August 19, 2014

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski writes about how the Cavs lost their way

Chris Grant Cavaliers RookiesLiterally minutes after the Cavaliers sealed a rare three-game winning streak on Tuesday night, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski decided to rain on Cleveland’s parade and release an article about what he’d dug on a seemingly dysfunctional Chris Grant regime.

Wojnarowski is the most well connected NBA writer out there and he tends to be the one to break most of the major news that hits The Association. It’s not often though that he decides to expound further on NBA events beyond dropping #WojBombs on Twitter. So when such a well informed writer decides to go more in-depth about your favorite franchise, it’s hard not to pay close attention.

Some of the most interesting claims he makes in the article are:

  • Despite the league-wide acclaim for interim GM David Griffin, owner Dan Gilbert is going to search far and wide for a replacement this summer. That doesn’t mean Griffin is out of the running though.
  • There was belief among the Cavs organization that Grant had not scouted Jonas Valancinunas well enough before the 2011 draft. Though most of the Cavs personnel department wanted Valanciunas, Grant used the fact that the player’s agent, Leon Rose, would not negotiate a buyout agreement with his European club before they knew where he would be drafted. Thus, that was his justification to select the player he wanted in Tristan Thompson.
  • Grant passed on Andre Drummond in the 2012 draft over concerns that a Tristan Thompson-Andre Drummond frontcourt would not be offensively compatible.
  • Kyrie Irving pushed hard to have his “close friend” Harrison Barnes drafted by the Cavs in 2012.
  • Grant had been attempting to trade Dion Waiters before he was fired.
  • Klay Thompson was discussed for the No. 4 pick in the 2011 draft by the Cavs, but Grant believed he could move back into the lottery and snag him later.
  • The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft was between Ben McLemore and Anthony Bennett.
  • If Bennett had not been selected by the Cavs, then he would have fallen somewhere around the No. 10 spot in the lottery.
  • Bennett loved making late-night pizza runs at UNLV which was a contributing factor to his weight problem.

I take qualms with some of the opinions expressed in the article such as Victor Oladipo being the “perfect two-way player to complement Kyrie” and that Anthony Bennett is a “colossal failure” considering no one in this draft class has colored themselves in glory. Plus, Bennett hasn’t been given a ton of opportunities. Nonetheless, the sourced information is fascinating and a must-read for any Cavs fan.

[Related: David Griffin: Next Man Up]

Photo: Joshua Gunter, The Plain Dealer

Cavaliers win, Varejao looks old, player’s only meeting, questioning Chris Grant – WFNY Podcast – 2013-11-16

WFNY Podcast LogoAndrew was fired up after the Cavs won. I can only imagine what this podcast would have been like if they lost.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving
Player’s only meetings and what’s going on with that
Dion Waiters and maybe not taking a leap as quickly
Anderson Varejao and his age
Can Varejao be traded?
What is this thing that Chris Grant built?
Anthony Bennett and how brutal it is that this is the #1 draft pick
The game doesn’t look natural to Anthony Bennett
Andrew wanted Oladipo. Craig Wanted Ben McLemore

Check out this episode

NBA Rumors: Cavs final draft board consisted of Bennett, Len, McLemore

Reports on draft day  indicated that the Cavaliers were down to deciding between taking Alex Len and Nerlens Noel with the first pick, but now that the smoke has cleared it appears the Cavs’ choice was in fact between Len, Ben McLemore, and Anthony Bennett.

According to Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer, Noel was not one of  the final players Chirs Grant and his staff came close to taking with the first overall selection of last Thursday’s draft.

“I’ve heard the Cavs’ final three choices at No. 1 were Ben McLemore, Len and Bennett.” said Pluto in his Friday column.

Chris Grant had been notorious in the previous years for keeping his hand close to the vest leading up the draft, selecting Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters much to the surprise of everyone in the media, and this year proved no different with the selection of Bennett.

All the reports that the Cavs were desperate for a center in the draft have gone by the wayside as the team came away from Thursday still with Tyler Zeller and Andy Varejao as the only options on the roster at the position.

With the Cavs choosing between McLemore, Len, and Bennett it’s apparent the team was looking to draft the best player available as opposed to drafting based off of need.

[Related: Saturday Six Pack: Reasons to love Anthony Bennett]


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...]

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...]

NBA Draft: On Dion Waiters, Ben McLemore and starting

saccle-130102-07Disrespectful. A late-May, one-word re-tweet from the account of Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters was all it would take for fans of the Wine and Gold to give pause when considering the upcoming NBA Draft, set to kick off one week from Thursday.

Waiters’ response was in regard to a local media member insinuating that he should be the Cavaliers’ sixth man in the coming seasons. The thinking is that Waiters played the sixth man role well during his time at Syracuse and other NBA teams have thrived with a sixth man who would be good enough to start, but provide balance with their respective squad’s reserve unit. With the poster boy of this role being James Harden during his days in Oklahoma City, we discussed this very idea during the onset of Waiters’ rookie year. During his limited time as a reserve for Byron Scott, Waiters saw improvement in his shooting percentage—both from the floor and the line, shot selection, and, thus, points per game. In his first game off of the bench, Waiters provided 20 points in 29 minutes; two weeks later, he dropped 33. The Cavaliers’ efforts, however, was not yielding wins, so the fourth-overall pick was inserted back into the starting lineup.

