August 15, 2014

Indians playoff odds, Craiglist, stats and Byron Scott… While We’re Waiting

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Holding out hope: The Cleveland Indians are 47-47 at the All-Star Break. There are only 68 games left to play in the regular season. In order to make the playoffs again, the Indians will likely have to go on a torrid second-half run yet again Last year, you might recall how I often updated the team’s playoff odds from three different outlets. Today, as we begin the second half, I’ll take a look at where those odds stand: [Read more...]

Cavs provide another one for the record books

PhotoWe were told things were supposed to be different. In a way, they were. Rather than having nothing in the way of a defensive philosophy, tightening up and allowing an opponent to slowly climb back into a game in which they have no business being, it was—this time, anyway—the offense. The Cavaliers turned an 18-point halftime lead against the Phoenix Suns into a nine-point loss, at home, falling by as many as 11 midway through the fourth quarter (a difficult feat in any professional sport) by not being able to execute on one of the game’s integral activities—projecting the basketball in such a way that it goes over and through the orange cyllander which happens to be suspended 10 feet above the hardwood floor.

They would score just six points in the third quarter, just two points more than the team’s record for lowest point total in a quarter, but easily the lowest single-quarter point total for any team in the NBA this season. It was, by all accounts, difficult to watch. Those witnessing the game from their homes blared 140 characters of frustration. Those in attendance festooned the team with boos. Naturally, when these types of events happen, we attempt to apply some sort of rationale to what was ultimately a complete implosion.

The loss reminded many of Byron Scott’s tenure as head coach of the Cavaliers, an era that provided much in the way of squandered leads. It was the Phoenix Suns who, just a season ago, provided the Cavaliers with a bit of history, coming back from a 26-point deficit and handing the Cavaliers a loss. Later that year, it would be the New York Knicks and Miami Heat who would each fall by a substantial margin, only to come back and win their respective games. This issue, the one of complete unraveling in the wake of an early lead, was something that was to have been rectified with the firing of Scott and the hiring of the defensive-minded Mike Brown.

[Read more...]

NBA Rumor: Cavs wanted Klay Thompson in 2011

PhotoChris Grant and the Cavaliers were reportedly close to adding a third lottery pick in 2011 in shooting guard Klay Thompson. From Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal, Grant had multiple deals in place but all of them would fall through for a variety of reasons.

Klay Thompson scored 16 points and shot just 5-for-16 Sunday, but how good would he look in a Cavs jersey? It nearly happened on draft night in 2011. One NBA source told me recently the Cavs were trying frantically to add a third top 10 pick in that 2011 draft. Byron Scott told me months later it was the night he really came to believe Chris Grant knew what he was doing and was the right man for the job, watching him work the phones trying to get a third pick.

The Cavs selected Kyrie Irving first overall and Tristan Thompson fourth. Grant wanted one more pick and one of his targets was Klay Thompson. The Cavs talked to the Sacramento Kings about a deal involving J.J. Hickson for the No. 7 pick, but the Kings ultimately dealt the pick in a different deal and the Cavs sent Hickson to the Kings after the draft for Omri Casspi and a future pick. Then the Cavs had a deal in place with the Utah Jazz for the No. 12 pick, but the Warriors snatched Thompson at No. 11. The Jazz ultimately backed out of the deal with the Cavs and selected shooting guard Alec Burks.

A 6-foot-7-inch shooter, Klay Thompson is the quintessential shooting guard for Mike Brown’s preferred offense. The Washington State product has improved year-over-year in the scoring department since entering the league, and is presently averaging just under 20 points per night for the Golden State Warriors.

As a consolation prize, the Cavaliers would ultimately sign (and release) undrafted rookie Mychel Thompson, the older brother of Klay.

[Related: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Andrew Bynum has potential, lacks commitment]

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 Diff: Fun Cleveland Cavs facts fans keep forgetting

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, I provided an All-Star Break update of the top prospects in the Cleveland Indians system, This week, I’m talking about the Cavs’ offseason.

