April 23, 2014

Black Friday Fun With Numbers

For your Black Friday enjoyment, I bring to you a special edition of Rick’s usual numbers post. Some of these might be scarier than normal, so hopefully this is not read with a heaping pile of leftover turkey in your mouth.

Cleveland Browns

12.7-24.6 – Average score of the 27 Steelers-Browns games since the 1999 season. Cleveland is just 4-23 in those games, after starting 2-2 in their first two years back.

20-63 (.241) – Overall record by the Browns in all division games, including playoffs, since returning in 1999. The team is 50-85 (.370) in all other games.

25.61 and 0.504– The Browns rank 30th in the NFL with just 25.61 yards per drive and 31st with 0.504 punts per drive this season. The league averages, respectively, are about 31 yards and 0.4 punts per drive, according to Football Outsiders. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… So long Ryan Hollins, tell-all books and crushing on Donald Sloan?

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.

Ryan Hollins’ no-good, awful, very bad day. Or how it could have went. “Ryan Hollins wiped the sleep from his eyes; slapped the alarm clock against the wall, shattering it; and rose from his bed. Ugh, I hate Mondays, Hollins thought. He did not know he was channeling Garfield. He ambled into his bathroom, which had tile made of Venetian marble. The tiles were very expensive, but Ryan Hollins was able to purchase them with a portion of the millions of dollars he had made playing professional basketball. These were the type of tiles a very rich man bought for his bathroom.

Ryan Hollins stepped into his shower, adjusted his faucet to a temperature that was either way too hot or way too cold, and began his daily ritual of dropping the soap an impossible number of times. As he sort of feebly pinned the soap—which looked like a large pill in comparison to his gigantic frame—between his right wrist and his bellybutton, it occurred to him that he, like all primates, possessed thumbs. Ryan Hollins had no clue what to do with this revelation, but it caused him to drop the soap again. He resolved, as he did every day, that he was “clean enough.” He reached for a towel, and the towel disintegrated.” [McGowan/Cavs the Blog] [Read more...]

NBA News: Kings Buyout Former Cav Hickson

According to a tweet from Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sacramento Kings have reached a buyout agreement with former Cavalier first round pick JJ Hickson.

Hickson, who showed much promise playing along side LeBron James in Cleveland was traded this past offseason to the Kings for Omri Casspi and a heavily protected 1st rd pick.

Neither Casspi nor Hickson have worked out well for either respective team, but whereas Casspi has been mostly quiet, Hickson has not been shy about his unhappiness in Sacramento. Despite all of Hickson’s athletic ability, he was never able to find a role in Sacramento and the jump shot he was working on so hard in Cleveland only seemed to regress. With no role and no future with the Kings, a buyout agreement was reached.

Hickson has reiterated a fondness for the Cavaliers this season when the Kings and Cavs played, but Cleveland would seem like a perhaps unlikely destination for him as Hickson and Coach Byron Scott never seemed to be on the same page. One potential destination could be Miami where Hickson could once again thrive under the tutelage of LeBron James, who often mentored Hickson in Cleveland.

[Time Machine: Chris Grant discusses J.J. Hickson trade]

While We’re Waiting… Baseball’s Age Problem, Tight End Depth and Winning the Hickson Trade

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

“A lot of people may fault Carmona, but he is a product of a bad system. Major League Baseball is doing their best to police the problems with age and name falsification and the rampant use of steroids. On top of that players are often bribed by buscones (street agents) where they are promised food, shelter, training, and help with getting a signing bonus in exchange for a pre-arranged sum of money. There is only so much the league can do to control it.

Carmona is just another example of a system out of control. He is not the only one either as several players have been caught recently – such as Miami Marlins pitcher Leo Nunez a few months ago – and more will be caught in the future as there are probably several players in the big leagues and minor leagues currently playing with false identities.” [Tony/Indians Prospect Insider] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Fausto Apologizes, Tribe Trades for Slowey, And On Cavs Last Rebuild

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

On Tribe’s deal for Kevin Slowey: “The Cleveland Indians haven’t had the most exciting offseason in the history of the franchise, though things are certainly changing. Pitcher Fausto Carmona was arrested for actually being Roberto Hernandez Heredia on Thursday and, to follow that up Friday, the Indians traded for Kevin Slowey from the Colorado Rockies.

Slowey doesn’t elicit quite the response that Carmona’s false identity scandal did, but the former starting pitcher for the Minnesota Twins shouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to Cleveland’s pitching staff this season. Slowey’s started 90 games in his career, compiling 39 wins and 29 losses despite an 0-8 season with the Minnesota Twins last year.