The record still didn’t reflect changes made as the Cavaliers struggled mightily. In his post-season interview, Waiters discussed growth and maturity, experience and education. Since then, the offensively focused off-guard has done everything in his power to remind fans and media alike that he longs to be a starter within the NBA.

[Read more...]

NBA Draft: Cavs to host McLemore, Porter, Oladipo and Franklin

The Cleveland Cavaliers will reportedly play host to a slew of wing players on Wednesday. Andy Katz of ESPN reports that Chris Grant will hold a workout for Kansas’ Ben McLemore, Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr., Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin.

The four players will provide one of several workouts that the Cavaliers are reportedly holding as the team hosted injured UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett earlier this week, and will host both Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Maryland’s Alex Len on Thursday and Friday, respectively. While individual visits have lost their luster over the years as agents have held players from participating, it was at this type of visit where current Cavaliers power forward reportedly Tristan Thompson impressed the front office so much that they used the fourth-overall selection on him in 2011.

The Cavaliers currently hold the first, nineteenth, thirty-first and thirty-third picks in the upcoming draft. They are widely considered to be selecting one of the centers first overall, but recent reports say that no decision has been made by the Cavs’ front office at this point. The draft is set for June 27.

[Related: Top Pick Debate: No Clear Answer, But Several Theories To Rule Out]

Top Pick Debate: No Clear Answer, But Several Theories To Rule Out

porterOver the last couple weeks, I’ve been camped out in the Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room. I’ve covered Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Alex Len, and Victor Oladipo Friday. Anthony Bennett is still to come later this week. Over that time, we’ve had a lot of good discussion here at the site about who your favorite to grab with the top pick is and why. It’s not so much the “who” that interests me today as much as the “why”. The reasons for taking a guy at the top spot run the gamut from fit to potential to floors to ceilings to immediate impact and so on and so forth. Let’s examine some of the more common thoughts processes going around the web right now.

First, there’s the notion that you rule a player out because he can’t help you the most this season. I think most people can understand that this one is pretty absurd as a standalone argument. Dan and Nick Gilbert may have made a proclamation about not being back at the draft lottery next season, but I don’t think that will force them to take the wrong guy simply for short term gratification.  However, I DO think that with Mike Brown back to put the emphasis on defending along with the continued improvement from the young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson coupled with the return of Anderson Varejao and the likely addition of some veteran bench pieces via free agency, that the team SHOULD expect to make the playoffs this season. I don’t think many have any surreal visions of being in the conference finals next year, but should they be able to win 38 or 40 games to sneak in as the eight seed next year? Why not? This team, when it was going good last season, was 15-15 over a thirty game stretch. The notion that such a “plan” rules out Nerlens Noel as the top selection is ludicrous. Noel may not be at the top of my board, but him not being available until Christmas has nothing to do with that. [Read more...]

Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Ben McLemore

mclemoredraftAs we continue to look through the Cleveland Cavaliers’ options with the #1 selection in the NBA Draft later this month, it’s time to look at Kansas guard Ben McLemore.

McLemore’s flying under the radar a bit right now with all the talk focusing primarily on Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, or a trade for the Cavaliers at No. 1. However, there is certainly a case to be made for McLemore going No. 1. He’s a phenomenal shooter and scorer, but his position (shooting guard) and his poor scoring performances in four out of his last five games have cooled some of the hype around the redshirt freshman.

Let’s take a look at what those around the league are saying.
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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.


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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...]

While We’re Waiting… Disappointing Indians weekend

“While We’re Waiting” serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

WFNYBanner www

“Look guys, I got nothing. I’m as upset as you all are at what transpired this weekend. After winning the first game, dropping the last three, especially the last two, and even more especially on Sunday, times a thousand multiplied by infinity, I’m disappointed. Times a thousand multiplied by infinity and all I can say is I’m disappointed? Yeah I guess so. I’ve had time to cool off and I also realize that it’s just two games of the 162.” [Nino Colla/The Tribe Daily] [Read more...]

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...]

2013 NBA Draft: Five players emerging at the top

It’s become an annual tradition in Cleveland to begin talking quite early in all sports about the upcoming draft.

For the Browns in the NFL, I did my first 2013 NFL Draft outlook post back in mid-November, when the Browns were 2-7. They finished at 5-11 and will have the No. 6 pick in April’s draft.

For the Cavaliers in the NBA, who selected No. 1 and No. 4 in 2011, then No. 4 and No. 17 in 2012, they again should be in the top-end of the Lottery this coming June. After an offseason of hype and intrigue that many fans thought could lead to the team potentially competing for the final playoff spot, the Cavs got off to a very slow start.

After Saturday night’s loss to Houston, Cleveland has the second-worst record in the NBA at 8-27. That’s eerily similar to their 35-game starts in each of the past two seasons: 8-27 in 2010-11 and 13-22 in 2011-12. So even if the team finishes strong (as opposed to #tankstrong), it’s likely they’ll finish somewhere in the top 8. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Francona brings swagger to Cleveland

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

“There is a new feeling around the Cleveland Indians. It isn’t a feeling of cockiness, but confidence. It’s a feeling of pride in what has been accomplished since the end of a 94-loss season in 2012, and also a focus on the work that is left to be done. It’s a feeling of comfort and trust, while starting so many things different and new. However you try to describe the feeling, it is one created by new Manager Terry Francona.” [Mike Brandyberry/Did The Tribe Win Last Night?] [Read more...]