August 26, 2014

All the numbers on new Cleveland star Kevin Love

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Minnesota Timberwolves

Analyzing the statistics on the soon-to-be-acquired power forward

Where does Kevin Love rank in the NBA’s elite class?

Confidently, I’d say he’s a top-12 player. In case you haven’t done this exercise in a while, it is indeed very difficult to rank NBA players. We know pretty well that the top three are LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. From there … there are lots of possible directions one could go, both anecdotally and statistically.

ESPN Insider’s Kevin Pelton ($) recently argued that Love is a current top-five player. For me, that seems a bit too high too soon. Love is only 25 years old, after all1. He’s only a three-time All-Star. He missed most of 2012-13 and was inefficient when he played that season. He’s at best a purely average defensive player. Is he that concretely better and more dominant than Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard AND Anthony Davis? He’s maybe better than some, but not likely all. That’s why I prefer to say top-12 with confidence. And I hope to explain why in this post. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Here’s your scary reminder that Durant is three weeks younger than Love, but we never use age as an excuse for his ranking. []

Watch these Timberwolves fans “burn” Kevin Love’s jersey

Hat tips to Deadspin for posting this, but it’s far too good to not share here as well. Plus, it’s kind of a reaction to the ESPN portrayal of Cleveland fans burning LeBron jerseys en masse on the night of The Decision even if it was a couple of isolated fans. Anyway, it appears that Minnesota fans are far too nice and understanding when it comes to Kevin Love’s predicament to set fire to his jersey.

Could the Timberwolves change their mind and ask for more from Cavs?

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans

NBA trades are complex and so are the league’s rules regarding tampering. Now that Woj has dropped his bomb, more details about how things have been coming together are leaking. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune indicates that the Cavaliers have been negotiating with Love via a Timberwolves permission slip.

Zgoda goes on to point out that the leaked details put pressure on both teams in a lot of ways to consummate the deal as reported. That pressure aside, the deal might be agreed upon, but it cannot be officially official until August 23. Depending on the public’s reaction or other variables within the league’s trade market, could Minnesota change their mind? Could they demand more from the Cavaliers at the last minute?

You wouldn’t think that’s a good way to do business and that if those are the details that have been agreed upon, that the deal will end up looking almost exactly like the one Wojnarowski has reported. Cavaliers fans know though. The NBA is a wacky platform for transactions. This one won’t be done until the ink dries.

Photo: Crystal LoGiudice/USA TODAY Sports.

T-Wolves owner: Love likely traded Aug. 23 or 24

kevin love cavs

The Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers trade rumors are getting stronger every day. This time the news comes from a direct source, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Kevin Love will likely be traded on either August 23 or 24. Taylor told the Pioneer Press, “It’s most likely because Kevin has made it pretty clear that that’s what he wants to do.” It just so happens that August 23 is 30 days after Cavs’ number one pick Andrew Wiggins signed his rookie contract and is allowed to be traded.

The Cavaliers have been one of the leading candidates for Love ever since the team signed LeBron James. Other suitors included the Golden State Warriors and the Chicago Bulls. Cleveland became the leader over these two teams once they started including Andrew Wiggins in trade talks. Wiggins is said to be the top target for Minnesota in trade discussions, even over the Warriors’ Klay Thompson. ESPN reported Wednesday that the Cavs were the only team left in the trade talks with Minnesota. It is still unknown what else would be included in the trade for Love, but rumors of Anthony Bennett and a first round pick have been floating around. The only known fact seems to be that Kevin Love will not be a member of Minnesota Timberwolves for long.

(Photo by: AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Cavs only team engaged in Love trade talks?

kevin love cavs

Since the return of LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been talking to the Minnesota Timberwolves about Kevin Love. The Cavs have been in discussion to land Kevin Love to pair with James and Kyrie Irving. Over the past several weeks, there have been talk of the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors engaging in the trade talk for Kevin Love. But, ESPN is reporting that the Cavs are now the only team talking trade with Minnesota. The report says it is a matter of when the trade will happen rather than if. The package would be centered around the 2014 number one pick Andrew Wiggins. The Wolves are said to be interested in Wiggins the most among all other players the three teams could offer. That includes Klay Thompson who the Warriors have still not offered the Timberwolves.