The Diff

This NBA offseason seems like it has lasted quite a long time. The Cleveland Cavaliers last played a regular season game exactly three months ago on April 17. While one could point out it’s been even longer that since they played even a somewhat meaningful game, the team’s flurry of moves this offseason has passed by like a blur. Thus, today, we’ll review four Cavs facts that fans may have been forgetting of late. Feel free to chime in with your own as well. [Read more...]

NBA News: Clippers talk contract with Byron Scott

ESPN’s Chris Broussard is reporting that the Los Angeles Clippers have initiated contract discussions with former Cavalier coach Byron Scott. Broussard tweeted:


Scott was fired by the Cavs on April 18th, just one day after the Cavs finished the season. The Cavs finished the year on a six game losing streak that brought Scott’s overall record with the Cavaliers to 64-166 (.278). The Clippers fired Vinnie Del Negro following their 4-2 second round loss to the Memphis Grizzlies (losing the final four games following goin. The Clippers have been involved in very public talks acquire current Celtic coach Doc River (as well as Kevin Garnett). Those talks broke down this week after the two teams couldn’t agree on a compensation package for Rivers.

Scott’s potential move to the Clippers could reunite him with Chris Paul (assuming Paul doesn’t leave as a FA this summer. Which would be ironic). Scott coached Paul while he was with the New Orleans Hornets from 04-09.

[Related: Talking Myself into Mike Brown]

The current negative streak in Cleveland Sports is truly remarkable

Jimmy Haslam didn't like the penalty that overturned the Browns TD

Jimmy Haslam didn’t like the penalty that overturned the Browns TD

I feel like we’ve said this every year for a while now, but I can’t think of a worse time in Cleveland sports.1 I’m really not going out of my way to dwell in the negative here. I think there are some good things going on in all three Cleveland sports teams right now. I think the Browns have a decent young roster that might surprise us all if coached up properly this season. I think Byron Scott lost the Cavaliers, but I think with their positioning this off-season and all Chris Grant’s “assets” there’s a really good chance for a positive makeover year-over-year. Lastly, the Indians are mired right now in a nearly whole-team slump, but they’ve turned over a lot of those veterans that have been dogging Indians fans for much of the past five summers. All that being said, and without any of that “Look at us and respect us for our suffering!” clamor, it truly couldn’t get much worse, right?

Let’s look at the negative streaks fans have endured in all the sports recently. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Excluding the real outlier of when we didn’t have a football team at all of course. []

Scott Raab talks Boston Marathon, Jimmy Haslam, Byron Scott and Phil Jackson – WFNY Podcast – 2013-04-22

WFNY Podcast LogoIt’s the weekly check-in with Scott Raab with plenty plenty plenty to talk about with the bombings, firings and FBI investigation that all occurred last week.

  • The Boston Marathon news playing out online

  • New York Post and their mis-identified suspects

  • The terror of the citizens of Boston

  • Milking the emotion of the audience

  • Cable news vs. Twitter vs. Reddit for news attention

  • Crowd-sourcing on Reddit

  • False Flag conspiracy theories

  • Personal tweets

  • Jimmy Haslam and his FBI investigation

  • Will Jimmy Haslam own the Browns this time next year?

  • John Compton and his outlook on being replaced

  • In a vacuum, Jimmy Haslam would have been a good owner

  • Phil Jackson is coming to Cleveland!

  • Would you run Chris Grant out for Phil Jackson?

  • Analytics and Mike Brown

  • Who made the call on Byron Scott’s firing?

  • Eric Mangini and history’s look back on him [Read more...]

Mike Brown Take Two? In The Right Situation, Yes

Mike BrownThere’s been a lot of rumbling ever since the Cavaliers let head coach Byron Scott go last week that it was possible that his predecessor Mike Brown may just get another look at the Cavaliers coaching gig. Some are strongly opposed to bringing a coach back for a second tour of duty, for that reason alone. Some are concerned that the same reasons that Brown was relieved of his job title in Cleveland will creep up again. Still, I’m saying, right here, right now, that I would be on board with a Mike Brown Cavalier reunion tour under the proper terms.

