August 15, 2014

According to AP report, the Cavaliers have traded Alonzo Gee

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On Thursday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided not to draft Joel Embiid, the center prospect with the fractured foot. However, that doesn’t mean the Cavaliers weren’t still in the market for acquiring other centers with fractured feet.

According to the AP, the Cavaliers traded much maligned Alonzo Gee to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Dwight Powell (who was taken with the 45th pick in Thursday night’s draft) and center Brendan Haywood. Powell was a first-team All-Pac 12 power forward for Stanford last season who possessed excellent athleticism and will try to bring a face up game to the Cavaliers. Haywood missed all of last season with a stress fracture in his foot.

As for Alonzo Gee, this ends his roller coaster time with the Cavaliers. Initially brought on as an undrafted free agent in 2010, Gee won over the team and many fans with his hustle, effort, and defensive ability. Gee carved out a role for himself on the team, playing 24 minutes per game his first season with the Cavs. But as expectations for Gee grew in Cleveland, his performance began to decline into a bit of an inconsistent period of frustration. After averaging over 30 minutes a night the previous season, Gee saw his minutes dwindle to around 15 per game under Mike Brown this past season.

Gee finishes his 4-year period in Cleveland averaging 8.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game.

[Related: Cavs draft sharp-shooting Joe Harris with No. 33 pick]

Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY

Your Post-Trade Deadline Cleveland Cavaliers Viewing Guide

Wut

Because masochism isn’t for everyone

I hate winter.

Seriously.

I woke up today at 7:00 a.m., barely able to breath for the fifth straight day. I spent the next two minutes trying to vacate my nasal cavity of what I suspect was approximately a fetrick muckton of the crustiest boogers known to man. I then turned towards the window directly adjacent to my bathroom sink and peeped through the closed blinds to see that once again it had snowed overnight.

[Insert barely coherent mumbled obscenities here]

[Read more...]

Alonzo Gee to see a boost in playing time

DSC_0566With Dion Waiters (knee) and CJ Miles (ankle) both nursing lower-leg injuries, once-forgotten small forward Alonzo Gee is expected to see a considerable boost in playing time, with Cavs head coach Mike Brown stating that Gee will get the bulk of the minutes usually eaten up by Waiters.

Gee will see plenty of burn off the bench likely playing alongside Jarrett Jack and Matthew Dellavedova. When Gee was playing 31.0 minutes per game last season, starting in all 82, he averaged 10.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists. He provides limited upside on the offensive end, but is largely considered to be one of the better defenders on the roster and if anyone is going to throw down a highlight reel dunk in Dion’s absence, it’s Alonzo Gee.

Waiters was injured in the second quarter of Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia when he landed awkwardly after a dunk. General manager David Griffin stated that the team received the “best possible” news regarding Waiters and a subsequent MRI. Previously playing 24.4 minutes per game in February, and surviving the recently passed trade deadline, Waiters has been listed as day-to-day.

(Image via Scott Sargent/WFNY)

Dan Gilbert needs to abandon playoff goals for this season

Cavs Sign Scott

(Editor’s note: This was written prior to the Cavaliers firing of Chris Grant.)

I’m convinced that a major part of the reason that the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing the way they are is because they’ve been tanking for so long. Only Alonzo Gee and Anderson Varejao are left from the first awful season post-LeBron, but that ethic is alive and well. The Cavaliers have won 19, 21, and 24 games in the past three seasons. They are on target to win 26 or 27 this season based on their 0.327 win rate right now. (Progress!) Despite Dan Gilbert’s desire to “flip the switch” after this year’s draft lottery, his top-down message didn’t arrive in the locker room as the Cavaliers continue to embarrass themselves and their fans. I never thought I’d say it this season, but it’s time to stop pretending this team is worthy of betting on. I hope Dan Gilbert makes that painful choice soon.

Even scarier than Dan Gilbert’s message potentially being lost on its way to the roster, maybe it did get there, but this is just the level of team that Chris Grant has built. [Read more...]

WFNY Stats & Info: Assessing Luol Deng’s value in Cleveland

deng bulls2Luol Deng, 28 years old, represents a tremendous upgrade at small forward for the 11-23 Cavs. He’s a back-to-back All-Star scoring the most points in his career this season. He’ll take away minutes from Alonzo Gee et al in the team’s rotation. While the future ramifications of this move are up in the air, here are my four favorite statistic-based notes when it comes to showing Deng’s worth and his value with this team.