The trade can not be made until 30 days after the date Andrew Wiggins signed his rookie contract, which happened last Thursday, July 24. This time table could give other teams time to sweeten their deal for Kevin Love. But even with this delay, Minnesota seems to be centered on getting Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins appeals to them not just because of his huge upside, but also his friendly rookie deal. They can control him for longer and at a much cheaper price then they could with Klay Thompson. The report says the framework seems to be Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a first round pick. But, the question still remains about what the Cavs will send along with this framework in the package for Kevin Love. ESPN states that this part of the deal is still evolving and could change from now until the 30-day delay is over. The trade could involve a third team and could also involve other players from the Timberwolves including J.J. Barea. The trade discussions are still ongoing, but it seems more likely then ever that the Cavs will end up getting Kevin Love.

(Photo by: AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Former Cavalier Mo Williams to Minnesota doesn’t make the most sense

Mo Williams

Former Cavaliers all-star point guard Mo Williams signed a deal with Minnesota today. The deal is smallish for one year and $3.75 million. CBS’ James Herbert notes that it’s not the most obvious fit for the Minnesota Timberwolves which obviously has me thinking.

The cynical view here is that Minnesota doesn’t need a 31-year-old backup guard. The team probably isn’t going anywhere next season, and he’ll take minutes away from rookie Zach LaVine. The glass-half-full perspective is that Williams addresses the Wolves’ need for more shooting, and he will be able to play alongside Ricky Rubio for stretches. He’s a solid role player, and he’s on a favorable contract.

Of course back here in Cleveland, it’s impossible to think of anything in the NBA without trying to figure out how it relates to LeBron James. Yes, I’m partially making fun of myself, but I also am partially just speaking the truth. Let conspiracy theories reign. Until there’s some clarity in the saga of Cleveland and Kevin Love, I’m just going to continue to have lots of thoughts like this.

The Minnesota Timberwolves don’t really need Mo Williams. Mo Williams’ salary might be part of some eventual Kevin Love deal. The veteran guard – while past his prime – might give the Cavaliers some veteran presence and shooting depending on what they’re sending to Minnesota. Mo Williams played alongside LeBron James and they liked each other. Maybe another former James teammate speeds up the window of the team gaining on-court chemistry.

I don’t know if I believe all those things, but I’d also be lying if I said they didn’t cross my mind. Also after conferring with Andrew from WFNY, he tells me that Williams wouldn’t be eligible to be traded until three months after he signs or December 15th, whichever is later.

Has Andrew Wiggins actually been included in a Cavs offer for Kevin Love?

 

flip saunders

Someday we’ll find out these things for sure, but the sources and details are flying and as is often the case, there’s disagreement or at least confusion. Most everyone who thinks about this potential trade at all assumes that Minnesota talks about Andrew Wiggins and that the Cavs likely do as well. The wording on the reports doesn’t necessarily put them at odds, but it’s confounding to try and figure out what’s actually happening.

Take this report (most recently updated July 23rd at 2:03 PM) from Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst at ESPN.

Cleveland’s offer, sources said, would be headlined by No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013′s No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a future first-round pick, with one source close to the process insisting Tuesday that the Cavs are destined to acquire Love. At least one more player might have to added to the package to satisfy NBA trade rules.

And then Sam Amico’s tweet from this afternoon at about 5:00 PM indicates that despite talk, the Cavaliers haven’t actually offered Andrew Wiggins in any trade proposal.

It’s enough to make you want to rip your hair out. So the Cavs and Wolves are talking about deals for Kevin Love. Invariably Andrew Wiggins’ name comes up to the point that he is “headlining” the Cavs’ offer, and yet when it comes to actually discussing potential proposals, the Cavaliers aren’t actually offering Wiggins in any of them?

So the conversation’s like this?

Minny: “Yeah, so if we can get the expiring deals right? Then maybe find one player other than Andrew Wiggins that we want to keep… and then also Andrew Wiggins… that’s what we’re thinking.”

Cleveland: “So we need to get expiring deals and one player other than Andrew Wiggins that you want to keep….” (trails off)

Minny: “And Andrew Wiggins.”

Cleveland: “I hear what you’re saying. Hmmm. Yeah. Talk to you later!”

Have the Cavs really technically not offered Andrew Wiggins in any scenario? Does any of this have anything to do with the timing of finally signing Wiggins today? I guess we’ll find out for sure in the next 30 days, but even with the Browns starting training camp this weekend, I don’t think that’s just going to fly by without a lot of turbulence in the rumor mill.

Not looking forward to that.

Cavs sign Andrew Wiggins, start 30-day “no trade” clock

Does this scream "passive" to you?

It’s finally happened. The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced the signing of their number one overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins.

