July 28, 2014

Mike Miller signing and some Dion Waiters thoughts

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Does this look like ‘bench’ material to you?

The Cleveland Cavaliers reached a deal with veteran sharpshooter Mike Miller, reportedly being ready to sign the 14-year veteran to a two year deal worth around $5.4 million, including a player option for the second year. Miller is a favorite of homeward-bound Cavalier LeBron James (yes, that was as fun to write as it probably is to read) and he, by all indications, chose the Cavaliers over more lucrative offers from the Denver Nuggets and possibly Houston and Dallas. According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, Miller had a longer-term, higher-paying offer of around three years for a total of $12 million from Denver. But he followed LeBron’s decision by wanting to play in Cleveland. For less money.1

Now it isn’t as if Mike Miller is hurting to feed his family, as Latrell Spreewell once proclaimed after being offered a $30 million extension from the Timberwolves that he felt was below his value. Miller, according to Hoopshype, has made just under $76 million in his 14-year NBA career. But due to his age, this could be Miller’s last shot at a long-term deal. You could be asking yourself, “Who is this guy and why is he writing about a deal that is yesterday’s news?” We’ll get to me later, but the answer to the latter half? Because he chose to come to Cleveland so he could play alongside the best player in the world and possibly compete for additional championships, that’s why. Why is this all significant? Because Miller wanted to come to Cleveland! No, he isn’t a game-changing player—although he will really help spread the floor with his dead-eye three-point shooting. Players want to play with LeBron and Miller’s signing demonstrated this. Hopefully this is just the first of many veterans that choose to come to Cleveland in order to win big and play with LeBron.

[Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Yes, the deal in Cleveland doesn’t include a third year so the actual comparison to the Denver offer has to be looked at in the prism of Miller and his possible contract two years from now, because he will most likely be getting paid something after his two-year Cavalier deal. But by that time Miller will be 37 and it would be surprising if he could still get close to that $4 million that Denver would’ve still been paying him. So for arguments sake, let’s say Miller will be playing for the veteran minimum of about $1.5 million two years from now. That means he would’ve taken about $5 million less over three years to come to Cleveland. That is quite significant. []

Dion Waiters added to US Men’s Select Team

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Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters is one of 13 NBA players named to USA Basketball’s Men’s Select Team. The Select Team is essentially a practice squad for the Men’s National Team. Kyrie Irving was on the Men’s Select Team prior to the last Olympics.

“USA Basketball’s Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team managing director.

Both the National team and the Select Team will train in Las Vegas July 28-31, in preparation for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

In addition to Waiters, the Men’s Select Team is comprised of Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Trey Burke (Utah Jazz), Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks), Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic), Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls), Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic), Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets), Miles Plumlee (Phoenix Suns), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics) and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets)

Kyrie Irving is the lone Cavalier on the Men’s National Team this year. LeBron James will not be participating in the FIBA tournament.

[Related: Whitlock says Canadian players "don't want it as much"]

 

WFNY Roundtable: Should the Cavs trade for Kevin Love?

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And you thought that the Cleveland Cavaliers were done with lightning-rod debates for the summer? No, my friend, they are just getting started.

During the four days since LeBron James’ letter, Twitter has been on fire with all sorts of takes on the potential for a trade for Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love. To get a sense of where we all stand, I asked my Waiting For Next Year colleagues for their brief responses to the current rumors. Stay tuned for more posts to come soon and share your thoughts in the comments.

Scott Sargent (@WFNYScott): This won’t make for great debate, but I somewhat feel that the Cavaliers—especially David Griffin—will be in a no-lose situation. The decision, reduced to its most simplest terms, comes down to winning more games sooner, or delaying potential dominance, but with the window open a bit longer. [Read more...]

Dion Waiters is tremendous fun on Twitter

Dion Waiters, oft-criticized Cleveland Cavaliers guard, is on Twitter. A lot. He’ll stay up late at night retweeting his fans and admirers, sharing photoshops and pictures of them wearing his gear.

