August 15, 2014

Kyrie Irving is not a superstar


A superstar is supposed to be someone transcendent, someone who dominates, someone who makes everyone around them better. LeBron James is a superstar. Chris Paul is a superstar. Kyrie Irving is not.

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

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

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

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 Diff: Kyrie Irving’s potential

Today marks the start of a new era: The Diff, where I’ll write lots and lots about sports stats. Kudos to friend and fantasy football semifinalist Marc Sugerman for coming up with the article name, a shoutout to the Q’s scoreboard. And thanks as always to Mike Brenkus for the design.

The Diff

For my first-ever edition of The Diff, I wanted to focus on some thoughts I had about Kyrie Irving over the last week or so. This all started after the Cavs’ impressive 99-83 victory over the Hawks a week ago today. I was at that game with my dad. But the following conversation took place the next day on Gchat with my brother Sam, who you all might recall from our combined offseason post back in June. Hope you enjoy. [Read more...]

Jason Lloyd report: Chris Paul asked Byron Scott to switch defenders

From the Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd-

“Chris Paul asked Byron Scott to stop using Alonzo Gee on him defensively. Scott made that shocking revelation today after practice. He has been calling Gee one of the league’s best defenders for a few days and is trying to prove it by using him to defend multiple positions.

Apparently at some point during Monday’s Cavs win over the Clippers, Paul jogged by Scott and told him “take him off me” and wanted Kyrie Irving to defend him instead.

“Why you got him guarding me? Let the young fella guard me,” Paul told Scott. “I said, ‘Young fella has guarded you. He said, ‘Well you threw me in the fire, made me guard all those guys.’”

It would probably be wise to take this with a grain of salt. Sure Paul would rather have had Kyrie Irving guarding him all the time. Gee is proving to be the Cavaliers’ best on ball defender. If Paul wanted the defensive switch, perhaps he should have forced the ball to a bigger guard on the block against Irving. Creating a mismatch like that would have forced Scott’s hand.

[Related: Cavaliers' coaster ride heads back up in win over Clippers]

Report: Cavs offered entire 2012 draft for No. 1 pick

According to multiple reports on Twitter, seemingly all pointing back to ESPN’s Chad Ford, the Cleveland Cavaliers got aggressive in pursuit of the first-overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft. It is being said that the Cavaliers offered four picks in total (Nos. 4, 24, 33, 34) for the lottery ticket that New Orleans and their new ownership currently hold in their possession. The Hornets reportedly declined.

Of course, everyone remembers that the Hornets were possessed by the NBA prior to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson purchasing the team for $338 million. Everyone also (probably) remembers that league commissioner David Stern nixed a trade of Chris Paul prior to last season before allowing a second attempt to go through.

Has to make you wonder if the offer might have had a better chance before the Hornets were purchased by a real live owner.

[Related: NBA Draft: Staying at #4 And Debating The Prospects]

While We’re Waiting… Kyrie and Chris Paul, Urban Meyer’s spread offense and Muni-Seats for sale

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

“Through Kyrie’s first 23 NBA games, he’s averaging 18.0 points and 5.1 assists per night—numbers that line up very close to how the benchmark of NBA point guards opened his career. Through Chris Paul’s first 23 games, he averaged 16.7 points and 7.0 assists. It’s not just numbers drawing comparisons between the two players though. According to the guy who coached them both as rookies, “Kyrie also has a similar Chris Paul-type competitiveness as well.”

A comparison between he and Irving that Paul says is most definitely justified. “Yeah, no doubt, I see the similarities in both our games for sure,” Paul added. “Kyrie’s really good with the ball, his decision making, and things like that. And I talk to him pretty often actually.When the lockout ended he hit me, and asked me about different things that he could do to make sure everything went right with Coach,” Paul went on to tell SLAMonline. “I just told him, just be himself and play hard.” [Bowers/Slam Magazine] [Read more...]

