April 23, 2014

Good riddance, Cavs season: While We’re Waiting

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Yet another uninspired crawl to the finish. We shouldn’t be surprised. This isn’t unique to the Cavaliers, necessarily. Teams in April playoff chases who get eliminated often coast to the end of the season. But just because it’s not surprising, it doesn’t make the end of this Cavaliers season any less disappointing. Above all else, that’s the word that defines this season more than any other. Disappointing. With a little frustration on the side.

This season couldn’t have been set up any better for the Cavaliers. For the first time in NBA history, the Lakers, Celtics, and Knicks all missed the playoffs. The Eastern Conference was historically bad. And yet even in this environment the Cavaliers couldn’t make the playoffs. They weren’t even all that close. With one game left to play the Cavaliers are 5.5 games out of the 8 seed. An 8 seed with a losing record. Six games under .500, to be exact. It demonstrates just how firmly entrenched at the kids’ table this team really is. [Read more...]

WFNY Roundtable – Preliminary thoughts on the NFL Draft

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The NFL Draft is (not so quickly) approaching, and today we decided to see where everyone’s head is currently at with respect to the Browns’ draft possibilities. Check out the conversation below: [Read more...]

Kyrie’s injury, Browns draft thoughts, and The War on Drugs: While We’re Waiting

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Kyrie Irving out at least two weeks. It’s that time of year. The season is down to the final month, the Cavaliers are slipping out of playoff position, and the injuries are piling up. The latest victim is Kyrie Irving, who left Sunday night’s game with an injured bicep. After an MRI revealed a strain in the long head tendon of his left bicep, Kyrie has been ruled out at least two weeks.

It could very well be more than that, though. The two week period is merely the rest period. After that, he will be “re-evaluated” and then the Cavaliers will decide how to proceed. Without Irving over these next two weeks, an already difficult schedule looks insurmountable. If the Cavaliers are out of the playoff hunt and chasing the bottom of the lottery, it makes you wonder if they would just hold him out for the rest of the season. We’ll see.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how the Cavaliers respond to Kyrie being out. Many Cavs fans have been anti-Kyrie all season long, placing the majority of the blame for this season on his shoulders. If there’s truth to that, will the Cavaliers play better without Kyrie? Will Dion Waiters step up to fill the scoring void that Kyrie is leaving behind? If nothing else, these next two weeks will be interesting from that standpoint, just to see what affect Kyrie’s absence has on the team and whether its a positive or a negative.  [Read more...]

The Browns shouldn’t put too much stock in Brian Hoyer

105-20130726-0178_600Part of the Browns’ off-season has obviously been a debate over what priority the Browns should place on which positions.1 Some fans prefer that the Browns draft a quarterback no matter what. Some fans prefer standout wide receiver Sammy Watkins who showed off his skills against the (mostly) popular Ohio State Buckeyes in the Orange Bowl. There are more still that don’t name a specific player but insist on the Browns taking the best player available at all times. I largely stand with this last crowd, but I also recognize a clear and obvious premium that must be placed on the quarterback position in the NFL. With that in mind, while I don’t have any kind of mandate in mind that I want to try and artificially put on the Browns, I can’t help but think the Browns would be wise to hedge against the wild fantasies about Brian Hoyer proving to be a franchise quarterback.

There are enough examples in history that make our dreams of Hoyer becoming the next Kurt Warner legitimate enough. Could it happen? Of course it could. But there’s at least equal chance that Hoyer won’t become the next Tony Romo.2 He could just as easily be Kelly Holcomb. In many of Holcomb’s 24 career NFL starts, someone thought they’d have a chance to win with Holcomb. In those 24 starts, Holcomb went 8-16, including his 4-8 mark with your Cleveland Browns. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Opening sentences to Browns posts feel like massive understatements lately. []
  2. Some of you might argue that Romo isn’t good enough either, I bet. []

Sports Illustrated redrafts the 2013 NBA Lottery

Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

With the All-Star break fast approaching Rob Mahoney of the Point Forward on SI.com took a look back at the 2013 NBA draft and redrafted based on what we’ve seen so far this season.