I’ll add at the outset that I hope Brown is not the only candidate that the Cavaliers interview. I’m intrigued in particular by Warriors assistant Mike Malone and Pacers assistant Brian Shaw. I’d give anything to have Phil Jackson come to Cleveland, but despite some reports, I just don’t see that happening. Malone was an assistant under Brown here in Cleveland from 2005-2010, while Shaw was reportedly a finalist back when the Cavs hired Scott in 2010. The problem is with Detroit and Philadelphia having vacancies and a few other teams potentially having openings after the first round of the playoffs is over, the Cavaliers may feel they have to move quickly to avoid losing Brown to a current playoff team. [Read more...]

Byron Scott’s firing and who the Cavs are hiring with Andrew – WFNY Podcast – 2013-04-21

WFNY Podcast LogoAndrew and I talked about Byron Scott before we talked about Pearl Jam. Then I posted the podcasts out of order. Talk about trippy!

  • Byron Scott and his firing with the Cavs

  • Losing with a lack of style

  • Camp Scott and running his players ragged

  • Jason Lloyd’s article about player complaints

  • Metrics and Byron Scott

  • Was Byron willing to listen to the front office?

  • Mike Brown and the potential for his second stint with the Cavaliers

  • Public perception and how that plays into it [Read more...]

Report: Dan Gilbert Meeting With Mike Brown Tonight

It’s being reported by WKYC’s sports producer Brian Crane that a meeting between Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach Mike Brown will take place this evening.

Brown was the coach of the Cavaliers from 2005-2010. In that time, he won 314 games, including a playoff record of 42-29, which makes him the Cavaliers’ franchise leader in winning percentage for both the regular season and playoffs. His Cavaliers won the Eastern Conference in 2007, and he earned Coach of the Year honors in 2009. Brown is known for his defensive prowess, but he has been criticized for his lack of in-game adjustments and his team’s offensive struggles. In the summer of 2010, Brown was dismissed and replaced by Byron Scott, ahead of the LeBron James free agent decision. Scott was fired this week after three seasons and only 64 wins.Brown was dismissed by the Lakers just five games into the season this year, replaced eventually by Mike D’Antoni.

Other names mentioned for the Cavaliers opening include former Cavs assistant and current Golden State assistant Mike Malone, former Lakers and current Pacers assistant Brian Shaw (a candidate the last time the Cavaliers had a head coach search), Miami assistant David Fizdale, and yes, even former Bulls and Lakers coach and Hall-of-Famer Phil Jackson.

Related: The Boots: NBA draft Lottery, Byron Scott’s Tenure, NBA Playoffs

While We’re Waiting… Draft day trades brewing?

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 tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Connecting the dots between a possible Kansas City-Miami trade that might affect the Browns’ plans with the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft: “The connections between the Chiefs and the Dolphins, with regard to [Branden] Albert, have been present for awhile. Now, they possibility could be coming closer to being a reality. On Thursday, Arrowhead Pride passed along the information that the Chiefs had given permission to the Dolphins to speak to, but not meet with, Albert.” [Chris Pokorny/Dawgs By Nature]

[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...]

NBA News: Byron Scott says he didn’t get a “fair shake”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Schmitt-Boyer got a telephone interview with Byron Scott and quotes the now-former Cavaliers head coach.

“I’m disappointed, more than anything,” Scott said in a telephone interview. “I don’t think I got a fair shake.”

While his sentiment is understandable, this is an issue of framing. The Cavaliers were never designed to win a whole host of games this season and everyone knew it. The question, as always, is why exactly was Byron Scott fired? Was it truly a matter of wins and losses, or were there more factors?

Our own Andrew has weighed in on the topic earlier today.

It wasn’t fair that Chris Grant was giving Byron Scott undrafted D-League players and forcing him to give them meaningful NBA minutes. It wasn’t fair that Byron had to coach a starting five containing two rookies and two second-year players. And it certainly isn’t fair that he was fired before he could see his rebuilding work through to the end.

Unfortunately for Byron Scott, professional sports aren’t about fairness. And even more unfortunate for Byron Scott, firing him at this time was absolutely the right move for this franchise.