Cohesive Cavs Stun Complacent Clippers

Upon emerging from the trainer’s room, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul spent approximately 15 minutes having a heated yet professional exchange with two of his assistant coaches, Robert Pack and Dean Demopoulos. Verging on animated, Paul appeared to be discussing specific plays, potentially mixing in some team philosophies, both contributing to their seven-point loss to the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers.

Paul was forced to debate with assistant coaches, and later teammate Randy Foye, because their head coach Vinny Del Negro was long gone. The Clippers’ main man chastised his team for a complete lack of aggression, stating that they were out-manned by a team that happened to be on the second night of a back-to-back. Del Negro wouldn’t categorize the team’s effort as complacency — something that could have easily set in following the announcement of Kyrie Irving’s absence — but his team, on this night, was clearly the less physical. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Extending Asdrubal, Trading up for RG3 and Remembering a Tribe legend

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

On the Tribe not having players locked up after 2013- “The reason that the possibility of a Cabrera (or Masterson) extension becomes compelling is that the 2011 season represented the first time that Cabrera and Masterson emerged as players that could merit consideration for extensions in an effort to keep them in Cleveland longer than they are currently slated to be. Perhaps the 2012 season will reveal more players that fit that bill as well as the Indian stand at the precipice of perhaps having multiple players emerge as “core” players. Remember that it was the Spring Training prior to the 2005 season that El Capitan and The aCCe were locked up with extensions for Peralta, Grady, and Lee coming year later. Obviously players like Cabrera or Masterson may be in a different service time schedule in comparison to those players at those times, but with so many young players attempting to establish themselves in MLB and with the Indians history of locking up young players, it’s hard not to see how some extensions maybe forthcoming.” [Cousineau/The DiaTribe] [Read more...]

Box Score: Clippers 92, Cavaliers 99

No Kyrie, no problem? Cavs fans were stunned to find out just moments before tipoff that Kyrie Irving would miss the game with a concussion. Everyone was eager for a Kyrie-CP3 matchup, but instead it was Ramon Sessions who provided a monster game in leading the Cavaliers to a huge win. Sessions had 24 points, 13 assists and limited Chris Paul to 16 points on 5-16 shooting from the field. Antawn Jamison again lead all scorers with 27 points and Anderson Varejao chipped in another double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds despite having to go to the locker room in the 3rd quarter with a back injury after an ugly fall.

An enormous confidence boosting win without their young rookie PG, the Cavaliers can feel great about winning this one as a team, with a lot of effort and suffocating defense that kept the Clippers’ offense looking disorganized for much of the night. Now all eyes will be on Irving and whether or not he will miss any more time.

LA Clippers

Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
C. Paul G 36:57 5-16 0-2 6-6 +2 0 3 12 2 3 0 2 2 16
R. Foye G 27:31 5-11 3-6 2-2 -8 0 1 2 1 1 0 1 1 15
D. Jordan C 24:01 0-0 0-0 0-0 +1 2 4 0 1 0 2 0 2 0
B. Griffin F 37:25 8-16 0-0 9-10 -1 5 15 1 1 1 0 2 6 25
C. Butler F 36:11 8-15 0-3 5-6 -4 1 2 1 3 0 1 1 5 21
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 32-78 3-15 25-29 15 38 20 13 8 5 8 26 92
Percentages .410 .200 .862 Team Rebounds: 6
M. Williams 34:29 2-10 0-3 1-1 -7 0 0 3 2 2 0 1 4 5
K. Martin 20:12 3-7 0-1 0-0 0 3 4 0 1 1 2 1 4 6
R. Evans 14:08 0-1 0-0 2-4 -10 4 7 1 2 0 0 0 2 2
R. Gomes 9:06 1-2 0-0 0-0 -8 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
E. Bledsoe DNP – Coach’s Decision
B. Cook DNP – Coach’s Decision
T. Leslie DNP – Coach’s Decision
T. Thompkins DNP – Coach’s Decision


Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
R. Sessions G 39:23 9-16 2-4 4-4 +4 0 2 13 3 1 1 0 4 24
D. Gibson G 35:36 6-11 2-4 3-4 +11 0 3 2 3 1 2 0 1 17
A. Varejao C 31:53 6-8 0-0 3-3 +5 3 11 3 4 0 1 1 4 15
A. Jamison F 38:03 10-18 1-3 6-9 +7 3 8 3 1 0 1 1 3 27
O. Casspi F 20:41 1-3 0-2 0-0 +5 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 2
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 36-71 7-18 20-26 10 36 24 15 4 8 5 23 99
Percentages .507 .389 .769 Team Rebounds: 11
A. Gee 32:16 2-8 1-3 2-2 +1 1 3 3 3 0 0 1 3 7
C. Eyenga 16:04 2-3 1-1 1-2 0 1 2 0 1 0 2 0 2 6
S. Samuels 12:55 0-3 0-0 1-2 -5 1 4 0 0 0 1 2 3 1
S. Erden 6:35 0-0 0-0 0-0 +3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0
L. Harangody 6:34 0-1 0-1 0-0 +4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
R. Hollins DNP – Coach’s Decision
K. Irving DNP – Coach’s Decision

Tired and Short-Handed Cavaliers Try to Bounce Back vs Chris Paul and the Clippers

Chris Paul has made a huge impact on the Clippers

***UPDATE: Daniel Gibson will play and will start tonight against the Clippers. So kindly disregard comments below about Gibson likely not playing.

***UPDATE #2: Kyrie Irving has concussion like symptoms and will not play tonight. Great. Just great.  

The Cleveland Cavaliers (9-14, 10th in the East) begin their longest home stand of the season Wednesday night as the new Los Angeles Clippers (15-7, 2nd in the West) visit The Q.

This is certainly a matchup that is not lacking for storylines. Chris Paul playing his old coach and mentor, Byron Scott. Kyrie Irving vs one of the players he seems to be compared to a lot in Chris Paul. Mo Williams making his return to Cleveland.

Beyond the storylines, though, I expect a rough night for the Cavaliers. The Clippers, though on the 3rd game of a road trip, are well rested having had the previous night off. The Cavaliers played shorthanded in Miami last night, ran up and down the court at a frantic pace for much of the game, and then had to fly back home. [Read more...] Kyrie Irving Having Better Rookie Season Than LeBron James?’s Justin Havens has a fascinating article posted in which he uses several statistical measures to show that Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving is having a better rookie season than Chris Paul or LeBron James had.

The whole article is pretty fascinating, but Havens especially points out what Kyrie Irving might ultimately mean to the Cavaliers organization:

Previous to Irving, the last time the Cavaliers had the first pick in the NBA Draft, they took LeBron James, and we all know how that turned out.

The good news for Cleveland fans is that Irving’s performance as a rookie is on pace to best what James did his first year in Cleveland, outdistancing James in scoring and assists per 36 minutes, as well as Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares per 48 minutes.

In fact, his current 21.8 PER would place him 11th on the all-time Cavaliers list, not just among rookies, among players with at least 2,000 minutes played.

When you limit it to non-LeBron James seasons, Irving would jump to fifth, trailing only the best seasons for Brad Daugherty, Terrell Brandon and Mark Price.

Obviously the season is still very young and Irving could end up getting hurt or seeing his performance fall back to rookie levels. And truth be told, comparing a rookie in a 66 game schedule to a rookie in an 82 game schedule is never a fair comparison to make.

But still, the numbers are what they are. Through 13 games this year Kyrie Irving has played like a superstar, and he’s only a rookie. The kid is going to get better and the Cavaliers have to feel awfully good about where they sit with Irving today.

[Related: Elias: Kyrie Irving Enters Cavaliers’ Record Books]

Kyrie Irving is the Next…

Within the realm of professional sports, we tend to fall into the trap of Next. We have long searched for The Next Michael Jordan, be he Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or Player to Be Named Later.  Same can be said for Dirk Nowitzki, largely credited with taking dynamite to the floodgates of foreign-born NBA combatants. Who is the next European player with flowing blonde hair who can tower over most of his competition yet provide a wrist-flick that could be featured in The Louvre?