1. Cavs SFs have a 9.2 PER this season. Yes, that’s astoundingly correct, per the mathematical minds at 82Games.com. As you may recall, PER is normalized to be an average of 15.0 for all NBA players, not position-adjusted. On the season, Alonzo Gee has a 6.3 mark in 564 minutes and Earl Clark is at 9.7 in 551 minutes. I’m not a huge fan of PER, but at the extremes, I think it tells a pretty decent story: Gee is a near-replacement level player and Clark is a below average starter. Luol Deng has a 15.9 career PER and is at 17.4 this year; more than Gee and Clark combined and clearly a valuable starter in the NBA. He has a far higher usage than either Gee or Clark, inflating his numbers, but is undoubtedly a far better all-around player. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Top Buckeye moments of 2013, drinking your favorite Cavaliers, and ranking the NFL head coaching vacancies

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Leading off 2014, let’s take a look back at the best the Buckeyes had to offer in 2013 with help from Jason Priestas and the guys at Eleven Warriors, including their top moment, “Ohio State is one of the top-five winningest programs in the history of college football – a veritable blue blood program if there ever was one – and this man matches into town and shatters a 44-year-old record like it was no big deal. The game that secured the mark, Urban’s 23rd win in a row, came against Indiana, in a 42-14 romp on Ohio State’s senior day. He would, of course, add a little room between the new mark and the old mark, by securing No. 24 in dramatic fashion in Ann Arbor when Tyvis Powell intercepted a Devin Gardner pass on a final, desperate two-point conversion from the Wolverines. Sadly, the streak would die against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game the following week, but it was a hell of a ride, every step of the way. Stop for a second to appreciate it. If you think you’ll see another streak like this one, you’re likely wrong (we’d love to be wrong).” [Eleven Warriors]

The Cavaliers’ heart-breaking losses in the past week have probably driven some people to the bottle a little more than usual. Over at Cavs: The Blog, they pair each player up with a beer or two that resemble their qualities, including Alonzo Gee, “You’re a “hard nosed defender” (ha) with a half-decent three pointer.  But it’s time to up your defense game so I can remove those quotes.  Chances are this is the best Alonzo will ever be, but it couldn’t hurt for Alonzo to down a few barley wines – big, strong beers that typically have some dark fruit, licorice, and booze notes.  Great fits would be Anchor’s Old Foghorn and Old Ruffian from Colorado’s Great Divide.  Whatever the choice, the bigger and stronger the better.” [Cavs: The Blog] [Read more...]

So, about that whole “Anthony Bennett is a power forward” thing…

Anthony Bennett Box Out

While introducing his shiny, new first-overall draft selection in UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant was adamant that the bruising and barrel-chested big man would be a power forward, a position known more for playing in the post than along the perimeter. Though the team had a glaring hole at the small forward spot, as they have had since 2010 when then two-time MVP LeBron James left via free agency, the 6-foot-8-inch, 260-pound Bennett was going to provide a compliment to fellow Brampton, Ontario native Tristan Thompson. “You put him in a pick-and-roll with Dion [Waiters] or Kyrie [Irving], he’s going to be pretty difficult to guard because he can shoot the ball and is athletic and can handle the ball and get to the rim,” said Grant. Sugar plums danced as the highlight reel of Bennett running the floor and throwing down massive dunks rolled next to the stage. 

The plan was to bring Bennett along slowly, to let him fit into a role and grow as a basketball player. Exactly five months later, still not having much in the way of a small forward with which to work on nightly basis, Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown is calling an audible on his general manager’s initial play-calling. [Read more...]

Can the Cavs erase all the doubt and fear?

Dan Gilbert, Mike Brown, Chris GrantI’m really concerned about the Cleveland Cavaliers. This isn’t a reaction to the loss against the Bulls or any other singular game for that matter. My problem right now is that I just don’t see it, and I think at this point in their franchise rebuild I’m supposed to be able to without this much trouble. Even squinting as hard as I can at the roster and how many of the pieces fit prototypical roles with some of their height and weight measurables, I can’t squint hard enough to see a team with playoff-level ability. When I see this team play actual games it’s even more difficult.