As I have weighed in over the last day or so, I’ve continually said that this couldn’t be just about wins and losses. I think it was about superlative losses and superlative losing streaks. Ultimately, with regard to fairness, that’s unfair to fans and the team chose their best path was to make a change.

[Related: NBA Rumor: Cavs covet Mike Brown, may move fast]

NBA Rumor: Cavs covet Mike Brown, may move fast

In one of the more surreal events in Cleveland coaching history the Cavaliers are not only interested in former coach Mike Brown, but may move quickly to obtain his services in order to ensure that another team does not swoop in and take him.

Mary Schmitt-Boyer of The Cleveland Plain Dealer has provided a source report stating that the Cavaliers are intersted in re-hiring the defensive specialist who they fired after the completion of the 2009-10 season, one year after he won the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award. In firing Brown, the Cavaliers hired the offensively focused Byron Scott, but relieved him of his services after a combined record of 64-166 and one of the league’s worst defenses over the three-year span.

In discussing the decision to fire Scott, Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant repeatedly stated that the team would look to hire a coach who will focus on the defensive side of the ball. In 2008-09, Brown’s Cavaliers allowed opponents to shoot a mere 43.1 percent from the floor, a mark that led the entire NBA.

Brown reportedly had not been contacted by the Cavaliers on Thursday night, but would be open to returning to Cleveland if the opportunity presented itself.

“”If anybody calls, you have to listen,” Brown said via telephone. “I’m not rushing to get back to [coaching]. Whether it’s the Cavs situation or anybody else, it has to feel right for both sides.”

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

Fair or not, it was time for the Cavaliers to move on

Byron ScottI still remember the day Byron Scott was hired to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I remember driving in my car and thinking to myself, “You know, I think I really like this hire. Even if LeBron does leave, at least the Cavaliers will play an exciting brand of basketball and be fun to watch.”

Three years later, Byron Scott is no longer the coach of the Cavaliers, and I find myself thinking about how refreshing this is because maybe now the Cavaliers will be fun to watch again. I would call that irony, but in Cleveland, we know it as reality.

It’s funny because up until about three weeks ago, I was positive Byron would be back next season. My confidence in the wisdom of that had long since deteriorated, but I felt that in the spirit of fairness, Byron probably was going to get another year to see what he could do with a healthy roster.

Of course, nothing about Byron Scott’s tenure in Cleveland was fair. [Read more...]

Life after Byron

Kyrie Irving Byron ScottThey walked over one by one. Clad in sweats and somber faces, the men who comprise the current Cleveland Cavaliers roster were one-man processions, walking from the far corner Cleveland Clinic Courts over to the padded wall that is laced with marketing blocks of the namesake. The Courts themselves are pristine, featuring some of the brightest, whitest light this side of Christmas. But on this day, while the fluorescent bulbs buzzed, the mood was very dark. On a day that should have been a collective sigh of relief given the end of a 24-win season, it was an afternoon laced with more uncertainty.

The team deemed it a “release,” but Byron Scott, the team’s head coach since the circus of 2010, was fired. Releasing is what you do to a fish that was just a bit too small. Firing is what happens when you swing a sword of accountability and opt to slice the lowest of the hanging fruit in hopes that the loss of one piece helps the rest of the tree grow taller. The players, one by one, slowly migrated over to the half circle of media members and spoke of a man lost. They spoke softly. They often looked down as they shared their thoughts. At one point, power forward Tristan Thompson got choked up and had to take a deep breath before continuing on with what Scott meant to his progress as a player1. They all claimed to be shocked by the team’s decision, many of them claimed they wish they could have done more to prevent it. A eulogy for a man who was still in the building.

[Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Thompson finished the season with a PER of 16.1, just 0.4 points shy of this season’s likely Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard []

NBA News: Cavaliers part ways with head coach Byron Scott

The Cleveland Cavaliers have decided to part ways with head coach Byron Scott, per a report from the Akron Beacon-Journal.