At each year’s end, we create lists of what out versus what’s in and publish magazines where the young and spry don sashes which declare them conqueror of all things future.

But when the upper echelon is not enough of a shoes-to-be-filled narrative, the newspaper ink cascades on down upon the rest of the league. Even in instances where said comparisons would be good enough to potentially crack an All-Star roster let alone the Hall of Fame, we attempt to categorize players of similar position or skill set, measurables or intangibles, coming to all-to-premature conclusions that New Player of Choice is most comparable to Arbitrary Older Player.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Buckeyes Head To Phog Allen, Oden Suffers Setback

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

Previewing #2 OSU / #13 Kansas later today down at Phog Allen Fieldhouse:  “After an early loss to #1 Kentucky in New York, Kansas rebounded to make it to the Maui Invitational final. But sloppy defense late and an improbable 3-pointer led to another loss against #6 Duke. Since then, the Jayhawks have won 3 straight against inferior competition in preparation for OSU. It usually takes a couple of weeks to recover from the Maui trip, and in addition to that the team battled “the crud” for a bit before shaking it off.

Helping to make up for the loss of so much fire-power, and especially the loss of the Morris twins, is junior forward Thomas Robinson. Robinson has been a beast on the front-court, at one point recording six straight double-doubles. Robinson racked up a career high 26 points in KU’s victory against Long Beach State on Tuesday and also grabbed 11 boards. He is not as large as Sullinger, but he cleans the glass pretty well, averaging 12 rebounds per game.

Another key player for Kansas is senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor. Taylor is a distributor, but he’s also a serious scoring threat from the one. He’s shooting nearly 46% from the field this season, including a sizzling 57% from downtown. Reserve guard Conner Teahan is another dead-eye shooter from distance, hitting 45% of his threes. He helped the Jayhawks break the game open against Long Beach, hitting 4 triples and scoring a career high 14 points.”  [Joe Beale  / Eleven Warriors] [Read more...]

Dan Gilbert Letter Expresses Outrage Over Chris Paul Lakers Trade

Well, Dan Gilbert is writing letters again. As you’re well aware, the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, and Houston Rockets had agreed to a trade in principle that would send Chris Paul to the Lakers. The NBA, which coincidentally owns the Hornets, vetoed the trade late Thursday. Now, it’s complete chaos – apparently Paul will not report to the Hornets on Friday, while Lamar Odom (who, along with Paul Gasol, was to be traded out of LA) may not report to the Lakers.

Stern’s veto of the trade supposedly came from pressure among smaller market owners who were worried about competitive balance, and didn’t like the fact that after five months of a lockout, it was more of the same among star players “choosing” their destinations.

And late Thursday, Yahoo! published a letter from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to Commissioner Stern that is a seething plea to block the trade. As you can imagine, Gilbert’s letter has not and will not go over too well.

One thing that is interesting is that this letter was leaked late to Yahoo! after intense and relentless criticism of David Stern and the league office mounted over the course of the evening. The leak had the effect of immediately turning the guns from Stern on to Gilbert, who was getting crushed on Twitter and in the press. Unlike the comic sans contretemps, this one, as far we know, was sent in confidence to limited recipients and not for the public.

The complete letter, via Yahoo!, after the jump:

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Chris Paul and How the NBA Rumor Season Feels Dirtier Than Ever

Hey, did you guys hear about Chris Paul?  According to Adrian Wojnarowski’s reports from last night (probably via Paul himself or his agent if I had to take a wild guess) the Clippers and Golden State Warriors could “significantly raise their chances of keeping” Paul past this season if they also sign center Tyson Chandler.  For Wojnarowski and the rumor loving NBA twitterati it is business as usual.  They’re eating it up because this is just the type of “action” that they’ve been missing since the league was locked out.