Over the past few days since LeBron James’ announcement, Waiters has been particularly excitable on Twitter. Below are a collection of some of my recent favorites. Here he is, a 22-year-old shooting down trade rumors and cementing his spot in the team’s starting lineup all in front of his 100K-plus followers. He’s a fan favorite for a reason.

Andrew Wiggins as a 2-guard and other areas of concern – WFNY Roundtable

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One of the best qualities of Waiting For Next Year is the diverse interests of our many writers. After the draft, I asked two of my WFNY colleagues for their take on Andrew Wiggins and his key areas of highlight/criticism going forward. Enjoy.

Jacob: All three of us wrote about Wiggins. Kirk, in your film room series. Joe, in your position rankings. Me, in my analytics review. Obviously, I’m the token analytics guy and you two are in more of the traditional scouting realm. It’s a great combination. So I thought it’d be fun to ask you some questions that remain on my mind. [Read more...]

Cavs land Andrew Wiggins, #CavsTwitter, USMNT and Jeremy Enigk… While We’re Waiting

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It’s my day so that means it’s Friday. It was a fun sports week guys, so let’s go!

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First of all HUGE shoutout to #CavsTwitter who put up with me last night at the draft party. I’m more a part of #BrownsTwitter but it was fun to hang with all the folks I knew going in and meet some new ones. There were too many people there to name, but I’ll let @WFNYBen do the honors for a few of the notables that fit in the initial 140 characters…

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So the Cavs drafted Andrew Wiggins and while I admittedly don’t know a lot, I’m happy today. It’s the first time in a while where we weren’t shocked by the Cavaliers’ selection. The Cavaliers have been surprising me with picks basically since after Kyrie Irving was selected. The smell wafting off the Cavaliers has been one of eccentricity or arrogance that they just knew better than everyone else. That’s pretty difficult to pull off way up at the top of the draft where the Cavs have been drafting for so long.

With that in mind, it’s very satisfying to think that the Cavaliers didn’t overthink the number one pick in the draft. It should be pretty easy to figure out who you want first, foremost and before anyone else’s plans are capable of getting in your way. I know you can still get it wrong and it’s easy to get paralyzed at times with big decisions, but that’s why you have big organizations of well-paid professionals. The Cavaliers came off like those kinds of professionals as opposed to trying too hard. After the most recent drafts, at least from an outsider, fan perspective to me that’s a good thing.

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I’m still glowing from the USMNT advancing to the knock-out stage of the World Cup. The USMNT did that in 2010 too when they were knocked out by Ghana 2-1 in the opening match of that stage. That was a big let-down in 2010 for me, but this year it seemed like such a bonus to escape the “Group of Death.” Now that the United States has drawn Belgium, my hope is that this team will actually start to play a little bit looser than they have so far. My goodness have they looked tight.

That’s part of playing in a tournament that isn’t single elimination though, I think. The team is interested in winning, of course, but it’s also a style of play that requires more situational awareness and game management. If you’re going to lose your opening game, for example, you need to pay attention to goal differential. A tie is not only possible, but not necessarily a bad outcome depending on the team you’re playing and who you’ve got upcoming in the rest of the group.

On Tuesday in the knock-out round that’s all over. Win or go home. Play smart, but don’t leave anything on the field because you might have to leave it there for the next four years until you get a chance to play again. As I said, the USMNT has seemed tentative and tight, so I’m hoping that making it out of the group is a relief and they really let their best play out. I truly think they can play better than what they’ve shown in any of the first three games of this World Cup. I hope we see the best of what they can be before they’re sent home.

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This is cool A guy charted out all the goals scored in the World Cup so far. I believe Jermaine Jones’ nice shot against Portugal was the seventh longest goal of the Cup so far.

