August 1, 2014

#CavsRank – No. 16 Ron Harper: the great Cavalier ‘what if’

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Unless you’re counting Ricky Davis or Darius Miles (which I am not), the Cavs didn’t have an another athletic wing like Ron Harper until they drafted LeBron James in 2003.

Welcome to #CavsRank, the illustrious ranking of the best all-time Cleveland Cavaliers players from some of your favorite Cavs bloggers. Today, Ohio native Ron Harper checks in at No. 16. 

“Cleveland, to this day, would have had better success if they would have kept Ron Harper, because he was one of the guys who gave me the most problems in the Eastern Conference.” – Michael Jordan

The Cavs drafted Ron Harper 8th overall in the 1986 NBA draft. A big scoring guard out of Miami of Ohio, Harper was considered by some to be the best athlete in the draft. The Cavs had already selected North Carolina center Brad Daugherty with the top pick (although older Cavs fans will tell you that, post-draft cocaine overdose not withstanding, Maryland’s Len Bias should’ve been the top pick) and were looking for an athletic wing to pair with new big man. Harp fit the bill. Over his first three seasons, the high-flying Harper averaged a shade over 19 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds per game.

The Cavs and GM Wayne Embry were following the Oklahoma City model before the “Oklahoma City model” was just a lazy way to describe “building through the draft”. Embry picked up Mark Price in a draft day trade with the Mavericks and Harper, Daugherty, and power forward Hot Rod Williams (drafted by the Cavs in ’85 but sat out a year due to a point-shaving trial) made the All-Rookie Team the following season. [Read more...]

The Masters: Crossed Off My Bucket List

Augusta NationalLike most big time sports fans, I have a bucket list. I have been lucky enough to cross a few things off in the past decade. But plenty of things remain. Seeing the Browns play in a Super Bowl in person is certainly at the top. I would love to go to the U.S. Open Tennis tournament on Super Saturday, where the men’s semifinals and women’s final takes place. Checking out a big time, Saturday night SEC football game at either at LSU or Alabama where the game means something is on there. North Carolina/Duke basketball game in Cameron when both teams are in the top 10? Yes please. This weekend I was fortunate to cross yet another event off my list – The Masters – and I have to share my experiences with you.

As you know, it is the toughest ticket in sports. I have a lifelong friend (Doug) who lives in Atlanta and is turning 40 this year. He, along with two of our other close friends, wanted to do something for the big birthdays of two of the guys in the group. One threw out “why don’t we go to the Masters” about nine months ago. Doug, who is a partner in a big law firm, said he could make this happen for us, and worked for months to secure us tickets. He was able to get us passes for Friday’s round, so we flew in Thursday night. [Read more...]

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...]

Chad Ford likes Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (a lot)

Now that the NBA Draft lottery is complete we’re full steam ahead into draft talk. The Cavaliers might have a chance at Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and if they do, you can expect them to get a very good draft grade from Chad Ford if and when he issues that fateful letter. This is all in spite of the fact that Kidd-Gilchrist’s resume doesn’t appear to pop as much as you might think it should considering how highly touted he is out of Kentucky (Insider).

Winner. Leadership. Motor. Toughness. Intensity.1 They all pop when you see him on the court. He also is a terrific defender who can guard multiple positions. And while he struggled as a jump-shooter, he was a very effective scorer in transition and cutting to the basket. Scouts who love him also point out that he’s the youngest player in the draft. Oh, and a few old-timers say that MKG’s best pro comparison may be another versatile forward named Scottie Pippen.

Obviously everyone wants to get the next Michael Jordan in the draft, but as we all know you can do far far worse than finding another Scottie Pippen. Of course much like all our talk about Robert Griffin III, all this talk about Kidd-Gilchrist could be totally wasted if the Cavaliers can’t find a way to trade up. Most everyone I’ve seen has MKG off the boards by the time the Cavs are on the clock at number 4.

[Related: Chad Ford: Cavs Would Love To Trade Up To 2, Considering Lamb at #4]

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Footnotes:

  1. Is it me or are these the things that cause a team to draft David Veikune in the Eric Mangini era? []

On ESPN, Bias and Cleveland Misery Montages

Last night as the Indians were battling the New York Yankees on the 4th of July, ESPN personality trotted out a little statement about Cleveland.  Predictably, the people of Cleveland on Twitter started attacking.  I actually don’t know who Dari Nowkhah is.  This isn’t to discredit him or somehow make him less of an authority on anything.  I am just being honest when I tell you I wasn’t following him and I didn’t know who he was.  That being said, rather than being one of the masses that foams at the mouth, I thought maybe I would try to educate an ESPN employee about how Cleveland feels and maybe why we feel that way. [Read more...]

Jordan on LeBron’s Decision: ‘You Don’t Even Know the Half of It’

Nearly three weeks have passed since LeBron announced that he was leaving.  The Cavs joined the trade season this week and the front office, despite Dan Gilbert’s letter, quickly moved on from LeBron as they worked the phones, scouted Summer League, and stood their ground in negotiations with free agents.  The fans, while they will likely never forgive or forget, are starting to move on.  The fraternity of former superstars – those who built the modern NBA – continue to grumble.  This includes Michael Jordan, who, according to Michael Wilbon, has displayed about “one percent of the steam rising from [him].”