This isn’t pointed at Mike Brown. He’s only been here a minute and he’s one of the most qualified head coaches in the entire NBA. We all know he has his limitations, but the way this Cavs team is playing couldn’t have much to do with his coaching, and that’s why I’m so scared. I’m afraid this team simply doesn’t have the level of talent and ability required to compete at a high level in the NBA. My fears are that it’s not the result of lackluster coaching or a team that just needs time. My fear is that this rebuild has failed. [Read more...]

Five Cavaliers’ storylines worth monitoring this season

tristan dunk

The Cavaliers tip on Wednesday night in the Q. It’s finally here, and after the season ended last season, I couldn’t wait for this one to begin. After all, we killed the #TankStrong initiative when the Cavaliers walked off the floor in Charlotte on April 17th. Three big free agent signings and two first round draft picks later, and the Cavaliers are suddenly deep, still young, and remain flexible toward the future. Playoffs aren’t a pipe dream, and they should be a reachable and realistic goal this year. With that in mind, here’s five story-lines that I think are instrumental in determining whether the Cavs get there or not.

Who wins the battle for small forward minutes? [Read more...]

Earl Clark still learning in his new role as Cavs’ small forward

131015-vCHA-3If Earl Clark and Alonzo Gee could morph into one athletic Frankenstein of a small forward, what would his name be? Earlonzo Geek? Alonearl Clee? Even if we add in CJ Miles’ name for extra, um, parts, it doesn’t offer much more in terms of options. What if we just use Calvin?

As much of a mess that word jumble proves to be, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown may find himself in an even bigger bind when it comes to production, both desired and actual, from the wing spot in his new five-man lineup. It is no secret that the small forward spot continues to be the weakest link of the Wine and Gold’s chain. Not only has it proven to be tough to replace a three-time MVP1, the team has swung and missed on multiple occasions, attempting to derive something—anything—out of players like Omri Casspi, Christian Eyenga and Joey Graham.

This season, Brown has a familiar face in a lengthy a defensive-minded Earl Clark joining the more trigger-happy Gee and Miles. The rub: The 6-foot-10-inch Clark has never played small forward before coming over to Cleveland, where he will be asked to shore up the defensive side with his immense wingspan while hitting open shots when provided the opportunity. With Gee and Miles battling nagging injuries and slow starts to the preseason, it has been Clark who—despite his own issues from the floor—received nearly 28 minutes of playing time from the small forward spot in Thursday’s preseason finale, a 105-92 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.

[Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Duh. []

NBA News: Waiters out with sore hip

The Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Detroit Pistons in their third preseason game, but will do so without shooting guard Dion Waiters.

Waiters was ruled out of tonight’s contest with a right hip contusion (bruise). Rookie Sergey Karasev will start at shooting guard in his place as coach Mike Brown wants to get looks at different combinations of players. Karasev has 10 points and five assists in two preseason games.

Small forward Alonzo Gee will play despite being slowed by a hamstring issue. He and Earl Clark continue to battle for the starting small forward spot. Neither player has stood out in coach Brown’s eyes.

[Related: Cavaliers backcourt takes a hit from the injury bug]

The Diff: Estimating NBA ShotScores through shooting zones

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I wrote about three intriguing stat-lines to watch for the 2013-14 Cavaliers. This week, I’m getting into NBA shooting charts.

The Diff

One of my favorite sportswriters is Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry. Like many of my favorites, he’s a non-traditional writer. A geography professor at Michigan State, he emerged onto the NBA scene via the 2012 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. His project, titled CourtVision, applied his signature specialty of spatial analysis to the game of basketball. It went viral – or at least basketball Twitter viral. Since then, Goldsberry has taken off, and the visiting scholar at Harvard also contributes regularly to Grantland and ESPN properties. His latest column from last week, about a new statistic called ShotScore, is what I’ll be writing about today. [Read more...]

The Diff: Three intriguing stat-lines to watch for the Cavaliers

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I answered some WFNY playoff questions for the Cleveland Indians. This week, it’s preseason basketball talk about the Cavaliers.

The Diff

Last night was the return of basketball to the Quicken Loans Arena. It was a fun atmosphere; albeit one prefaced with the damnation of “preseason.” Mike Brown’s defensive style was certainly in showcase, one first half defensive miscue-forced timeout at a time. With the regular season now just three weeks away, previews ablazing, today’s the perfect day to look at three underrated stat-lines to watch with regards to the hard-to-predict 2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers. [Read more...]