To acquire the 27-year-old Slowey, the Indians shipped Zach Putnam to the Rockies,according to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi.”  [Scott Schroeder / SB Nation] [Read more...]

Cavalier Thoughts: Is the Run-and-Gun One-and-Done?

JJ Hickson always referred to his ability to get to the rim as his “bread and butter.”  Despite all of the work he put in to improve his jump shot, all of the self-imposed goals designed to help him rebound the basketball, and his game-saving blocked shot against the Los Angeles Clippers, Hickson’s game was always predicated on running the floor, being fed the basketball and converting high percentage shots.

Now that Hickson will be applying butter to his bread on the west coast and Omri Casspi will likely grow roots in the corner of the Cavaliers’ offensive system – the Israeli shoots 47 percent on corner threes – the tides appear to be changing.  Gone is the athletic power forward known for his above-the-rim play and bright yellow shoes.  Filling the void is a 6-f0ot-9-inch small forward with range and a rookie power forward with little offensive game to speak of.

Cavalier fans have a right to be excited about the prospects of former Texas Longhorn Tristan Thompson.  As much as they love the hustle and tenacity of Anderson Varejao, pairing the two big men together should be heady for the Wine and Gold while potentially agitating for their opponent.  But with a frontcourt that will be focusing on defense, we are seeing a slight change in philosophy, one that had existed in Cleveland for a very short time. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Still Blessed With Plenty of Options for the Future

Now that the dust has settled from the whirlwind draft night, in which fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers had emotions that were flying all over the place, we can start to consider what the 2011-12 roster might look like and what the Cavaliers’ free agency options are.

When the Cavaliers selected Justin Harper in the 2nd round of the draft, there was a lot of confusion as to why the Cavaliers drafted another PF. When the Cavs subsequently traded him to Orlando for two future 2nd round draft picks, the confusion reached a fever pitch. The anger over a 2nd round pick in the NBA draft was a little bit much, but the confusion was certainly understandable. [Read more...]

Introducing the Inaugural WFNY Cleveland Sports Awards

We’re calling them the Woofnies. Quick back-story. My daughter (5 years old at the time) jumps in my lap as I’m writing one evening. She takes a look at the site logo and says “Dad what’s woofnie?” Apparently that’s how you pronounce WFNY.

Each day we will present one Woofnie chosen by the staff here at WFNY, and introduce an award category for you to vote on. The comment section, as always is for you to defend your selection, tell us why we’re brilliant with our selection, or I suppose argue why we got it wrong (not that we ever get things wrong). The awards are for June ’10- June ’11. And here we go!

The first WFNY Cleveland Sports Award is the civic pride award. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Analyzing Indians’ Success, Browns Free Agency Targets, Drafting Derrick Williams

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.

Great Sunday read on the Tribe, with analysis of the magic of Brantley and Asdrubal: “To watch the current team and to know the pain that came pouring upon Indians fans’ (particularly in that fateful week in July of 2009) is to gain some measure of respect for the Front Office realizing what needed to be done and to go about doing it. Granted the compelling reasons to make some of those trades were self-inflicted (Mike Aubrey, Jerry Sowers, Crazy Eyes Crowe, Beau Mills…you want me to keep going), but in those mid-season moves, they unquestionably have had more hits than misses and as much as the questions were flying back then (and here’s another piece from yours truly attempting to rationalize what seemed irrational back then) as to what the organization was even doing or what direction they were headed, the Indians asked themselves the hard questions, realized that there were hard answers, and didn’t shy away from what that meant.” [The DiaTribe/Paul Cousineau]

[Read more...]

Re-Sign or Release: JJ Hickson

Back in May, 2008, we featured a little series called “Re-Sign or Release” where we went through every player on the Cavaliers roster and turned to the readers to see what they would do if they were the general manager of the Wine and Gold and – hypothetically, of course – all of the players were up to have their respective contracts renewed.

Same hypothetical this time around: We’re looking to build for the future; all players are restricted free agents, likely requiring a bit of a pay raise from last season.  Do you re-sign them? Andrew has already laid out the roadblocks currently facing the Cavaliers in 2011; now it’s your turn. Vote below and leave your support in the comments.

When the Cavaliers landed the first-overall pick, many fans wondered just what a young, talented, pure point guard would mean for the team’s 22-year-old athletic power forward.  No one had a more up and down season than one James Hickson – but does that impact whether or not he should be a part of this team’s future plans?
[Read more...]

On a loss to Drew Gooden’s Bucks that keeps Cavs from winning 20, and other things

The Cavs lost to the Bucks last night 108-101. 

I hesitate to get too much further into the details here though because I’m not sure anybody cares.  The Cavaliers certainly didn’t last night.

