August 26, 2014

The Diff: Making sense of Dion Waiters’ present and future

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 shared some stats after the Browns’ depressing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. This week, I’m talking at length about Dion Waiters.

The Diff

Dion Waiters is the most polarizing player on the Cleveland Cavaliers. He supersedes the tweener rookie with a 2.3 PER, the former All-Star coping with his battered present state, the current All-Star perhaps struggling to lead the charge and all the other enigmatic players on this disappointing 4-10 squad. In just 17 short months since the 2012 draft, the soon-to-be 22-year-old Waiters continues to be a target of negative commentary. David Thorpe of ESPN and Scouts Inc. is the latest to do so. [Read more...]

Cavs Friday Five: Would you rather? Cavs and Wizards edition

Kyrie John WallIt’s tough to be a Cavalier fan these days. Real tough. They could very well be the worst team in all of the Association. Sure, their 4-8 record puts them only a half game behind Detroit for the 8 seed, but as I sat in The Q and looked up to see The Diff read -26 against a 3-7 Wizards team coming off a back to back while the Cavs had just enjoyed three days off I found it hard to imagine things could get much worse. Honestly they really can’t. Either the team gets better and creeps back in the playoff race or they tank and earn themselves a shot at landing a franchise changing lottery pick. [Read more...]

NBA Rookie Rankings: Final Season Rankings

Lillard

With the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great nicknames, beards, and great celebrations may also play a large factor. [Read more...]

NBA Rookie Rankings: Davis’ game winner, Beal and Waiters injured

Anthony DavisWith the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great nicknames, beards, and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

1. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 1)

Lillard’s game has been seesawing a bit over the last five games. In three of his last five Lillard has scored 24 plus points converting on over half of his field goals, along with an average of 8 assists. In the other two games Lillard struggled, shooting 22% from the field and turning the ball over 8 times.

The best of those last five for the Rookie of the Year frontrunner came in a loss to Philadelphia on Monday. In the loss, Lillard stuffed the stat sheet with 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, but it was his trip to Chicago that that garnered national attention. Because Lillard is a dynamite, athletic, rookie point guard it’s natural to put his name in the same sentences as former Rookie of the Year and MVP Derek Rose.

Chicago coach, Tom Thibodeau sounded off the Blazers’ guard, “He’s come in mature beyond his years. [He] plays the game with a lot of poise. I think the combination of his shooting along with his ability to break you down off the dribble [and] pick-and-roll offense. I’ve been very, very, impressed with him.”

Lillard’s 24 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds helped pace Portland passed the Bulls on Thursday night.

2. Anthony Davis (Last Week: 2)

Davis is settling in nicely in New Orleans and now can be counted on for somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 and 8 each night. In his last four games Davis has in fact has been just under 15 points and 8 rebounds. After a 5 block game over a week ago against Brooklyn, Davis’ gumby-like wingspan has managed to average just one block over his last four games.

The Hornets have had a lousy season so far, but Davis gave the future Pelicans something to smile about with his game winning tip in against Boston on Wednesday. Down just a point in the final seconds, the Hornets’ Eric Godron attacked the paint, threw up a runner that corralled off the rim, for Davis and those aforementioned gumby-like arms to sky over Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green and tip in the game winner.

The loss means little in the scheme of the playoff picture for either conference, but could do a lot for the confidence of Davis and the Hornets. When a rookie lifts his squad in memorable fashion to a win over a marquis team (Irving over the Celtics and Thunder) it gets the locker room, the fans, and the city a buzz. Davis only had nine points in the win, but his athleticism and wing span were enough to get the two that mattered.

3. Maurice Harkless (Last Week: NR)

Harkless has been in double figures for Orlando in each of their last five games including a career night in a loss to Milwaukee on Saint Patrick’s Day.

The rookie swingman from St. John’s, scored 23 and grabbed 9 rebounds in 43 minutes against the Bucks, all career highs.

After starting the season slowly and tentatively, Harkless is becoming one of the steals of last June’s draft, and the most important piece in August’s Andrew Bynum trade that brought Harkless from Philly down to the land of Disney. He scored in double figures just once in his first 37 games, but has hit that mark 17 times in his last 25 games, including 15 of his last 17.

Harkless missed all of training camp and the entire preseason with Orlando due to a sports hernia. As the season progessed and the Magic traded JJ Reddick, playing time and shots started to come Harkless’s way. Now that he has his feet wet, and is back to full health, he looks to be the top small forward from last year’s draft class.