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...]

The Boots: Talkin’ Cavs long-term upside and the 2014 East Playoffs

tristan dunkIn 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 Up: Tristan Thompson’s potential – The NBA Summer League appears to be a dream work spot for a NBA writer. It’s not really free time or a true vacation of any kind since there are players everywhere, games all day everyday and boatloads of storylines for a writer to address. Oh, and it’s Las Vegas too, so that’s fun.

Throughout the Cavs’ Summer League jaunt into the quarterfinals, we’ve gotten lots of cool nuggets of information from the Cleveland writers out in Vegas with the team. My favorite of the bunch? It might just be what the Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd shared from Mike Brown in two tweets last night. [Read more...]

The Cleveland Cavaliers should plan well for 2014 but not just for LeBron James

Dan Gilbert, Mike Brown, Chris GrantThe Cavaliers’ owner and son made a vow that the team didn’t want to be in the lottery again this upcoming off-season. With Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson entering their third seasons and with Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller entering their second seasons, it’s time to see what this car can do on the freeway. The growing pains aren’t necessarily over, but the lows need to stop being so low and the highs need to get a little bit higher. Obviously the Cavaliers can’t just plan on systematic organic growth of this roster. In order to do that, the Cavs will have to also make a jump on their roster this season by adding a real player or two.  Whether that’s via free agency or trade is anyone’s guess, but they will need to add someone of significance that isn’t a rookie in order to ensure they’re not lottery bound again. They also need to retain flexibility for 2014 and beyond, but not merely because LeBron James might opt out of his contract in Miami.

Let’s get this out there right now. Any team that is even remotely capable of having the financial flexibility to entertain LeBron James on their roster in 2014 should do everything they can do to make it possible. Even with it being one of the largest pills for some Cavs fans to swallow, at the end of the day, you just can’t stare down the greatest player in the league – maybe of this generation – and decide not to have him on your favorite basketball team. It is the absolute definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face. [Read more...]

Cavalier Film Room: Team Defense Fueling An Improbable Win

WFNY Cavaliers Film RoomWhen we last were together in the film room, we took a closer look at Kyrie Irving dotting I’s with the help of Double T. It’s been a while and there’s been plenty to talk about during this recent strong play from the Cavaliers. I’m going to keep it current this week, however, and break down some moments from the Cavs’ improbable comeback against the Jazz on Wednesday night. I could go into C.J. Miles’s 12-point fourth, Kyrie Irving’s late offensive surge, or Wayne Ellington’s strong performance. Instead, I’m going to credit the Cavaliers’ defense for getting the key stops and forcing some turnovers to give themselves a shot at the W. Without these critical stops, the offensive surge is just a comeback effort that would’ve come up short. Surprisingly enough too, Kyrie Irving played a starring role in the defensive lockdown. Let’s go to the film. [Read more...]

Video: Cavs’ Alonzo Gee’s put-back dunk against the Lakers

If you did not stay up to see the Cavaliers take on the Los Angeles Lakers, we have you covered with the lone highlight. Cleveland Cavaliers high-flying forward Alonzo Gee provided Staples Center fans a put-back dunk against the hometown Lakers.  Gee finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and three steals, but the Cavaliers would fall to the Lakers by 20 points, 113-93, snapping Los Angeles’ six-game losing streak.

Kudos to the Lakers’ broadcast team for claiming that the dunk occurred because Gee was being guarded by cement-shoed point guard Steve Nash.

On the season, Gee has started all 39 games for the Cavaliers and has averaged 11.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals. Gee had a bit of a cult following last season around the time that the Slam Dunk Contest rolled around, but failed to get any recognition for his above-the-rim antics.

[Related: Cavaliers Film Room: The Recipe For Success]

Box Score: Timberwolves 91 Cavs 73

The Cavs fell behind on a Kevin Love jump hook in the first minute and never could quite catch up to the Timberwolves on Friday night. Scoring continues to be the Cavaliers’ glaring weekness, which is the worst weakness to have in a game where you try to outscore your opponent. The Wine and Gold shot just 34.5% from the field and scored a season low 73 points.
 