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Can The Cavaliers Exceed Expected Results in 2010-11?

By now we all know the Cavaliers are going to be a worse basketball team this year. That much is obvious, but what many of us are wondering is, just how much worse will they really be. The common guess I’ve heard repeatedly has been somewhere in the 35 win vicinity. But is there any historical precedent for unexpectedly losing your franchise superstar in the middle of his prime?

Neil Paine points out an interesting case on the Basketball-Reference.com Blog in the form of the 1994 Chicago Bulls. If you recall, in the 1992-93 season, the Bulls won 57 games and took home their 3rd consecutive NBA Championship, and then Michael Jordan walked away from the sport. Everyone expected the Bulls to have a major setback, but in the 1993-94 season, the Bulls still won 55 games, although they fell short of winning a 4th straight Championship.

Is there any chance of the Cleveland Cavaliers repeating this kind of resilient bounce back in 2010-11? [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Thirsty Thursday Edition

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.  Today’s edition is loaded with links from those that joined us for last night’s Thirsty Thursday in Akron.  Good times.

Now if we could just find a partner… “Since for some strange reason, the Cavs were handcuffed from making any moves in Free Agency since about Thursday-ish (a little after 9pm), a lot of the first, second, and third tier Free Agents are off the market.  Instead of throwing our capspace at RFAs and UFAs that won’t add anything to the roster next year, now’s the time to talk trades.

The Cavs have a TON of assets. From the LeBron S&T alone, they have a $16mil TPE, 2 first rounders, and 2 second rounders. Plus they have $9mil in capspace from FAs having gone (LeBron, Z, and Shaq). And they have Delonte’s cap-friendly contract ($4.6mil, with only $500k guaranteed) to dole out too. Plus, I’m fairly certain that no one is untouchable on the team, except for maaaaaybe JJ Hickson.” [Amin Vafa/Stepien Rules]

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While We’re Waiting… Michael Jordan, Choo’s Duty and LeBron Day

While We’re Waiting serves up an breakfast buffet of WFNY-esque goodies for your daily viewing pleasure (on weekends too!!) Have something else you think we should see? Send it to our fancy tips email address at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Some comments from Michael Jordan’s agent about the future of LeBron James: “‘I am a big LeBron James fan. But he needs to decide what he wants to do. He has all of the power. If he doesn’t want to stay, fine. If he wants to go, then go. But tell Cleveland that and work with them to make it happen in the best fashion for everybody. The lack of dialogue is, to me, confusing and illogical.’

‘I don’t think the people around him understand that. I don’t think they understand that if LeBron James leaves Cleveland he will be a pariah, he will be a Benedict Arnold. I don’t think he understands the implications of his decision. If he leaves, Cleveland’s economy is going to tank, he is that important.”‘ [Frank Hughes/SI.com] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Free Carlos Santana, Cavs Roster Revamps and MJ’s Shadow

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

Looking forward to June 1 more than July 1 (Or: FREE CARLOS!): “Carlos Santana is unreal. He homered twice in Columbus’ 5-1 win over Durham on Monday, driving in five runs along the way. He now has a .333 average, nine homers, nine doubles and 37 RBIs in 37 games. He’s ringing in with a 1.087 OPS. The clock is ticking toward June, and Lou Marson is batting .215 with no homers and one RBI to his name. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.” [CastroTurf]

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While We’re Waiting… Watching LeBron, Indians’ Offense, and a Second-Day Mock

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

My wife sat beside me watching tonight’s Cavs game and LeBron’s fourth quarter domination. As we took in the show, she asked a very easy question. “Was Jordan ever this good?” she inquired. With the follow-up…”I don’t remember ever watching someone like this.” My reply was equally as straightforward. Yes, he was that good. We have seen this sort of phenomenon before.” [Legend of Cecilio Guante]

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On LeBron James and Sports Hate

LeBron Crybaby T-ShirtThis might be the most obvious post I ever write.  Then again, I think it might be time to really talk about this a little bit.  With all the problems that the Wizards have today with Gilbert Arenas and the fact that their “big three” of Arenas, Jamison and Butler have failed to materialize as a force to be reckoned with in the NBA, there seems to be a lot of sniping at LeBron James.  Yes, there is a history between the teams in the playoffs and the situation with LeBron and DeShawn Stevenson.  Some of the reason that the Wizards never got over the hump is because LeBron is just that good.  Then again, I don’t think we ever truly saw this Wizards roster at its best due to injuries.  Regardless, what ends up being tangible out of the whole situation in the NBA is the hate directed at LeBron James, and it isn’t just from Wizards fans.  I think it is worth exploring a bit, because as Cleveland fans, we know a lot about sports hate.