Not surprisingly in Mahoney’s redraft the Cavaliers decided to go a different direction than much maligned Anthony Bennett, opting instead for a player many casual NBA fans are not familiar with. Mahoney doesn’t have Chris Grant selecting Victor Oladipo, Michael Carter-Williams, or Nerlens Noel with the top slot, but instead has the Cavs’ GM going with young and long Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo was selected by Milwaukee with the 15th pick in last year’s draft and has been a rare bright spot for the cellar dwelling Bucks.

Here’s what Mahoney had to say regarding Cleveland’s re-do at the top spot. [Read more...]

Are the Cavaliers on the verge of making a huge mistake?

Charlie DeBoyace/The Diamondback

Charlie DeBoyace/The Diamondback

As the Cavaliers close in on draft night, now just two nights away, it seems options are narrowing. As they should. When you have the No. 1 pick, you have the luxury of not having to do near as much contingency planning. You control your own destiny, so as draft night approaches, you should more or less have a pretty good idea what you are going to do.

As with any draft, all media speculation should be taken with as much caution as possible. I’ve written about this plenty before, but when it comes to the NFL and NBA draft, front offices love to leak information that sometimes isn’t 100 percent accurate. This is why we seemingly have contradicting reports of Nerlens Noel vs Alex Len. A lot of it depends on where the info is coming from, and why these sources want to leak this information in the first place.

But is there really a chance the Cavaliers will take Alex Len with the #1 overall pick? And if so, would it be one of the biggest mistakes this franchise could make? [Read more...]

NBA Draft News: Russian Sergey Karasev not holding workouts for NBA teams

Yesterday ESPN’s Chad Ford released his NBA Mock Draft 4.0. In it, he had the Cleveland Cavaliers drafting Nerlens Noel with the #1 overall pick. For the Cavaliers’ 2nd first-round pick at #19 overall, he had the Cavaliers looking to Russia for their pick, in the form of the 19 year old international sensation Sergey Karasev, writing:

If the Cavs grab Noel at No. 1, look for them to add a small forward or shooter with their second first-round pick. Karasev is interesting. His performance in Vegas on Friday wasn’t stellar thanks to some jet lag, but scouts are very high on him at the moment.

He has the size to play both wing positions, is a terrific shooter, has a high basketball IQ, and at 19, already has significant professional experience averaging 18.4 PPG in the Russian League. A few scouts compare him to smaller version of Toni Kukoc. Karasev could go as high at No. 9 to the Wolves but would be a great get here by the Cavs.

While a lot of teams are rumored to have serious interest in Karasev, the expectation was that he would be making the rounds and holding private workouts with many of the interested teams. However, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowksi is now reporting that Karasev is going back to Russia and will not return for workouts with any team prior to the draft:

Sergey Karasev has returned to Moscow until the NBA draft in late June, fueling speculation among front-office executives that a team has given the Russian teen star a strong first-round guarantee, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Karasev’s representatives, Andy Miller and Justin Zanik, began to inform teams on Tuesday that Karasev, a sharp-shooting 6-foot-7 forward, will not be made available for any private workouts prior to the June 27 draft, league sources said.

Most NBA teams wanted to get Karasev into their facilities for closer inspection, but none will get the opportunity.

So are the Cavaliers the team who gave the guarantee? There are no indications who the team is that gave Karasev the guarantee, and certainly no clues or signs that point to Cleveland. However, using history as a guide, a move like this wouldn’t be out of character for the Cavaliers.

Cavalier GM Chris Grant was on Danny Ferry’s staff back in 2006 when Ferry masterfully got Daniel Gibson to cancel workouts in an effort to get him to slide to the team with their first pick in the 2nd round. Mike Brown was also the coach at the time, so the team certainly has experience using the pre-draft guarantee to try to get what they want. Furthermore, we know that Chris Grant is comfortable drafting players without holding workouts for them. Last season he drafted Dion Waiters despite the fact the Cavaliers never once had Dion in for workouts.

None of this is to say the Cavaliers are the team who is trying to get Karasev. Instead, this is just pointing out that it falls within their method of operations, and so they certainly have to be considered as one of the teams who would more realistically be inclined to make this kind of move. We’ll have to wait until draft night to see how everything plays out.

[Related: DeMarcus Cousins rumors fading, so what's next for Cavs?]