They came into the game uninspired and terrible, lost the first quarter by 12, got down by 16 at the break, and nothing they did really mattered from there.  

John Salmons, a player who has underachieved all season for Milwaukee, averages 13.9 points per game, and has scored thirty or more (1) time all year in 71 games as a Buck, went for 32 on the Cavs last night.  Good defense fellas. 

If that wasn’t enough, well you already know by now I’m sure.  For the first time in his 614 game NBA career, Drew Gooden notched that elusive triple-double.  And for what it’s worth, I’m guessing there’s a former 2002 Memphis Grizzlies Team Scout waking up somewhere, reading this box score, and saying see, I knew it!  As coffee spills all over the kitchen table he bought while once employed by the team.

Drew came into last night’s match-up against one of his EIGHT former teams averaging 1.3 assists per game this season.  He ended up - literally - throwing no-look chest passes last night on his way to 13 dimes, 13 rebounds, and 15 points.  Take that Ricky Davis. [Read more...]

You Can’t Really Expect the Cavs to Lose on Purpose

We officially need to talk about the Cavs, losing and the lottery.  Last night the Cavaliers won back-to-back games as Minnesota took over the “lead” for the number of ping pong balls in the lottery with a loss to Phoenix.  Immediately after Baron Davis and the Cavs closed out the Raptors the whining started on Twitter about what could be the worst acronym in the history of attempted gimmicks: APPBITH.  In case you don’t know, it stands for “Another Ping Pong Ball in the Hopper” as coined by Kenny Roda at WKNR.

I don’t mean to pick on Kenny because I have enjoyed his show at times in the past, but let’s get something straight.  Acronyms are used to make phrases simpler, marketable, catchy, entertaining or something other than cumbersome.  Before I ever speak “APPBITH” aloud even once, I would prefer to say “Another Ping Pong Ball In the Hopper” ten times.  The acronym aside, let’s talk about the concept that the Cavaliers should lose for more chances at winning the lottery. [Read more...]

What Baron Davis Has Meant to the Cavs’ Frontcourt

Editor’s Note: Craig will be coming up shortly with what last night’s Cavaliers win means in the grand scheme of all things crystal ball.  For now, even more from me regarding the Baron Davis Effect.

In late February, Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant pulled the trigger on a deal that had the entire basketball world talking.  Mo Williams, who was to be the Scottie Pippen to LeBron James, was sent packing to the City of Angels for the well-traveled and well-documented Baron Davis.

Earning the reputation of a malcontent at nearly every stop of the way, Davis allegedly signaled the end for what was the Cavaliers’ potential rebuilding process.  He would tarnish the locker room, one rife with rookie and other considerably young talent.  He and Byron Scott would ultimately go to blows once again despite declarations to the contrary.  How could the addition of a 30-year-old point guard with wonky knees and a terrible contract possibly help a team that desperately needs to improve?

For now, ignore the age, ignore the knees, back, and personal issues and focus on the position.  Baron Davis is a point guard.  [Read more...]

Cavs Fall in DC on Record Setting Night for Wiz

The Cavs had an opportunity, albeit slim, to have an undefeated weekend on the road.  The schedule featured a terrible Wizards team without star PG John Wall and a Knicks team that the Cavs have owned this season – owned.

One of the Cavaliers’ five road wins came in Washington earlier this season – part of a 3 game road winning streak.  But that game preceded the departures of Mo Williams, Andy Varejao, and the scorched earth campaign of this winter.  Also during the intervening season of woe, the Wizards blew the doors off the Q for their first road win of the season – reinforcing the gulf between the Cavs and their own particular brand of horrendous hooping.

Last night, the Wiz came out firing and looking to avoid a home loss in what they knew was a winnable game.  Most notably, Andray Blatche, the face of everything that’s wrong with the Wizards, was determined to chuck, and career highs, along with a W, resulted.

[Read more...]

Cavs Fall Just Short, Energy And Effort Still There

You didn’t expect them to win. Coming off the most emotional victory of the season, nobody gave the Cavaliers much of a chance against a hungry Charlotte team fighting for a playoff spot.

The Cavaliers have been terrible in these situations all season long. Aside from the early season three game winning streak, (wow does that seem like an eternity ago) the Cavaliers seem to follow victories with subpar efforts and big losses. Six point win against Detroit? Followed up by a sixteen point loss against the Hawks. Beat the Kings by four on the road? Get pummeled 111-70 against Portland.

Since the Cavs beat Memphis, way back at the end of November, they are now 0-10 in games following a win. In those games before last night, they lost by an average of 14.1 points, and that includes close games against the Wizards (which was a stinkfest by both teams) and on the other side of the all-star break against the Rockets. [Read more...]