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I didn’t have a great current music recommendation, so I thought I’d spotlight an amazing song that nobody knows about. Jeremy Enigk is one of my favorite songwriters. He was the singer from Sunny Day Real Estate and has carved out a nice solo career too. He did some songs for a relatively small film from 2003 called The United States of Leland. It starred Ryan Gosling and Kevin Spacey and Don Cheadle, but it was really a film that was independent in spirit. Anyway, Enigk wrote some songs that were in the film and were unavailable for purchase anywhere. I scored a promo copy of the film soundtrack including “Ballroom” somehow on eBay back in those days. Now, thanks to the magic of the Internet and YouTube that song is freely available for anyone to listen to. It’s really really beautiful and intense.

Sorry to end on a downer, but I just love that song so much and wanted to listen to it as I was writing my WWW. So that’s what you get. And as my son so eloquently repeats from his daycare school teachers to his daddy, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

The Huh Continues: The NBA Draft, Kevin Love and the Quest for LeBron

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NO PRESSURE

The NBA draft is tonight.

It’s finally here. We made it. After months of speculation, the Cavs will actually draft someone with the first overall pick.

Or they’ll be the first team in two decades to trade the first pick.

You know, either or.

[Read more...]

The best CB tandem, coaching flowcharts and like father like daughter …While We’re Waiting

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Another week gone by and it is my turn in the rotation for www. Let’s kick things off with some Browns optimism.

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of NFL.com’s Adam Schein before. But if the Browns’ defense comes close to what he thinks it will be, I’ll be pretty happy. There is no doubt that the Browns upgraded at cornerback in the offseason, and as much as I respect D’Qwell Jackson as a person, I think Karlos Dansby will be a bit of an upgrade in the middle. I’m not sure that Pettine will turn Paul Kruger into the sack specialist that Schein thinks he will be, but I’d love to be wrong.

This line was interesting to me- “And it should surprise nobody that Pettine plucked Justin Gilbert, the elite corner in the 2014 draft class, with his first selection as Browns coach. I think Cleveland could have the best cornerback combo in the NFL this year. Seriously.”

The best CB combo in the NFL this year? Sign me up for that one. I’m in. Take it. A definite defensive identity? Take that as well. I love me some great defense. The video in that piece is just kind of a silly Q&A with Joe Haden, but has an interesting factoid or two.

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The amount of truth in this statement by ESPN’s Chad Ford may be an overlooked part of why Mike Brown was fired after just one year-

“Just because Griffin wants to take Embiid No. 1 doesn’t mean he’ll get his wish. Two years ago, Gilbert and head coach Byron Scott overruled Grant on draft night and selected Dion Waiters over Grant’s choice, Harrison Barnes. Last year, it was Mike Brown who helped push Bennett to the top of the Cavs’ draft board.”

Here’s the deal, we know that Mike Brown watched a lot of Bennett while he was out west and Bennett played for UNLV. We were told by Chris Grant last year that Mike Brown had seen him play a lot and really liked what he could do. If Bennett was more Brown’s pick than anyone else, AND he failed to coach him to an acceptable level of play for a first rounder, let alone the top pick overall….

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My tweet of the night comes from one of my favorite musicians David Crowder. He was answering some questions from fans when he got this Harry Potter related question and gave his response. If you aren’t familiar with the series, well just move on to the next item.

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I’m a father who has only a daughter. As such, I can relate to this story even if I’m not a major league ball player. Kudos to Marla Ridenour for this one. And honestly, I can’t believe it took this long for someone to think of this.

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We’ve heard about coaching trees before, but a coaching flowchart? Only four steps to go from Naismith to Popovich? Well, makes sense why his team is fundamentally sound I guess.

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alhambraI will end with another mini-game review. The latest added to the collection is a game called Alhambra. It is a game that we’ve had our eye on as a family for a while now, but just never pulled the trigger. I’m glad we did.

In Alhambra, you are adding buildings and gardens to your palace/complex/Alhambra. (Hence the name.) You collect different currencies in order to pay for these buildings, as each builder wants to be paid in their native currency. Once the group has the hang of the different types of things you can do on your turn, it moves pretty quick.