4. Dion Waiters (Last Week: 3)
5. Bradley Beal (Last Week: 5)

Waiters and Beal are destined to be grouped together. They are the same age, play the same position, were drafted back to back, and have both emerged as good NBA players with high upside. Unfortunately, we can now add injured to the list of similarities between the two.

Waiters left Monday’s beat down at the hands of Indiana with soreness in his knee. He is expected to be out at least a weak and could end up needing surgery. Regardless this is the last thing Cavs’ fans want to hear.

Although it appears to be nothing too serious, with the continuous injuries to Kyrie Irving, Cavs fans have to be pulling their hair out watching their two young stars fall victim to injuries…or they may be thinking this is perfect timing for tanking in these meaningless end of year games.

Like the Cavs, the Wizards also know what it’s like to watch their former number one pick point guard be bitten by the injury bug. John Wall’s knee has been a major concern for folks in Washington, but Wall has come back from injury in the second half of this year to provide a nice 1-2 combo with Bradley Beal.

With Beal and Wall together, the Wizards are a fun watch on NBA league pass, but against Phoenix the fun came to a stop as Beal once again landed awkwardly on his bad ankle.

Beal was forced to sit on the sidelines as Wall and the rest of the Wizards finished off the Suns and reports are that Beal was visibly frustrated in the locker room following the win. Beal previously missed six games with the same ankle and is sure to miss several more.

Follow Ryan Jones on Twitter @Czarjonesey7

NBA Rookie Rankings: Anthony Davis starting to live up to the hype

Anthony Davis runningWith the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great nicknames, beards, and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

1. Damian Lillard (Previously: 1)

If I were Damian Lillard, I’d be sending text after text to that evil elf, David Stern, asking where my trophy is? The ROY race is locked up, it’s over. After capturing the Rookie of the Month award for the 4th time this February, DL has hit March, full steam ahead. Game after game, the Blazers guard continues to put up 20 plus points, including a monster 35 point, 9 assist effort as the Blazers embarassed Western Conference leaders San Antonio last weekend. Lillard led the Blazers to a whopping 79 points in the second half, including 46 in the 4th, to slam the door shut on the Spurs and hand them their worst loss of the Timmy Duncan era. [Read more...]

Cavs’ Dion Waiters named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month

News broke during tonight’s Cavs-Clippers game that Cleveland rookie Dion Waiters was awarded the February nod for the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month. Here is the official release from the team:

“CLEVELAND – Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters was named today as the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in the month of February.

Waiters played in 12 games during February and averaged 15.8 points on .514 shooting, 2.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 28.2 minutes per game. During the month, he ranked first in scoring and assists, second in steals and field goal percentage and third in minutes among Eastern Conference rookies (minimum 10 games played). Waiters scored 20 or more points in four of 12 games (tied for the most 20-point games by an East rookie in the month) and shot at least .500 from the field seven times in games played in February, including six games with at least .600 shooting from the field.

Waiters helped lead the Cavs to a 7-5 record in February. He finished the month strong, scoring over 20 points in each of his last three games as the Cavs went 4-1 to end February.

His highest scoring performance in February came on Feb. 24 at Miami when he tallied a team-best 26 points on 11-17 (.647) shooting and three assists in 31 minutes of work. In a 101-98 victory at Chicago Feb. 26, Waiters scored 25 points on 10-16 (.625) shooting from the field in 36 minutes, becoming the only rookie this season to score 25 or more points in consecutive games. He had 23 points, six assists, one steal and one block in 35 minutes of work in the Cavs’ most recent win on Feb. 27 versus Toronto.

Other nominees for Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month were Washington’s Bradley Beal and Orlando’s Maurice Harkless.”

 

Waiters’ improvement has been one of the keys for the suddenly streaking Cavaliers, who entered Friday night’s game with a 15-15 record since Dec. 22. Previous winners of the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month are: November — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte; December — Bradley Beal, Washington; January — Bradley Beal, Washington.

[Related: NBA Rookie Rankings: Waiters and Beal move up, Davis finally slides]

NBA Rookie Rankings: Waiters and Beal move up, Davis finally slides

dion waiters

With the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great nicknames, beards, and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

[Read more...]

NBA Rookie Rankings: Anthony Davis not an alpha dog, Beal heating up

NBA: Preseason-Washington Wizards at San Antonio Spurs

With the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great nicknames, beards, and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

[Read more...]