Report: Otto Porter under consideration for first pick

While we now know the Cavaliers have the top pick in this year’s draft, we still have to wait until June 27 to find out what they do with the pick. While most pundits and analysts have Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel circled in as the pick, we know from experience that Cleveland Cavaliers GM Chris Grant doesn’t make his picks based on what the “consensus” says is the right move.

With that being said, and with so many options in front of the Cavaliers, expect to hear a lot of rumors about different scenarios, trades, players, etc being considered with the first pick. So it’s not surprising then that the Washington Post’s Michael Lee is hearing Otto Porter’s name being brought up:

Porter is currently preparing for the June 27 NBA draft at McDonough gym at Georgetown and will likely work out for the top three or four teams in the lottery. At 6-feet-8 and with a 7-1 wingspan, Porter stands out as an obvious choice at No. 3 for Washington. He would fill a need small forward, has local ties and a skill set that would mesh well with Wall and Beal.

But there is a possibility that Porter, arguably the most NBA-ready player among the top prospects, might not be around when the Wizards pick third. A source with knowledge of the Cavaliers’ thinking said Porter is under consideration to go No. 1.

We all know the Cavaliers want to trade this pick if possible. They also know Washington wants Porter. So it makes sense to float Porter’s name out there as the guy you want to pick. Ideally this would motivate teams to want to make trades to position themselves better to get the player they want. So yes, Otto Porter is “under consideration” with the top pick. Along with a lot of other players.

[Related: Dan and Nick Gilbert continue to defy the odds]

For the Cavaliers, #1 Pick is All About Options and Opportunities

draft-lottery-2013Yesterday, as WFNY’s Scott Sargent was announcing his trial separation with the NBA Draft Lottery, I found myself nodding along in agreement as I consumed every word of it. Scott is exactly right. The Draft Lottery is the worst. It was kind of fun the first couple years, dreaming of top picks and thinking about potential. In previous years I’ve spent countless hours playing the lottery machine, reading about the top 2 or 3 prospects, and dreaming of what winning the top spot would mean for the team.

But the more time you spend wallowing in the murkiness of luck, lethargy, and the tantalizing siren song of the NBA Draft Lottery, the more you realize it’s not a scene you really want to be a part of. As much as I love seeing Nick Gilbert proudly represent the city of Cleveland and the Cavaliers franchise, I’d be perfectly content if I don’t see him on TV again until it’s on a podium holding a trophy.

And thus, shortly after Nick Gilbert told the national audience that he, too, was tired of being there, the Cavaliers won the #1 pick in the draft. And in doing so, the Cavaliers opened the door to a world of options and opportunities. The team may or may not be in the lottery again next year, but you have to believe that at worst Nick Gilbert will be sitting in the top row instead of his usual front-left spot on the stage. [Read more...]

2013 NFL Draft – “Did the Browns win or lose?” with Scott Raab – WFNY Podcast – 2013-04-29

WFNY Podcast LogoScott Raab wasn’t enthused this morning after the Browns’ draft. Craig is cautiously optimistic about the value and strategy. Both finish by saying, “We’ll see.”

  • The Browns’ strategy and value
  • Scott’s dismayed by the Browns draft
  • Attacking the quarterback vs. filling defensive backfield
  • Are the corners really too short?
  • 20+ players are going into their second year
  • 15+ third year players
  • Joe Banner and his credit for success
  • Should the Browns have traded their fourth rounder to the Steelers?
  • What are the Browns’ goals for wins in 2013
  • Re-hiring Mike Brown and Scott likes it
  • Doing due diligence on Phil Jackson
  • Mike Brown growing and changing
  • Halftime adjustments and getting better
  • Is Kyrie Irving going to learn how to play defense? [Read more...]

NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Select Barkevious Mingo

With the 6th pick in the NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Barkevious Mingo.

Mingo, a Junior Defensive End from LSU, is an impressive pass rusher who has been part of one of college football’s best defenses the last 3 seasons. With the Browns switching to a 3-4 defense they will hope Mingo can provide them the edge rush and consistent pressure the defense needs.