It has an element of luck to it, but it is also very strategic and somewhat puzzle-y. The game is for 2-8 players, and is one of the rare games that actually works well with two players. A lot of games designed for more than two are kind of awful to play with just a pair, but this one works. It works well with 3 or 4 as well. Haven’t played or watched with more than that many yet.

It is designed for ages 8 and up. I think that is a good age limit. Obviously the more a child can handle some abstract thinking , the better off they will likely be.

If you have a family and like some of the more family friendly games I’ve suggested before, I think you’ll like Alhambra as well.

Statistical observations following another non-playoffs Cavs season

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers

Remember how much fun the playoffs were? From 2005-2010, spring time basketball in Cleveland was fun and exciting. If you recall, there were chants of “Eric Snow for MVP” one year – perhaps my favorite sports memory ever – and that’s how in love we once were with playoff basketball.

If the past few days of amazing back-and-forth games showed me anything, it’s that as a fan, I yearn to be back in that position again soon. Very soon.

As a stats-minded individual, I also know that the Cavaliers haven’t had it that bad … yet. Missing the playoffs four straight seasons isn’t that rare in the NBA. Several teams are on longer droughts currently. Heck, imagine how difficult life would be out in the Western Conference.

Continuing with that stats-centric hat, here are six observations I’ve been mulling over from the conclusion of this funky #seasonofhuh. Before we get started, go check out the pieces from my WFNY colleagues Ben Cox and Andrew Schnitkey so far. Both were outstanding.

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Dion Waiters is Waiting For Next Year

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In his exit interview with the local media on Thursday morning, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters discussed the offseason and what the team’s goals are over the next 12 months.

“I’ve never been to the playoffs,” said Waiters. “I’m very hungry. It’s why I play every game like it’s my last. Hopefully one day—next year. Next year, reaching the playoffs—that should be everyone’s main goal. I already know what it’s like, just by the jersey retirement for [Zydrunas Ilgauskas], how the fans were. So, just imagine the playoffs.

“We all have to come in with one mindset. We can’t worry about individual goals, individual accolades. It has to be a team thing, a team mind set, and everything else will take care of itself. That’s the biggest thing.”

Waiters plans on spending the next several weeks with his son before getting back to the grind. Several players on the Cavaliers—including Waiters, in efforts led by Jarrett Jack—have plans to watch NBA playoff games from the stands over the coming weeks as a means to get a taste for the atmosphere and energy that comes with making the postseason. “I want to see how teams win,” said Waiters.

2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers and the #seasonofhuh – WFNY Podcast – 2014-04-17

WFNY Podcast LogoI got Ben Cox to come on the podcast to discuss the 2014 Cleveland Cavaliers. He dubbed it the season of huh.

From the Cavaliers drafting Anthony Bennett, to hiring Mike Brown, to firing Chris Grant to Matthew Dellevedova being the Cavs’ best rookie this year.

It was one for the ages.

Make sure you go read Ben’s post at WFNY on the topic.

Check out this episode!

Kyrie and Dion love-fest and keeping the Wahoo narrative alive: While We’re Waiting

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The dumbest press conference ever? – Have you ever seen a press conference where teammates had to stand before the media to tell everyone how good of friends they are? I certainly hadn’t….prior to yesterday:

How would Irving describe his relationship with Waiters?

“Honestly, off the court and on the court, we’re the best of friends,” he said. “So when we come on the court, we’re just going to play basketball like we’ve been doing the past few games and our focus is on winning right now.”

Added Waiters, “On behalf of [Irving], myself, I just think we’ve been in so much media this year, and it’s not fair to either of us.

“I just think, man, throughout this whole year with us two not liking each other, it’s total BS. We’ve been friends before we even made the NBA, before any of this. I just think y’all saying we don’t like playing with one another …

“Yeah, we still need to learn certain things. But I think at the end of the day, we’re genuinely friends. I love him as a friend, teammate, everything. I just want everybody to know that. I don’t hate this guy. I’m pretty sure he don’t hate me. I know he don’t hate me. I hope he don’t hate me. Rome wasn’t built in one day. We’re still young. We’re still planning to stay together. We’re still working. As long as we’ve got great communication down, it’s fine.”