“I have tremendous respect for Byron professionally and a great deal of admiration for him personally. At the same time, it is critical for where we are as a team to ensure that we capitalize on every opportunity for development and success and we have fallen short of that on the court,” said Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant on the matter. “I believe we needed to make this change in order to get to a better position to achieve our goals. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Cavs organization and the Cleveland community, in thanking Byron for his three years here and his hard work and many contributions on and off the court. We wish Bryon and his wife, Anita, the best.”

Scott, 52, was named the 18th head coach in Cleveland Cavaliers history on July 1, 2010. The Cavaliers’ record during Scott’s tenure as Head Coach was 64-166.

“I want to thank Chris Grant, Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers organization for the opportunity I had to coach this team the last three seasons,” said Scott. “Anita and I have enjoyed our time here in Cleveland and greatly appreciate the support we received from this special community and the many friendships we developed. I am certainly proud of the progress that many of our players have made and greatly appreciate the dedication of my coaches and our team in our efforts to attain the success we all desired.”

The Cavaliers will immediately commence a search, led by General Manager Chris Grant, for the team’s next head coach. Names that have been speculated about include Miami Heat assistant coach Tim Fizdale and former NBA head coaches Mike Brown and Stan Van Gundy. Brian Shaw, a candidate in 2010 when the team hired Scott, is reportedly also a potential candidate.

“I wish Byron Scott and his entire family the best going forward. Byron is a class guy, both on and off the court, and I thank him for his three years of coaching the Cavaliers,” said Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert.

“I fully support the difficult move that was made today. Although we saw progress with young individual player development, we did not see the kind of progress we expected on the team level this past season. We understand it was challenging with the injuries, but when you are at our stage in the building process, you don’t only measure team progress in wins and losses.

It has been our strong and stated belief that when our team once again returns to competing at the NBA’s highest levels it will be because we have achieved our goals on the defensive side of the court.

Our fans have been incredibly loyal and supportive during these transition years. They deserve better than we have been delivering as of late and it is our full intent to deliver them the kind of competitive team that they expect to see on the court beginning next season,” Gilbert concluded.

Scott, hired in the wake of The Decision in 2010, amassed a .278 winning percentage with the Cavaliers. He was brought on to spearhead a rebuilding process that involved multiple lottery selections, dealing with many injuries along the way. Nevertheless, Scott’s team regressed throughout the 2012-13 season, finishing 29th in field goal percentage (.434) and dead last in field goal percentage allowed (..476)—they allowed a league-worst 1.27 points per shot.

Scott had his option for the 2013-14 season picked up by the Cavaliers this past summer, but the lack of growth and direction—coupled with rumblings of a locker room lost—would eventually prove to force Dan Gilbert and Chris Grant to look in another direction. Gilbert and Grant had been mysteriously quiet for much of the last six weeks of the NBA season.

Speculation surrounding Scott’s dismissal was reported earlier this week.

[Related: A big summer for Kyrie, in more ways than one]

#TankStrong is Dead, Long Live #DraftStrong

tankIf you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen me quite often use the #TankStrong hashtag. I’ve written about it before on here, and I’m not ashamed in believing this was part of the plan all along. But, with the Cavaliers loss to the Bobcats in Charlotte last night, that mindset, that strategy, that train of thought is dead. Now, it’s time for the Cavaliers to grab one more core piece high in the lottery and never look back. They must use their other 14 draft picks over the next four years to supplement their current talent. The losing on the court has taken place. Now, it’s up to Chris Grant to get this roster ready to turn the corner. I meant it when I said it last night. #TankStrong is Dead. Long Live #DraftStrong. [Read more...]

A big summer for Kyrie, in more ways than one

Kyrie Irving

Before his Cleveland Cavaliers would take the court against the Miami Heat on Monday night, Byron Scott sat in front of the town’s media horde and addressed items of past, present and future. In looking long term, Scott would say that the next several months set the stage for what is a “big summer” for Kyrie Irving, his All-Star, 21-year-old point guard who had seemingly taken a turn for the worst and has become the subject of scrutiny throughout the league.

[Read more...]