NBA Rookie Rankings: Waiters and Zeller impress against Spurs

Zeller and WaitersWith the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great nicknames, beards, and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

1. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 1)

Lillard had an up and down last seven days that started with a horrid shooting night (1-16) last Sunday vs. Orlando. Lillard’s shot wasn’t falling, so he turned to creating, dishing out a career high 12 assists.

When they play 82 games a season, even the best players are going to have poor shooting nights,that’s a given. What isn’t a given is how the player responds to his bad shooting night. When Lillard was struggling shooting the ball, he was still able to hand out easy buckets to teammates and not become a black hole. It’s important for a player to have awareness, to know his limits, and do what’s necessary to help his team win.

After a rough night like Lillard had against Orlando, players can either:

A) Fall deeper into a slump
B) Play tentatively, deferring to other teammates or…
C) Come out the next night and kick ass like you have Kanye’s “Power” pumping into your eardrums.

Two nights later against Miami, Lillard opted for choice C. While his performance against the world champions may not have been set to Kanye’s beats, it was to the tune of 33 points on 55 percent shooting. The Blazers’ guard could get anywhere he wanted on the floor, earning 11 trips to the line, converting on 10.

However, it wasn’t all roses for Lillard in Miami, he got served a nice slice of humble pie on this block from the King. Welcome to the league rookie.

The next night against New Orleans, DL struggled once again in a classic “mail it in before the all-star break” loss to the Hornets. While we’ll have to wait until after the weekend to see how Lillard responds in a real game, we’ll get a look at Shaq’s number one pick Friday night in the Rising Stars challenge. The Rising Stars challenge will be Lillard’s only action over the weekend — which as pointed out by some of our commenters could be one reason why Shaq chose Lillard first over Irving, who will be featured in the Rising Stars Challenge, 3-point shootout, and the actual All-Star game itself. While Irving’s minutes may be limited in the Rising Stars Challenge, Lillard should be locked, loaded, and gunning for MVP honors.

2. Anthony Davis (Last Week: 2)

Those who watched the Hornets/Blazers game on Wednesday may have thought nothing has changed since last June’s NBA draft. Back then, Anthony Davis was a phenom from a team featuring six players drafted and Damian Lillard was an afterthought from a school best known for not being known. We all know now that Davis isn’t quite the phenom he was billed as and Lillard has gone from afterthought to ROY lock, but if you watched Hornets/Blazers the other night it was as if the last 8 months never happened. Lillard had an off night, following his stellar showing in Miami the day before, while Davis looked every bit of the player chosen first overall.

The Brow had his highest scoring game since December 28 (21 points), highest rebounding total since January 19 (11), and added two blocks and a steal to complete the night. Davis, like Lillard, was able to bounce back and have a career high game following a career low scoring night.

In the Hornets’ previous game against Detroit, Davis struggled on the offensive end, failing to make a single shot from the floor (0-7). Davis, once again like Lillard, turned to other areas of his game to help his team when the scoring wasn’t happening. The number one pick, added 8 rebounds, 4 huge blocks, and a steal to help the Hornets thrash the Pistons.

The good thing about Davis is when his offense fails, his defense and rebounding are there to pick up the slack. The bad thing about Davis, his offense is failing far too often.

3. Dion Waiters (Last Week: 5) Waiters has been a sparkplug and a dividing point for Cavs fans and NBA fans alike. Whether you’re a Waiters hater or supporter, the numbers don’t lie, Dion is improving. Against the league’s best team on Wednesday night, with Kyrie Irving struggling (2-15), it was Dion’s show. And as a spectator at the show, it was one hell of an entertaining performance.

Late in the second quarter, with the shot clock winding down and the offense stalled, Waiters was stuck with the ball his hands. Kyrie tried to bark orders Dion’s way to which the Syracuse product shrugged off, and instead pulled up to bury a deep j.

You could tell Dion had it going on this night. A few moments later Dion leaked out for a breakaway dunk in which he hung on the ring an extra second, landed, and kept his arms in the air a la the Shaq “I didn’t do anything” celebration. Brilliance.

Dion wasn’t done, the next time down the floor, another broken play. This time instead of pulling up, Dion attacked to score the bucket and earn a trip to the line for the and-1.

He kept it going throughout the third, drawing another and-1 and prompting the lady making my wings to exclaim “Don’t get mad, get even!” This was the Dion Waiters show.