[Read more...]

Photos: Waiters, Dellavedova and Hawes take in an Indians game

Three members of the Cleveland Cavaliers took in an Indians game together on Sunday afternoon. PG Matthew Dellavedova, SG Dion Waiters and C Spencer Hawes sat on the third baseline and enjoyed the game. For the record, Hawes was not afraid to wear Wahoo.

Hawes tweeted a different shot.

The drama continues: Kyrie Irving calls out Josh Gordon

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The drama permeating from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room has officially transcended over to Berea. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has shot back at Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon for comments the NFL receiving yards leader made about the Wine and Gold. From Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

“Guys like Josh Gordon need to stay in his sport and mind his own business. Does he still play for the Browns? I’ll continue to root for the Browns, but in terms of this stuff here, what goes on in this locker room, he needs to stay out of it.”

Earlier this week, Gordon, speaking in an ESPN interview, said “I talked about it with Dion [Waiters]. He’s my neighbor in my building so we hang out all the time. I’m aware of the rift in the locker room. That’s just alpha males and supreme athletes trying to share the spotlight.”

In a move that isn’t likely to do much for his Q Score amongst Cleveland fans, the receiver already responded to Irving’s declaration, doing so via Instagram.

In his attempt to stay out of the middle of a war of words between two of Cleveland’s most popular athletes, Waiters said that “[Gordon] can’t put words in my mouth. That’s his opinion. That’s what he thinks. I can’t stop a man from saying that. That’s what he thinks.”

While Irving’s “does he still play” comment is a bit empty given Gordon’s recent barrage of national media attention, the message is very clear: Gordon should be staying in his lane. As if Cleveland’s trench of sports-related issues wasn’t deep enough…

Silver lining: At least Kyrie Irving roots for the Browns.

Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY

Cavs vs Magic Behind the Box Score: Signs of a fun April?

AP Photo/John Raoux

AP Photo/John Raoux

Talk about a boring game. But boring in the best way ever.

The Cavaliers were ready to play from the start in this one, and they never let up as they absolutely crushed the Magic by a 119-98 score. This one had a little bit of everything and everyone. Kyrie Irving came back and played well, Dion Waiters just kept doing what he’s been doing, Spencer Hawes had his best game in a while, and Tristan Thompson had a double-double. So yeah, it was a good game.

With every win the Cavaliers continue to keep the playoff hunt interesting. The Knicks and Hawks are virtually tied for the 8 seed, with the Cavs lingering just two games back. The Cavs’ chances would be a lot better if they were only chasing one team instead of two of them, but still, with six games left to play, this thing isn’t over yet.

Now lets look at a few numbers… [Read more...]

Video: Dion’s buzzer beater NBA’s play of the week

On Wednesday, Dion Waiters comepleted the Cavaliers’ improbable comeback with a last second shot to beat the Pistons in Detroit. The play was Dion’s first game winner and earned him the top spot in the NBA’s top ten plays for the week.

 

Cavs vs Pistons Behind the Box Score: A game-winner for Dion

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The Cavaliers were on the road, playing the second night of a back-to-back. For the first three quarters the team more or less played like it. The Cavaliers fell down by 16 points and it looked like that would pretty much be it.

But the Cavaliers got a surprise offensive explosion from Matthew Dellavedova, Anderson Varejao was his old rebounding-machine self, and Jarrett Jack had an enormous fourth quarter to lead the Cavaliers back to within striking distance.

The Cavs got a couple huge stops in the final minutes setting up the finale. With the Cavs down four, Jack converted an and-one to bring the Cavs within one with 53 seconds left. After tough defense forced a bad Josh Smith shot, the ball went out of bounds off Delly’s hands, giving the Pistons the ball with 28.5 seconds left. Rather than fouling, Mike Brown chose to trust his defense and Brandon Jennings missed an off balance jumper. Luol Deng grabbed the rebound and the Cavs called a timeout with 3.2 seconds remaining. That set up the real fun stuff.

