, Dallas and Utah are both at a slight advantage over the Lakers. The Jazz play the fewest remaining playoff teams (5), while the Mavericks have the easiest opponent winning percentage, Hollinger rating and SRS rating by a slight margin.

Portland’s blowout loss Wednesday against Brooklyn (they trailed 46-17 just 14 minutes into the game) probably ended its playoff hopes. The Trail Blazers also have a brutal schedule left — facing eight playoff teams in their 11 remaining games.

[Related: The Boots: NBA Draft Lottery, John Wall and winning streaks]

The Boots: NBA Draft Lottery, John Wall and winning streaks

byron scott disappointmentIn my usual half-rapid fire, half-prose form, I’m here today with another edition of The Boots. Again, for those unfamiliar with this feature, I assign loosely defined “Boot Up” or “Boot Down” votes to trending topics in the sports world. I’m feeling some Tuesday basketball talk today.

Boot Up: #TankStrong — Stop me if you’ve heard this in the past few weeks: There’s an incredible logjam in the No. 3-11 spots in the NBA Draft Lottery positioning right now. With the abysmal Charlotte Bobcats and Orlando Magic clearly landing the No. 1 and No. 2 best odds, in some order, the bulk of the rest of the lottery is still very much up in the air with three weeks to go.

In an effort to break down the end-of-season standings that will determine the probabilistic odds related to the NBA Draft Lottery, here’s a quick-ish look at these intriguing nine teams: [Read more...]

2013 NBA Draft: Second tier fits for the Cavaliers

victor oladipoThe Cavaliers have been a much improved team over the past two months. And while that’s fantastic news and great for the long-term development of this franchise, it presents an intriguing new scenario for 2013 NBA Draft analysis.

With the team’s current 15-16 run since Dec. 22, Cleveland now sits at No. 5 in the NBA Draft order (up from No. 7 on Wednesday night). That’s inching closer to what many fans expected in the offseason, but not necessarily what they thought just two months ago.

Last time I looked at the draft class on Jan. 6, I featured the top five guys contending for the top spot. There has been plenty of shake-ups since that point. But ultimately, with the Cavs trending toward the middle of the lottery, I thought it would be most helpful to now feature a group of “second tier” players. [Read more...]

Silver lining on the Varejao injury, the rebuild moves forward

Anderson VarejaoIt’s hard not to feel some pain for Anderson Varejao after hearing the news that his knee contusion was in fact a torn muscle in his leg. Memories of Andy winning the game with a buzzer beating 3-pointer against Atlanta, and giving Ray Allen the business during a national televised game against the Celtics are two of my favorite moments I’ve enjoyed at the Q. I’ve really never enjoyed watching basketball more than watching Andy and LeBron fly around the court together.

That being said, Andy’s injury increases the Cavs’ chances of completing a successful rebuild.

The longer Andy is off the court, the worse this team is.

The worse this team is, the more ping pong balls they have in the lottery.1

The more ping pong balls in the lottery, the better chance of landing a superstar.

[Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. The lottery is won with a winning four ball combination. For simplicity’s sake let’s use ping pong balls as the example instead of how many four ball combinations a team has. []