[Also see: WFNY's Kevin Love Trade FAQ]

https://twitter.com/WojYahooNBA/status/492398283781054464

As Woj and Windy point out, the thing that we’ve been talking about for a long time now has happened. On the one hand, he can’t be traded for 30 days. On the other, now instead of carrying a value of $0 in a trade, he will potentially carry that $5.5 million number if he’s traded. While that helps from a salary matching standpoint, I’m sure there’s some impact on the “leverage” that might or might not exist between the Cavaliers and T-Wolves.

So have at it folks. Let’s hear another round of speculation and scenario building about the Kevin Love trade.

And… GO!

LeBron has talked to Kevin Love about playing in Cleveland

The murmurs continue: LeBron James has reportedly talked to Kevin Love about the possibility of playing together with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears reported the news on Thursday evening.

Love is enthusiastic about the idea of teaming with James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources said. James’ decision to sign only a two-year contract that affords him the option of again becoming a free agent at the end of next season has not tempered Love’s interest in joining James on the roster.

The report stated that a deal is still not imminent, but again cited sources on the topic of the Cavs’ willingness to include Andrew Wiggins. An interesting new caveat: A third team would indeed be likely for the deal to make plausible sense. Otherwise, the Cavs would likely be depleting their roster too much.

Golden State remains reluctant to include Klay Thompson in a potential trade for Love. Such a deal with the Warriors — including forward David Lee — would perhaps be a bit more logical. But with LeBron’s persistence, anything can change in a hurry.

We’ll keep you posted on anything new. Although a deal might not happen by the weekend, there’s certain to be continued buzz and updates.

WFNY Roundtable: Should the Cavs trade for Kevin Love?

WFNY_roundtable

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...]

On defensive analytics and the Cavs’ recent issues

Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks

“Math is winning out on offense in the NBA.”

These were the words of Grantland’s Zach Lowe, the man whose writing represents basketball’s best combination of analytics with the league beat. But what does Lowe mean by that exactly? And where can we see information relevant for the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers, owners of the NBA’s worst defense since Luol Deng’s debut last month?

Looking into those questions requires background information on the rise of basketball analytics and a look into what we actually do know about defensive analytics in the game today. [Read more...]

Home is Where the Hope Is: On the Cavs’ bizarre inability to win on the road

Kyrie Irving knees

The mighty Cleveland Cavaliers are one of just nine teams to be undefeated within the confines of their own home, toppling would-be contenders in the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves in addition to the upstart Philadelphia 76ers. The woeful, scream-from-the-Twitter-mountaintops version of the Cleveland Cavaliers are one of just eight teams to have yet been dubbed victorious within the confines of an opponent’s abode, dropping contests to teams ranging from the undefeated Indiana Pacers all the way down to the somehow-still-in-the-league Charlotte Bobcats. The head-scratching, hope-emitting, angst-producing Cleveland Cavaliers are one of two teams (Chicago Bulls) to somehow belong to both groups.

There are countless ways to look at this bizarre Venn diagram, the angle and point of view largely derived by a formula which uses coffee and/or alcohol consumption, general outlook on life, and depth of Cleveland Sports Scorn as the independent variables. [Read more...]

Kyrie Irving admits to changing Mike Brown’s plays

Coach Brown was calling for Andy to come set a screen and I really don t need that screen at the top of the key against J.J. Barea, no offense. Especially at the end of the game, I want to take it upon myself to be aggressive in that moment. At the top of the key, everybody’s flat, it’s my chance to kind of go to work.

— Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving following Monday night’s 83-82 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Irving finished the game with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but also committed nine turnovers, six of which were in the second half as the Cavaliers squandered a 23-point lead.

[Related: Cavaliers and Wolves: Beyond the Box Score]

(Source: Jason Lloyd, ABJ)

NBA Rumors: Timberwolves reject Cavs offer for Kevin Love

The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly turned down a loaded trade proposal from the Cleveland Cavaliers for All-Star big man Kevin Love.

According to ESPN’s Andy Katz, the trade offer was the following: forward Tristan Thompson, guard Dion Waiters and the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft. Per Katz, new Minnesota team president Flip Saunders won’t move Love and thus rejected the offer.

The trade rumor proposal was the headliner in Katz’s report late this afternoon on the Cavs continuing to shop the top pick in Thursday’s draft. Katz wrote that Cleveland is high on their two young players, but would love to nab a current All-Star to pair with Kyrie Irving (and not just in Pepsi Max commercials).

The rumored deal immediately became the talk of Twitter with some national writers saying that it makes sense for Minnesota to decline the offer. Certainly, the 24-year-old Love was one of the premier young stars in the league before battling injuries over the past year. He played just 18 games during the 2012-13 season. These writers shared how the Cavs’ offer was not of significant value or enough star power.