Cavaliers NBA Draft Talk: Could position logjams force offseason trades?

In what has become a lost season for Cavalier fans, the lone beacon of hope has been the pair of lottery picks that the team will have in the upcoming June draft. With the Mo Williams-Baron Davis trade and the corresponding Clipper draft selection, the team currently holds the first and eighth best chances at winning the NBA Draft Lottery. In this “weak” draft class, there is a group of players that are all pretty close together in terms of talent. Depending on how the ping pong balls bounce and how the numbers come up, the Cavaliers could have some tough personnel decisions to make.

If the Cavaliers are fortunate enough to land the top overall pick, I feel that they have two legitimate and equally attractive options. They are Duke freshman point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona sophomore forward Derrick Williams. Ironically enough, their two teams squared off on Thursday night with Arizona coming out on top and Scott had a recap of those fantastic performances here. Both selections would create the possibility and in my opinion, the absolute necessity of a trade.

If Irving becomes a Cavalier, the wine and gold face a dilemma with their top draft pick, Baron Davis, and Ramon Sessions all demanding playing time. Davis is virtually untradeable with his contract (for the record, I’ll never say never after the Cavs unloaded Larry Hughes), so that leaves Sessions as the primary trade bait. Ramon has done nothing but raise his stock this season after a down year in Minnesota after which he was acquired along with Ryan Hollins for Delonte West and a second-round draft choice. He has been arguably the most improved player on the team from start to finish, averaging 12.7 points and 5.3 assists in 27 minutes per contest. The guard from Nevada’s jumpshot range has improved slightly, and his ability to finish at the rim has rebounded from a hideous run in the early and middle parts of the season. Nevertheless, Sessions’s greatest asset always has been and always will be his ability to drive and draw a flurry of fouls. In my opinion, a contender would highly value Sessions as a consistent backup point guard and bench piece. I believe Sessions is either a starter on a bad team or a key backup on a good team, and drafting Irving would make him the odd man out.

[Read more...]

Cavs’ Additional Size Falls Short in OT

After showing questionable effort in nights past, Cavs head coach Byron Scott mixed things up by countering New Jersey’s Brook Lopez with a seven-footer of his own in Ryan Hollins.

On paper, the Cavaliers managed to hold the Nets to 34 percent shooting; Lopez himself was 7-of-21 – both marks receiving positive grades in the grand scheme of the 2010-11 Cavaliers season.  But when it was all said and done, the Wine and Gold were outscored by four in overtime and would come up on the losing end of the 98-94 contest.

Typically, overtime is a period where experience and talent wins out.  The Cavaliers, rife with players who would seemingly counter both qualities, would ultimately sputter in the extra period due to a stretch that involved two missed jump shots, a missed layup and a turnover.

[Read more...]

Boykins Blasts Cavs Once Again

On the 2010-11 season, Cleveland native Earl Boykins is averaging 8.3 points per game on 45 percent shooting for the Milwaukee Bucks.  When Boykins faces the Cavaliers, the 5-foot-5-inch guard steps up his game, averaging 13.5 points on 70.6 (yes, 70.6) percent shooting.

Of all the teams Boykins has face at least twice this season, only the Los Angeles Lakers have seen the veteran produce better scoring totals.  But in last night’s 110-90 loss to the Bucks, the former Cavalier did his old team dirty by shooting 8-for-9 from the floor, tallying 18 points – all in the first half.

Boykins was a perfet 6-of-6 from the floor in the second quarter, leading the Bucks on a 30-10 run that would prove to be insurmountable by his Wine and Gold-clad opponents who have now lost five of their last six games.

[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...]

Cavs Come Up Short to Sixers in Final Seconds

As Cleveland has seen too many times before, a considerable lack of go-to weapons haunted the Cavaliers when they needed them the most.

Hosting the Philadelphia 76ers, down three points with less than one minute remaining, Cavs head coach Byron Scott drew up a play that would provide point guard Ramon Sessions with two different options that would hopefully tie up the contest.  Those options were Daniel Gibson and Anthony Parker who, up to that point in the evening, were a combined 3-of-19 from the floor.

Knowing that the Cavaliers would need three points and would try to find one of their two players who could convert said shot (the other two players on the floor were JJ Hickson and Samardo Samuels), the Philadelphia defense converged on Gibson and Parker, forcing Gibson to pass the ball away to Hickson who would attempt a quick shot.  The result was a smart defensive play by Philly’s Thaddeus Young and a crucial turnover (pictured above) that would ultimately end in a 95-91 win for the visiting team. [Read more...]