Sports hate isn’t truly hate, for the record.  When I say I hate someone in the sports world it isn’t meant to be as ugly as if I hated my neighbor who I know and could potentially interact with.  So let’s get that out of the way first.  I can’t stand Braylon Edwards, but if he was trapped under a wrecked car, I would certainly do everything I could to try and help him.  In that respect sports hate is far from real hate in my opinion.

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While We’re Waiting… LeBron’s Number Change, Mirror Lake Pictures, and 2010 NFL Draft

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 in the sidebar.

numbers 

“If LeBron [James] truly decides to change his number, he has to file his intentions in early March with the league office.  That is, unless, he plans to join another team next season.  [...] Does David Stern let him bypass the policy to keep the mystery?” [Stepien Rules]

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LeBron James to Change Jersey Number

LeBron james jersey No 6 Number sixBack in February, we touched on the news that LeBron James was considering making a change in terms of his jersey number.  The discussion revolved around his number with the Cavaliers, 23, and his number in the Olympics, 6.  This morning, it appears that this decision has been made and would take effect next season.

When we dove in to why James would make the move, the obvious answer was the marketing. 

TD wrote, “Changing to #6 would sell a whole host of new jerseys and enhance his already gigantic popularity. I would say it was a brilliant move if Kobe Bryant hadn’t thought of it first. When Kobe went from #8 to #24, his new jersey shot to the top of the most-sold list ahead of Lebron, who at the time was numero uno.” [Read more...]

Larry Hughes Going Back to Cleveland? Um, No.

Larry HughesIf there was a Mount Rushmore of NBA Writers, I’m not exactly sure who would all be on it. What I can tell you, though, is that one name that would probably get some consideration (in some circles) is Sam Smith. The former Chicago Tribune writer who covered the Bulls beat in the MJ era and currently writes exclusively for the Chicago Bulls’ official site (Bulls.com) probably earned his most fame for writing his essential must-read book “The Jordan Rules”.

I cannot think of another book that influenced my love of the NBA more than this book. In a few hundred pages, Sam Smith tears down the curtain between fan and player and gives anyone who will dare to look a peek inside the world of the NBA athlete. The book followed the 1990-91 Chicago Bulls team as they overcome no shortage of inner turmoil and jealousy in order to rise above and win their first NBA Championship. But most importantly, Smith writes the book in such a way that we can’t help but feel like we’re the ones inside the locker room with the team. The book is a masterpiece and it has cemented Smith’s place in the pantheon of great NBA writers.

Unfortunately, it seems these days Smith is more interested in ruffling feathers and spreading (seemingly) baseless rumors. [Read more...]

Michael Jordan and the Cleveland Cavaliers – A Labor of Hatred and Love

The Shot

This upcoming weekend, the game of basketball will celebrate the enshrinement of its 50th Hall of Fame class. It’s hard to think of a better way to celebrate turning 50 than by inducting Vivian Stringer, David Robinson, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan, and Michael Jordan into its halls. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is often times a chance for reflection, as these great heroes we grew up watching and either loving or hating look back at their careers and try to put words to what it all meant. It is in that spirit that we look back at what Michael Jordan meant to basketball in the city of Cleveland and try to put words to his influence on the passion many of us feel for the Cavs.

In Cleveland, basketball is hardly the sport of choice. Throughout the state of Ohio, kids are brought up and raised to be football players. For most people throughout our fair state, their hearts are interwoven with the spirit of either The Ohio State Buckeyes or the Cleveland Browns (or, in many cases, both). Sure, the Indians have been around since the creation of the American League over 100 years ago, and there’s a history and legacy there, but the heart of Cleveland has always belonged to the Browns, and it likely will always be that way.    [Read more...]

From One 23 to Another…Stay In Cleveland

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Alright, I admit it. The headline may be a little misleading. Still, Michael Jordan was asked recently about LeBron James and his impending free agency. I was a bit surprised to hear that Jordan said anything about it at all, considering his involvement with the Bobcats. But Jordan, speaking to a New York Daily News reporter, had this to say-

“He’s made his mark in Cleveland. I know New York fans would love to have him, but you need a lot more components than just one player. He’s done a heck of a job in Cleveland and they deserve to have him there. He’s from that area. In terms of the game itself, small markets can benefit from it a lot more than the big markets can. That’s not a discredit to New York at all.”

This is of course nothing we haven’t been saying for months- even years, but it is nice to have Jordan on our side for once.

While We’re Waiting… Hakeem Nicks’ Draft Potential and the Curse of Stephon

While We’re Waiting aims to be the round-up of the recent WFNY-esque information for your morning viewing. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email in the sidebar.

hakeem-nicks

If we don’t land Crabree with the fifth-overall, “”There are some good receivers who will go late first and in the second round,” he said. “I really like Hakeem Nicks [North Carolina]. He could slip into the second round because he runs only a 4.55, but I like his size, his hands and he’s the kind of guy who would fit with the Browns because I believe he’s close to NFL ready.” [Terry Pluto/Plain Dealer]

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