Here’s Mel Kiper’s profile on Mingo:

Production 3 2009: Redshirt 2010: (13/1) – 35-5.5-2.52011: (14/3)  36-15-8 2012: (13/10) – 38-8.5-4.5Career: 11 PBU, 4 FF, 3 FR
Height-Weight-Speed 1 Tall, linear frame with room to add bulk. Outstanding top-end speed for size. Ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, including a 1.59 10-yard split at the combine. Also turned in a 37-inch vertical jump, a 10’8′ broad jump, and a 6.72 three-cone drill (all of which first or second among DL at the combine).
Durability 1 Played in all 40 games (14 starts) during three seasons of eligibility at LSU. Flexible athlete.
Intangibles 2 Has matured from first year at LSU. Worked harder in classroom and weight room during final two years. No off the field issues to our knowledge. Nickname is KeKe. Dad is Hugh Mingo and mom is Barbara Johnson. Has four siblings: Hugh Mingo III, Hughtavious Mingo, Malik Johnson and LaDarian Johnson.
 
And here’s DraftBrowns.com’s Brendan Leister’s profile:
Overall, I am a big fan of Barkevious Mingo.  I didn’t have high expectations coming in, but I actually liked what I saw from him in 2012.  He simply wasn’t asked to put heat on the quarterback off the edge every play in LSU’s defense.  It seemed as though he was coached to be extremely aware every play and to take running backs out of the backfield and to give up on his rush early if it meant that he could knock down passes.  I cannot be certain that he was coached to do these things, but that was what I took away from watching a lot of his games.  Had Mingo been asked to come off the edge every play with reckless abandon as many pass rushers are asked to do, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have been a lot more productive from a statistical standpoint.  If Mingo can learn to consistently fire off the snap low on a consistent basis, he has a chance to develop into an elite pass rusher at the next level.

Banner Report: Defensive Backs

Banner Report ElevatedYou may remember back in 2010 (you know the last time there was a complete overhaul in Berea) we wanted to give incoming President Mike Holmgren a hand evaluating the roster. We are nothing if not equal opportunity. The Browns have a completely new group in charge this year. Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi, Rob Chudzinski, Norv Turner and Ray Horton take over a 5-11 team. They have plenty of important decisions to make about the roster between now and the 2013 NFL Draft. WFNY wants to offer our assistance with The Banner Position Reports. Previous reports: LB, QB, RB

In 2012, only 7 teams in the NFL allowed more passing yards than the Cleveland Browns. This came just one year after allowing just the 2nd fewest passing yards. So why the drastic change? A lot goes into raw passing yards allowed stats. It’s not just on the DBs, but it’s a combined effort between getting pressure on the QB, forcing opponents to be one dimensional in any way possible, and of course, defending opposing receivers.

The Browns have certainly been active the last couple years under Tom Heckert in trying to address the secondary, bringing in guys like Usama Young and Dimitri Patterson and drafting Buster Skrine, Trevin Wade, and Eric Hagg. The results have been somewhat mixed, but lets see if we can’t look a little more in depth at any potential issues with the Browns’ DBs. [Read more...]

Boeheim: Waiters “more ready for the NBA than any other guard I’ve ever had”

There are plenty of skeptics when it comes to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ selection of Dion Waiters with the 4th overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is not one of them. Despite a lot of anger and disappointment from Cavs fans, Boeheim told CBS New York’s Jon Rothstein that those fears are unfounded:

“He’s more ready for the NBA than any other guard I’ve ever had,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said of the 6-foot-4, 215 pound Waiters on Tuesday. “Nobody will be able to guard him one on one unless their last name is Westbrook. He’ll go by anyone he faces. Dion started out the draft process at 25 or 30 and has risen dramatically. It should come as no surprise, he’s got all the tools.”

Not that the list of Syracuse guards in the NBA is all that impressive1, but this is still high praise from a coach with whom Waiters had his share of run ins with in his two seasons at Syracuse.

Another underrated aspect of Waiters’ game is his NBA-ready frame. While some fans have expressed concern over Waiters’ height at the SG position, Boeheim feels his body type will be an asset at the next level:

“It’s huge,” Boeheim said in reference to Waiters’ physical attributes. “You look at some players in college and they’re good players but they’re not physically ready for the next level. That’s something that doesn’t affect Dion. He’s more than ready in that aspect and he’s also ready to play with other good players because he played at Syracuse. People sometimes say if you play at a lesser program and put up better numbers that it’s better for your chances in the NBA but that’s not the truth. In the NBA, you have be able to co-exist with other great players. Dion’s already done that.”