Once again the Cavaliers found themselves in a critical inbound situation. After the initial Cavs timeout, the Pistons used two consecutive timeouts in a bit of gamesmanship. Then Luol Deng once again couldn’t find anyone open and had to use a timeout of his own to avoid the 5-second call. On their second try, Deng found Dion Waiters cutting to the corner. Dion took a quick dribble, stepped to his left and pulled up for a 19-foot jumper. And he drilled it. The Cavaliers erupted in joy and this team pulled off one of the more improbable victories of the season.

Now lets look at some numbers: [Read more...]

Cavs vs Raptors Behind the Box Score: One ugly way to win a game

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

The Cavaliers started out playing great basketball on both ends of the court. In the 3rd quarter they extended the lead to 18 points at 81-63. Then they turned the offense switch to the “Off” position, and with with just under 7 minutes remaining in the game, Greivis Vasquez hit a three point shot to put the Raptors up 95-94.

The Cavaliers would quickly take the lead back and would lead the rest of the way, but it took a little luck down the stretch. The Raptors missed a couple good looks and the Cavaliers held a three point lead with 12 seconds left. DeMar DeRozan then drove and was fouled by Alonzo Gee. DeRozan only made one of his two free throws and after a Cleveland timeout, the Cavaliers were inbounding at midcourt with 7 seconds left.

This is where the Cavaliers’ inbounding issues would strike yet again. First Luol Deng was handed inbounding duties, and when nobody was able to get open, he called a timeout. Then Varejao was given the job of inbounding, and once again with nothing really developing, he tried to throw it in to Deng along the baseline, but the ball sailed out of bounds. It looked like the refs missed a foul on the play, but regardless, its embarrassing that the Cavaliers still can’t operate an inbound play in late game situations.

Thankfully, though, the Raptors decided to return the favor with a bad turnover of their own on their last possession and the Cavaliers hung on for the 102-100 win over a playoff team in the East. The Cavaliers continue to play hard without Kyrie Irving, CJ Miles, or Anthony Bennett, it’s just a shame it’s happening now that the playoffs are but a minute possibility.

Now lets get into the numbers: [Read more...]

Has Dion Waiters (finally) arrived?

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After a season rife with rumors of trades and fistfights, is this—finally—Dion Waiters’ coming out party?

Dion Waiters stood outside of his locker, squinted his eyes and shook his head as a half-smile-half-grimace formed on his face. It was early January, just days after the calendar turned to 2014. The Cleveland Cavaliers had just lost a heartbreaker to the Indiana Pacers, contenders for the NBA title, and he came pretty damn close to pulling off a miracle that would have propelled his name even further up the ranks in the minds of Cavalier fans. The Cavs were playing in their third game without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving who had fallen victim to a bruised knee. In Irving’s absence, Cavs head coach Mike Brown opted to go with Matthew Dellavedova at point guard, an undrafted rookie out of St. Mary’s who had grown a bit of a cult following due to his never-ending hustle, rather than Waiters, who was drafted fourth-overall just a year earlier. [Read more...]

LaQuinton Ross going NBA, Sixers keep losing, and Community: While We’re Waiting

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I’m currently writing this while fighting a fever, so this will probably be a little shorter WWW than I normally write, so please bear with me….

LaQuinton Ross going pro? I heard whispers all season long that Ohio State junior forward LaQuinton Ross would be heading to the NBA after this season. I never really believed it. I believed he wanted to, but I didn’t he was good enough to actually do it.

Well, I don’t know if I was right or wrong on whether he’s an NBA player, but he evidently really is entering the draft. I don’t really get it. I understood why Deshaun Thomas went pro last year. He had probably peaked as a scorer and he was getting in a shallow draft while avoiding this year’s supposedly loaded draft. But Ross lacks the consistency that Thomas showed and he’s entering what some consider to be one of the better draft classes in recent memory. I hope it works out for him, but I really don’t get it at all. [Read more...]