But Dion saved his best act for last. With the game tied, and under a minute to play, Waiters came up with a timely steal, setting the stage for the biggest shot of his young career. Once again with the offense stalled, and the ball in his hands, Dion was required to make yet another play. Waiters pulled up for a long jumper like we’ve seen so many times before, but this time it was different. This time, the shot was pure, the shot was nothing but net.

Of course Kawhai Leonard had to ruin Dion’s fairy tale ending by icing a game winning three a few seconds later, but this was the kind of performance Cavs fans want and expect out of their number 4 pick.

4. Bradley Beal (Last Week: NR) Beal returned from a wrist injury to come off the bench in an uninspiring performance against Brooklyn. Although it appears Beal just needed time to get his feet wet again, as his next outing was a special one. Beal has been far from consistent, as most rookies are, but his collection of sharp shooting games continues to grow.

He poured in 28 on nearly 60% shooting, nailing all four of his attempts from 3-point range to lead the Wizards to their 4th straight win Monday in Milwaukee. Despite his career high scoring outburst against Milwaukee, Wizards’ coach, Randy Wittman continued to bring Beal off the bench in a disappointing loss to Detroit.

The Wizards have outscored their opponents by 54 points when Beal and John Wall are on the court together. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Beal return to the starting lineup following the all-star break.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Beal hit 10 plus 3′s in the Rising Stars game. The up and down pace, and lack of defense has been a 3-point shooter’s paradise these last few years.

5. Andrew Nichoslon (Last Week: NR) First Andrew Nicholson gets added to the rising stars challenge, then he cracks the top 5 of WFNY’s Rookie Rankings. This may be the best week for a Saint Bonaventure athletics since the school’s inception.

Unless you’re from Orlando, or you snuck down to the hotel bar for a sanity break from screaming kids at the Magic Kingdom, you probably haven’t seen Andrew Nicholson play. At St. Bonaventure, Nicholson dominated the A-10 with his variety of post moves, and his shot blocking ability with his 7-4 wingspan which are both translating well to the NBA game. Nicholson has had his bright moments so far this season, but has yet to put together a stretch like his last week of action. Over the last seven days, the Magic rookie is averaging 15 points and 6 rebounds. In an otherwise very forgettable season for Magic fans, Nicholson has been a pleasant surprise.

Honorable Mention: Tyler Zeller Zeller may have had the best game of his career Wednesday against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Big Teezy looked very comfortable with the ball in his hands in the loss to San Antonio. Put back jump hooks, isolations as the shot clock winded down, and pick and pops all were going Zeller’s way. He is clearly a skilled player, and as he adds more and more confidence, he’s beginning to look a lot like last year’s ACC Player of the Year that Carolina fans loved.

Follow Ryan Jones on Twitter @CzarJonesey7

NBA Rookie Rankings: Lillard vs. Kidd and Payton, Waiters can’t finish

dion waitersWith the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great beards and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

1. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 1)

The mid season rookie of the year had another strong week, averaging just over 21 points and 7 assists in 3 games, including a win against Indiana that snapped the Blazers’ 6 game losing streak. Lillard has received praise from the media, coaches, and even LeBron, but now we can add future hall of famer, Gary Payton to that list.

In an interview with Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk, Payton gave his endorsement of Lillard for Rookie of the Year. “I like Damian Lillard because he’s from Oakland, California, and he’s a phenomenal basketball player,” Payton said. “He should be the rookie of the year, he’s playing very well right now for Portland and I love his game.” [Read more...]

NBA Rookie Rankings: Career nights for rookie swingmen

With the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great beards and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

Bradley Beal1. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 1)

In my eyes the Rookie of the Year race is all but over. Unless Anthony Davis steals Damian Lillard’s basketball abilities Monstars’ style, the trophy will undoubtedly go to Lillard.

Lillard scored a career high 37 points last weekend against the Warriors and in doing so made it very clear that if you go under a ball screen, he will launch and drain a 3. Few tools of a guard’s game are more useful than the ability to shoot the 3 off of a high ball screen. It’s the ability to penetrate, but also the ability to make you pay from behind the arc that makes the likes of Steve Nash, James Harden, and Steph Curry so dangerous in pick and roll situations.

[Read more...]