Boeheim may be a little biased when it comes to Waiters, but that doesn’t make him wrong. Despite Cleveland fans’ obvious let down factor over not getting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal, the fact remains that with those guys off the board, Waiters was arguably the next best wing player available to the Cavaliers. Several analysts and draft pundits have had nothing but good things to say about the Cavaliers’ pick of Dion Waiters. Jim Boeheim would agree with them.

[Related: 2012 NBA Draft: Cleveland Cavaliers Select Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse]

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Footnotes:

  1. no offense to Jonny Flynn []

NBA Draft Contest: Deuce Brand Cavaliers Watch Give-Away

The NBA Draft is upon us and once again our friends at Deuce Brand are teaming up with us to give away a watch. This time, in the spirit of the NBA draft, we will be giving away the Cavaliers style watch.

For those unfamiliar with Deuce, they produce sports watches that athletes can wear while working out. Not just athletes, but anyone participating in any kind of physical activity. The watches are sleek, comfortable, and functional for using when working out or running, while still being stylish enough to wear casually.  [Read more...]

OSU’s Jared Sullinger Not Invited to NBA Draft Green Room

This is not hyperbole right now. I’m not sure Ohio State has had a player with higher character than Jared Sullinger since Thad Matta took over. First round draft picks rarely need sympathy, nor to be hyped up, and it’s tough to feel bad for a guy who is about to be very rich playing the game he loves.

Never the less, things keep going bad for Sullinger. The latest comes from ESPN’s Andy Katz who reported that the NBA did not invite Sullinger to the NBA Draft Green Room. The distinct priviledge, normally reserved for the top 10-15 prospects, was once an inevitability for Sullinger. However, after the crushing blow of having doctors red flag him for his back issues, Sullinger’s stock has been in a free fall.

Surely being in the green room, while not the most important thing in the world, was a long time dream of Sullinger’s. Now that dream will never be realized, as he will be stuck on the outside looking in. Sullinger, who made the decision to return for his sophomore year rather than face an NBA lockout, was a likely top 5 pick last year. The decision to come back likely cost Sullinger at least 10 draft slots and millions of dollars over the lifetime of his rookie contract. Hopefully the experience and lessons learned from the extra year of seasoning will allow Sullinger to eventually make up the difference. Because, really, this could not have happened to a nicer guy who deserves it less.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to Cleveland Far From a Sure Thing

Is the sequel to this photo getting closer to reality? Perhaps.

On Wednesday, as word broke of the New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards trade, there was a lot of instant analysis being done in the media and in social media outlets as well.

One of the main assumptions everyone seemed to jump to was that this trade signaled Washington’s intent to draft Bradley Beal at #3. On Twitter in particular, Cavalier fans erupted in celebration. With so many whispers out of Charlotte indicating that Thomas Robinson was the direction they are leaning, this meant Michael Kidd-Gilchrist appeared to be falling into Cleveland’s lap at #4.

Could this really be happening? Could the player so many Cavs fans1 coveted all along really be sliding down to Cleveland? A cause for celebration indeed! [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. as well as Cavs writers on this site []

Sources: Cavaliers Have Drummond Ranked Higher Than Barnes?

While things have quieted down a bit in recent days with the rumors of the Cavaliers going after Andre Drummond in the draft, it’s possible this could be exactly what the Cavaliers want everyone to think.

The general assumption has been that the Cavaliers are targeting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, and Harrison Barnes at #4, but according to ProBasketballDraft.com’s Joe Kotoch, that might not be the case. In reality, Drummond might be higher than Barnes. Kotoch writes:

Per sources Cleveland covets Michael Kidd-Gilchrist but seem less inclined to deal with Charlotte to acquire him.  After Kidd-Gilchrist the Cavs brass appears to have it ranked Beal, Drummond, Barnes, and Robinson but that their final draft board will not be set until next week.  The UCONN center arrives in Cleveland this week and it will be an interesting workout as Cleveland has been very hushed about their feelings on him.  Looking historically at Cavs GM Chris Grant he prefers to draft athletic prospects with high upside whenever possible as evidenced by J.J. Hickson, Christian Eyenga, and Tristan Thompson.  Grant was the assistant GM but in charge of the draft and ranking the Cavs board at the time Hickson and Eyenga were selected.  It would not be a shock to see the Cavs pull the trigger on Drummond as the Cavs, who could have as much upside as any player in this draft.  Sources in Cleveland do concede if the Cavs were to select Drummond the rest of the draft would be centered on finding perimeter scoring with their remaining picks.