Vince McMahon would be so proud.  Everyone thinks he is in the wrestling business, but so little of his hours and hours of programming is actual action taking place in the squared circle.  Yes, sometimes the fans are blown away by a “Hell in the Cell,” “Loser Leaves Town,” or “Ladder” match that sets the world on fire because it is such a spectacle, but without behind the scenes drama and serious mic time, there’s no way The Rock would have an acting career in Hollywood today.  Really, that was the only way for wrestling to go once the illusion of competition was dashed by the name “Sports Entertainment.”

The NBA relies on this non-action type of action as well.  Over the last decade the NBA has placed more and more emphasis on the off-season, trade deadlines and draft.  I’ll admit I’ve played with ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine too.  It culminated in this lockout which was supposed to be at least partially about competitive balance. To me, that meant doing away with some of the wilder and more brash kinds of player movement.  Say, the kind where a superstar player holds the league hostage by demanding a trade and then placing additional demands for the promise that he might just sign a long-term deal for the team that is willing to pay the price to bring him in. [Read more...]

Cleveland Cavaliers Not an Example of What Not To Do

This hasn’t been the easiest time of the year for fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers. After enjoying a fun, and disappointing, run of 5 years in the playoffs (but really, it was mostly fun), fans of the wine and gold are forced to sit on the sidelines and watch other teams partake in the chase for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

It’s been a tough transition, going from being inside the action to having to just live vicariously through other newspapers and basketball blogs. Fans seemingly have come up with various ways to cope with this transition. Some have taken to vigorously rooting against certain teams and/or a certain player, while others have chose to ignore the playoffs altogether.

I wish it was that easy for me. Of course with a lifetime of heartbreak and disappointment on my sports fan resume, I sometimes find myself wishing I could turn off the ‘sports fan’ switch in my brain altogether. But just as I can’t suddenly stop being a Cleveland sports fan, I can’t suddenly stop caring about the NBA playoffs either. [Read more...]

Chris Paul Suffers Concussion, but Cavs Still Fall to Hornets, 96-81

Through the month of February, the Cleveland Cavaliers were ranked third in all of the NBA in assists with 24.4 dimes per game.  A product of ball-movement and execution, the Wine and Gold are frequently reminded pregame to play selfless basketball. After all, the Princeton offense is predicated upon such an ideal.

But in Sunday night’s 96-81 loss to Byron Scott’s former team, Scott felt that his team played one of their worst offensive games of the season.

“For the first time in a while and I told this to the guys the exact same way, I thought we played selfish basketball,” Scott said following the loss. “Offensively, I did not think we shared the ball like we shared it in New York and against a good defensive basketball team, you have to do the extra little things, make the extra passes and things like that, and I do not think we did that tonight. I thought we just played selfish ball and lost the game.”

[Read more...]

NBA’s Potential Talent Shift is Worthy of the Cavaliers’ Attention

It’s not even the All-Star break yet in the NBA. I’m not sure what exactly a fair expectation would have been for the Cleveland Cavaliers at this point in the season, but “full on rebuild” is something few people thought would set in so soon for this franchise.

Yet, as we mercifully draw ever closer to the end of the brutal December/January schedules and into the slightly more friendly February/March schedules, the discourse surrounding this team centers on one topic and one topic only, rebuilding. Some may have been hoping for talk of trade exceptions and playoff runs, but that scenario turned out to be a mere pipe dream. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… LRMR and CP3, D’Qwell’s Timetable, and 32 Great Receivers

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

“Did the Hornets make [the Darren Collison trade] because Paul has given them reason to believe he won’t demand a trade/bolt after his contract is up, or did they make the move in an attempt to convince him to stay? And isn’t that the relevant question (that nobody has really been asking) with regards to Gilbert/LeBron? If you want to make things even more interesting on that front, consider that the Hornets now have Trevor Ariza, whom LeBron allegedly wouldn’t give an “I’m staying in Cleveland after 2010″ guarantee to last off-season.

If this is the Hornets trying to pressure/guilt the franchise into giving them a commitment, shouldn’t the fact that LRMR manages Paul and LeBron is CP3’s best friend give them some pause on that front?” [Cavs the Blog]

[Read more...]