Love, the No. 5 pick in the 2008 draft, had a career-low 17.9 PER in his limited minutes this past year. He also posted career lows with 35.2% shooting along with 70.4% from the free-throw line. Over the previous two seasons, he averaged 22.7 and 14.4 per game with a 24.8 PER.

Thompson, 22, averaged 11.7 and 9.4 in playing all 82 games in his sophomore season. He was much improved down the stretch as the Cavs played without their best big man, Anderson Varejao. He developed an effective push shot and increased his True Shooting percentage to a respectable 51.6% from a disappointing 46.9% his first season.

Waiters, 21 and nine months younger than Thompson, averaged 14.7 and 3.0 in an up-and-down rookie season. He shot only 41.2% from the field, yet improved his shot selection and efficiency over the course of the year.

The Cavs’ No. 1 pick in the draft has been much criticized with no unanimous favorite among pundits. Previous rumors had the GM Chris Grant making a pitch to the Portland Trailblazers for LaMarcus Aldridge. Indications are that the team is over-valuing the pick, hence leading to varied trade rumors and speculations.

[Related: Are the Cavaliers on the verge of making a huge mistake?]

The Diff: Regression to the mean and the Cavaliers

For my entire archive of The Diff at WFNY, check out this tag. Last week’s edition tackled an aggregate of 60 mock drafts from around the Internet, which obviously didn’t prove that fruitful when the Browns took Barkevious Mingo (projected by only 3 mock drafts). Oh well.

The Diff

Back in my second-ever version of The Diff, on Jan. 23, I wrote over 3,000 words on six specific franchise comparisons for the current iteration of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Obviously, much has been written here at WFNY and elsewhere since about the hopeful trajectory of the Cavs organization, especially with the re-addition of head coach Mike Brown. Today, I’ll hope to share even more analytics behind previous NBA rebuilds and some statistics behind their variability. [Read more...]

The Diff: Franchise comparisons for the Cavaliers

Thanks to all for your really positive feedback about my first-ever edition of The Diff last week about Kyrie Irving’s potential. I’m back today with more talk about the Cavs. Hope you enjoy yet again.

The Diff

For weeks and weeks, one of my favorite NBA topics has been exploring and researching possible franchise comparisons for the Cavaliers and where they stand right now. I believe my mini-obsession with this topic started with Andrew’s excellent article last month titled “Is There Any Hope Beneath the Frustration for the Cavaliers?” This post really got my stats-focused brain a-churning. [Read more...]

NBA Rookie Rankings: Jedi Drummond, Bradley Beal heating up

Drummond light saberWith the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great beards and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

1. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 1)

It’s been another good week for Damian, collecting December’s Rookie of the Month honor and getting the approval of the King. The Blazers have won four straight and 12 of 15, including wins against LeBron and the Heat, and against fellow rookie Alexey Shved and the Timberwolves. Against Minnesota, Lillard hit step back jumper after step back jumper, leaving the defender no chance to stop him. As the ‘Wolves sagged off, Lillard rose up and buried shots from deep. But the highlight that sticks with me most is his attack off a high ball screen and finish through the contact from mountain man, Nikola Pekovic. With just two explosive dribbles from the top of the key, he manages to get all the way into the lane, onto Pekovic’s body,1 get the ball up on the glass, and in to the hoop.

The Blazers and Lillard are both much farther along than anyone expected them to be. Lillard is the clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year honors, while Portland has cemented themselves in the middle of the murky Western Conference playoff picture. Not a bad time to be a Blazers’ fan. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Being on Nikola Pekovic’s body, every lady’s fantasy []

NBA Rookie Rankings: Anthony Davis not living up to the hype

With the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great beards and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

1. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 1)

The Blazers are playing their best basketball of the season, but the same cannot be said about their rookie point guard. Despite hitting a cold blooded three at the buzzer, the last few weeks have been pretty “ehhhh” for Lillard. Earlier in the year, the three point shot had been Lillard’s weapon of choice, shooting over 6 per game.  But as the old adage goes, “live by the three, die by the three.” Early on in the season, boy was Lillard living. His three point shot was opening up the lane for penetration, leading to easy buckets for himself and for teammates. However, in the last couple weeks the Portland point guard has been on life support from behind the arc, shooting just 8 for 28 in his last four games.