Kotoch also notes that the Cavaliers have been extremely active in trying to trade with New Orleans, Portland, and Houston to see about getting one of the 10th, 11, 14th, or 16th picks in this draft. If the Cavaliers do take Drummond at #4 and trade back up in the first round, potential targets would likely include Jeremy Lamb, Dion Waiters, Terrence Ross, Austin Rivers, Moe Harkless, and Perry Jones.

The draft is just 10 days away, so expect plenty of rumors like this to be coming fast and furious over the next week and a half.

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

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Plans at #4 Need Not Include a Center

Even if he hits his potential, is Andre Drummond really what the Cavaliers need?

When the Cleveland Cavaliers sit down on draft night and decide what to do with their 4 picks, a lot of factors will come into play. Thousands of man hours of scouting, research, and statistical breakdowns. Who is the best player available? What are the positions of need for this team? Based on positional depth in the draft pool, how should the team’s positional needs be prioritized?

I think most fans and observers agree the Cavaliers’ biggest need is scoring. More specifically, wing scoring. Beyond just scoring, though, the Cavaliers need wing players who can run in the open floor, show creativity on offense, work hard off the ball, play defense, rebound a little, and have an ability to finish at the rim. The team needs players who can not just fit in with Kyrie Irving on the court, but who can blossom into a solid core with Kyrie and eventually grow into a Championship contending team. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Summer League Schedule Announced

The Cleveland Cavaliers, one of the 6 charter teams of the NBA Summer League will once again be participating in the NBA’s summer exhibition league in Las Vegas. This year, the Summer League is up to a record 24 teams participating (23 NBA teams and 1 D-League Select All-Star team).

For those unfamiliar with the D-League, it is a summer showcase for new and recent draft picks as well as undrafted free agents and D-League hopefuls. It’s a beautiful mix of hope, potential, and restrained expectation. Paul Silas once sent LeBron James to the D-League. JJ Hickson played his first game as a Cavalier in the D-League. So did Christian Eyenga. Samardo Samuels played for the Bulls in the Summer League, but destroyed the Cavaliers’ bigs so severely the Cavaliers signed him when the Bulls passed on him.

Indeed, the Summer League offers a little bit of everything for everyone, be it coaches, scouts, GMs, fans, etc. Last year, due to the NBA Lockout, the Summer League was cancelled denying the Cavaliers a chance to test drive Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. This year, Irving and Thompson have said they intend to play, and they will be joined by whomever the Cavaliers select in the draft, giving Cavs fans a chance at an early glimpse of the future.

The NBA announced the full schedule Thursday afternoon. The Cavaliers’ 5 games are as follows:

July 15
vs Charlotte Bobcats
8:30 PM EST

July 16
vs D-League Select Team
8:00 PM EST

July 17
vs Phoenix Suns
8:30 PM EST

July 19
vs Minnesota Timberwolves
8:00 PM EST

July 20
vs New York Knicks
4:00 PM EST

[Related: 2012 NBA Draft: Harrison Barnes Scouting Video]

NBA Playoffs Showing Cavaliers How Hard Building a Championship Team Really Is

Even with Kyrie Irving in place, the Cavaliers still have much work to do

With the NBA Finals drawing near, it’s only natural for fans of teams not currently playing basketball to look on from a distance, wondering what it must take to be one of the teams representing their conference in the Finals.

Make no mistake about it, the Cleveland Cavaliers are a very long way away from getting there. The first key component is in place. Kyrie Irving was everything the Cavaliers were hoping for, and more, in his rookie season, but when you consider the 4 Conference Finalists, it’s clear that much work needs to be done.

In the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder have Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden1 as part of their “Big 3”. The San Antonio Spurs featured Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.

The Eastern Conference Finals have their own clash of “Big 3s”. The Boston Celtics have the original Big 3 in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Not to mention Rajon Rondo, who is currently better than any of the original Big 3. The Miami Heat have the most infamous Big 3 in the NBA with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. if you count Serge Ibaka in that group, they actually have a “Big 4” []