Alonzo Gee led the Cavaliers with 20 points. CJ Miles and Donald Sloan were the only other Cavalier scorers in double figures with 13 and 10 respectively. Anderson Varejao saw his streak of 10 straight games with 15 rebounds come to an end, pulling down only 14.
 
For the Timberwolves, Kevin Love was his usually monster self, scoring 36 points to go with his 13 rebounds. Rookie standout, Alexey Shved, had one of his worst games of his young career, and was a non factor all night.
 
The Cavaliers are back at home Saturday against Detroit. Detroit has lost two in a row since beating Cleveland on Monday.
 
Cleveland
Team Statistics: Starters for Cleveland Cavaliers
Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
D. Gibson G 27:20 2-7 1-4 0-0 -16 0 0 4 2 4 0 0 2 5
J. Pargo G 16:52 2-9 0-2 1-2 -15 0 2 2 2 1 0 2 2 5
A. Varejao C 33:37 2-10 0-0 0-0 -20 4 14 2 2 0 1 1 5 4
A. Gee F 30:55 7-12 2-6 0-0 -14 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 16
T. Thompson F 24:48 3-7 0-0 0-0 -13 0 3 0 2 2 0 1 5 6
Team Statistics: Bench for Cleveland Cavaliers
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 30-87 7-24 6-9   11 41 15 18 15 2 8 24 73
Percentages .345 .292 .667    
D. Sloan 31:08 4-11 1-2 1-2 -3 0 5 1 3 1 0 3 0 10
C.J. Miles 23:12 5-12 2-5 1-2 -3 0 1 0 5 1 0 0 1 13
T. Zeller 15:23 2-6 0-0 1-1 0 4 7 2 0 1 0 0 5 5
O. Casspi 14:33 2-6 1-3 0-0 -3 1 4 1 1 2 0 0 0 5
K. Jones 8:33 1-3 0-0 0-0 +3 2 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 2
L. Walton 6:50 0-2 0-2 0-0 -5 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 2 0
S. Samuels 6:49 0-2 0-0 2-2 -1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2

Minnesota

Team Statistics: Starters for Minnesota Timberwolves
Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
L. Ridnour G 30:33 6-12 0-1 0-0 +15 1 5 7 1 1 0 0 3 12
M. Lee G 20:19 1-5 0-3 4-6 +5 0 8 0 2 1 1 0 2 6
N. Pekovic C 24:30 0-3 0-0 4-4 +15 1 1 1 2 0 1 0 4 4
K. Love F 35:11 10-19 2-5 14-18 +18 6 13 0 3 1 1 1 0 36
A. Kirilenko F 30:50 4-5 0-1 0-0 +23 3 7 6 3 4 3 0 1 8
Team Statistics: Bench for Minnesota Timberwolves
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 30-70 4-19 27-35   13 53 18 21 13 8 2 17 91
Percentages .429 .211 .771    
A. Shved 23:31 3-8 0-4 1-3 +4 0 4 2 5 1 1 0 3 7
D. Cunningham 22:47 2-6 0-0 2-2 +9 2 6 0 1 3 0 1 2 6
J.J. Barea 19:41 3-5 2-3 2-2 +9 0 3 2 2 1 0 0 1 10
J. Howard 19:06 1-4 0-2 0-0 -2 0 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 2
G. Stiemsma 13:32 0-3 0-0 0-0 -6 0 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
L. Amundson DNP – Coach’s Decision
D. Williams DNP – Coach’s Decision

 

Black Friday Fun With Numbers

For your Black Friday enjoyment, I bring to you a special edition of Rick’s usual numbers post. Some of these might be scarier than normal, so hopefully this is not read with a heaping pile of leftover turkey in your mouth.

Cleveland Browns

12.7-24.6 – Average score of the 27 Steelers-Browns games since the 1999 season. Cleveland is just 4-23 in those games, after starting 2-2 in their first two years back.

20-63 (.241) – Overall record by the Browns in all division games, including playoffs, since returning in 1999. The team is 50-85 (.370) in all other games.

25.61 and 0.504– The Browns rank 30th in the NFL with just 25.61 yards per drive and 31st with 0.504 punts per drive this season. The league averages, respectively, are about 31 yards and 0.4 punts per drive, according to Football Outsiders. [Read more...]