NBA Rookie Rankings: Jedi Drummond, Bradley Beal heating up

Drummond light saberWith the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great beards and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

1. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 1)

It’s been another good week for Damian, collecting December’s Rookie of the Month honor and getting the approval of the King. The Blazers have won four straight and 12 of 15, including wins against LeBron and the Heat, and against fellow rookie Alexey Shved and the Timberwolves. Against Minnesota, Lillard hit step back jumper after step back jumper, leaving the defender no chance to stop him. As the ‘Wolves sagged off, Lillard rose up and buried shots from deep. But the highlight that sticks with me most is his attack off a high ball screen and finish through the contact from mountain man, Nikola Pekovic. With just two explosive dribbles from the top of the key, he manages to get all the way into the lane, onto Pekovic’s body,1 get the ball up on the glass, and in to the hoop.

The Blazers and Lillard are both much farther along than anyone expected them to be. Lillard is the clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year honors, while Portland has cemented themselves in the middle of the murky Western Conference playoff picture. Not a bad time to be a Blazers’ fan. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Being on Nikola Pekovic’s body, every lady’s fantasy []

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...]

NBA Rookie Rankings: The Brow Returns, Beal Enters the top 5

With the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great beards and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

After missing 13 of the Hornets first 19 games, Anthony Davis finally made his return to the court this week in games against Washington and Oklahoma City. Davis was solid, and steady in his extended minutes off the bench in his two games since returning from injury, but it’s another rookie who stole the show this week. Wizards’ guard, Bradley Beal makes his first appearance in the rankings this week thanks to several strong all-around showings, and Waiters being on the shelf.  Lillard holds strong at the top, and looks like he’s going to make someone come take his top spot on the rookie ladder, he won’t be giving it away any time soon.

Let’s jam. [Read more...]

Cleveland Cavaliers Welcome Old Friends Washington Wizards For Season Opener

I love opening day of any sport.

I’ve discussed this point ad nauseam, but there’s nothing like that feeling of the unknown. Staring at a blank canvas, and yeah, you’re limited to the colors in your palette, but the possibilities are endless. The season could be anything.

Basketball, of course, is a bit of a different animal though. In baseball, you have a 162 game marathon of a season where injuries, bullpen strength, lucky hitting, etc. are all varying factors that essentially mean anything can happen. In football, you see it happen every year. Some team that is “playoff lock” falters and some team makes a rise from last to first. We just pray that it can be our year1. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. of course, in Cleveland it never is []

2012 NBA Draft: Cavs Make Official Offer for No. 2 Pick

Though the last few weeks have been littered with preliminary discussions, multiple reports now indicate that the Cleveland Cavaliers have made an offer to the Charlotte Bobcats to acquire the second-overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

The Cavaliers, who reportedly covet Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal, have offered the Nos. 4, 24 and 33 picks for the Nos. 2 and 31 selections. If the deal is agreed to, Charlotte would subsequently take Beal at No. 2 for Cleveland and Cleveland would take Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson at No. 4 for Charlotte.

The Bobcats have long been rumored to demand that forward Tyrus Thomas be included in any deal for the second-overall pick, but have apparently loosened these restrictions. Thomas is due roughly $26 million over the next three seasons.

Beal is widely considered to be the second-best prospect in the 2012 class, possessing an offensive skill set that has been compared to long-time shooting guard Ray Allen.The 6-foot-5-inch Beal averaged 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Gators in 2011-12.

The Cavs have also expressed interest in acquiring either the seventh- (Golden State) or twelfth-overall (Houston) selection by dealing center Anderson Varejao.

[Related: WFNY’s 2012 NBA Draft Roundtable]

WFNY’s 2012 NBA Draft Roundtable

NBA Draft day is here! In the Cavaliers’ franchise history, these have been some special days. The Cavaliers have drafted nearly all of their franchise cornerstones, and they’re hoping to add another for the second straight year. Here at WFNY, we’ve got a wide range of college and pro basketball opinions, and we drew on those experiences in this roundtable. We hope you enjoy.

Who is your guy and why (obviously excluding Anthony Davis)?

Kirk: “The answer to this question for me has been MKG, Beal, and Barnes all within the last three months. I remain firm in my opinion that the Cavs should not and will not be disappointed if they stay at four and select Barnes. In the end, I’m hoping for MKG. I’m counting on the fact that he’s only 18 and it will give him plenty of time to develop that jumper, and the other aspects of his game will be outstanding enough to warrant the selection even if he never becomes what you would call a good shooter.”

Andrew: “I remain on team MKGtoCLE. I totally get people’s concerns about his shooting ability, but I don’t want MKG as a shooter. I want MKG to run the floor with Kyrie, slash to the rim, draw fouls, grab rebounds, play tenacious defense, and be an on floor leader. Basically, I want MKG to be MKG and do all the things he does best. When watching Kentucky games, you couldn’t help but notice him doing all the little things to help his team win. It’s intagibles similar to what you get with Anderson Varejao. Fine, those guys are limited offensively. But they’re winners. They do whatever it takes to give you a chance to win. That’s what I want on the Cavaliers.”

Rick: “Admittedly, I watch probably less college basketball than any other writer at the site. That said, I have been tracking Beal since February, thinking the Cavs would have a shot at him. What I read about MKG makes me think he is the smart choice. Truthfully, I will be excited about either of these guys. ” [Read more...]

NBA Draft Rumors: Reports On Cavs Trading Up For Charlotte’s No. 2 Pick Continue To Surface

There are only four and half more days of smokescreens, and then David Stern will have to start calling names in New York. The one bit of speculation that continues to gain traction in NBA circles is that the Cavaliers will try to put together a package for the Charlotte Bobcats and move into the No. 2 slot.

The Cavs and Bobcats have been bandied about as potential trade partners since the lottery. Sam Amick again reported late Thursday night that executives felt the Cavs would likely approach Charlotte in an effort to move ahead of the Wizards and take Brad Beal. Rick Bonnell weighed in this morning on the Charlotte side of the things and after speaking to his sources, and he’s hearing more on the potential swap in the top four:

After calling some sources with lottery picks Saturday, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Bobcats and Cleveland Cavaliers swap draft picks in Thursday’s draft. In that sort of a deal, the Bobcats would pick fourth and 24th and the Cavs would move up to No. 2.

From the day he became part of this front office, general manager Rich Cho has talked about gathering extra assets, and that generally means extra first-round picks.

[Related: Should The Cavs Trade Up For Brad Beal?]

NBA Draft 2012: Time To Go Get Brad Beal?

The NBA Draft is upon us, and the Cavaliers and their fans are sure to have an eventful week, climaxing on Thursday night. The Cavs hold the No. 4 overall pick in a Draft that has little locked in after Anthony Davis at No. 1 for New Orleans. After Davis, there’s another five prospects who have all consistently been rumored within the top four — the big man duo of Thomas Robinson and Andre Drummond, and Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bradley Beal. At one time or another, the Cavaliers have been linked with all of these prospects, with a consensus coalescing around the latter three.

The Cavs, of course, will not have their pick of the litter at No. 4. It’s likely that Beal, for one, is off the board before Chris Grant is on the clock. In comes Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated, who reported yesterday that many league executives expect Grant to approach the Bobcats with a trade for the No. 2 pick: [Read more...]

Mock NBA Draft: Chad Ford Has Cavs Addressing Wing

Though he estimates that the top six could go any of ten different ways, ESPN’s Chad Ford sticks to his guns this week by saying that the Cleveland Cavaliers will select shooting guard Bradley Beal with the fourth-overall selection. With the Florida product having made his way to Cleveland to show what he has, Ford thinks that his performance may have solidified his selection if he finds a way to make it to the No. 4 pick.

“The Cavs had Beal and Barnes in for a head-to-head workout on Saturday,” writes Ford. “While both played well, the word out of Cleveland is that Beal was a little better. That could seal the deal for Beal at No. 4 if he falls this far. But remember that workouts are just one small part of a much bigger process. The Cavs have been very interested in Barnes for the past year and could decide they prefer his size.”

Four inches of added height and a historical bout of romance dating back to last summer’s draft are certainly in Barnes’ corner, but there is increasing speculation that he could be had as low as sixth-overall. Would the Cavaliers be willing to reach beyond the opinions of the pundits? How about a trade down? Other teams are certianly interested in Beal, so a deal could be done if the price was right.

Addressing the shooting guard slot early, Ford has the Cavaliers focusing on the small forard spot later in the first round. Their means? The 6-foot-10-inch small forward out of Baylor, Quincy Miller.

“If the Cavs add Beal, they could try to swing for the fences with Miller,” says Ford. “There are a lot of concerns about his knee and what position he’ll play in the pros. But his upside is so high that it might be worth taking a gamble this low in the draft. There’s very little risk and a lot of potential reward here.”

Ford’s last mock draft had the Cavaliers selecting center Fab Melo with the 24th-overall selection. This week’s has Melo’s name flying off of the board with the 18th-overall pick. Notables like Perry Jones III (19), Jared Sullinger (20) and Andrew Nicholson (21) pepper the latter half of the first-round.

[Related: Cleveland Cavaliers’ Plans at #4 Need Not Include a Center]