As his three point percentage has dropped so have his assists. In those same four games where Lillard shot just 26% from downtown, he is averaging 2.5 assists lower than his season average. True point guards are counted on to hit open threes and set up teammates but it’s becoming more and more clear that Lillard is not a true point guard. Instead, he’s an attacking guard who is never afraid to try and make a play. Although his numbers may be hurting recently, his team is succeeding. Teams are being forced to pay extra attention to Lillard, leaving more room the rest of the Blazers to play ball. With the way Portland is playing, if Lillard can find his stroke from deep once again, the Western Conference will have to start taking notice of the team up in Rip City.

2. Anthony Davis (Last Week: 2)

Anthony Davis is taking much longer than most thought to become a star in this league. It’s far, far too early to say he’s not living up to his predraft hype, but he’s not living up to his predraft hype. With Lillard coasting, the door has been wide open for Davis to ascend to the top of the rookie class. Davis is slowly creaking open that door, but hardly stomping his foot through it like most expected.

Davis is playing like a rookie. One night he looks like he has the potential to be the best big in NBA, and the next he looks like Tristain Thompson. The Brow will always be a force on the defensive end with his length and athleticism but he needs to start scoring consistently if he wants to be a star, let alone the rookie of the year.

Only four times this year has Anthony Davis scored over 20 points. Here is just a short list of other bigs within 1 point of Davis’ scoring avearge.

JJ Hickson, Glen Davis, Chris Kaman, Thaddeus Young, Serge Ibaka, Paul Milsap, and Metta World Peace1

I know Davis isn’t billed as a “scorer” but if you’re the number one pick, and the face of the franchise, you better be able to put the peach in the basket.

3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Last Week: 3)

Speaking of struggling to score…MKG has failed to score in double figures in over a third of Charlotte’s games. His offense is not his strength, everyone knows that, but like Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist is a high lottery pick, and the face a franchise. Along with those two distinctions come the expectation you’re going to be able get your team points.

Unlike fellow rookies, Lillard, Waiters, and Beal, Kidd-Gilchrist does not have his finger stuck on the trigger. He is yet to take 15 shots in a game, while Lillard, Waiters, and Beal have combined to do so 39 times. We all know MKG is great teammate, leader, and utility man, but it might be time for the Bobcats’ first round pick to start to try and score.

When you’re team has lost 18 straight games2 being a team player might have to go out the window. It’s all about getting work in for the future, so let it fly MKG.

4. Alexey Shved (Last Week: 4)

Now that’s some fresh facial hair

I’ve made little effort to hide my love affair for Alexey Shved. He’s got the european flair, the ability to play the one or two, and the moxy to rock a crisp looking goatee. Although the Shved/Rubio backcourt hasn’t quite reached the level of success I had once predicted, it’s hard to find many more young backcourts in the league as exciting as the two Europeans3.

Shved is avearging just over 14 points and 6 assists over his last five games. Over that same stretch Damian Lillard, is averaging a similar 17 and 5 but with 1.5 more turnovers. Shved may not have the upside Lillard has, but White Russia is has cemented himself in the discussion for the best guards in the 2012 rookie class.

5. Andre Drummond (Last Week: 5)

Andre Drummond and the Pistons have won 5 of their last 6, which has taken some heat off Piston’s coach Lawrence Frank for limiting the minutes of Drummond. Slow and steady continues to be the approach as Detroit tries to develop the raw rookie from UCONN. Drummond is 6th in the NBA in rebounding percentage, ahead of rebounding machines Dwight Howard, Kenneth Faried, Kris Humphries, and Tyson Chandler.

More impressively, Drummond is tied for the league lead in offensive rebounding percentage with Anderson Varejao. Varejao is wildly renowned as a monster on the offensive glass, and sooner or later Drummond will get the same recognition. Fans around The D are even starting to compare Drummond to Big Ben Wallace. Although he may have far to go to gain Big Ben status4, but he may be able to get a Kid Rock song written about him.

Honorable Mention

Dion Waiters

After three rough shooting nights in a row, Dion was moved into a role as 6th man for the Cavs. Waiters thrived in that role at Syracuse and flourished once again coming off the bench against Sacramento. Waiters scored 20 points in his reserve role, and did so shooting 42% from the field. This was only the 3rd time in the last 13 games Waiters has been over 40% from the field.

 

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Footnotes:

  1. I know Metta isn’t exactly a big, but like I said a few months ago, I’ll take any excuse I can get to type “Metta World Peace” I can get. []
  2. Yes they’re the Bobcats, but 18 straight. C’mon man! []
  3. Lin/Harden are the best followed by Irving/Waiters, Curry/Thompson,  and Crawford/Wall/Beal in no particular order []
  4. 4 straight ECF appearances, and a title to be exact []

NBA Rookie Rankings: Davis climbing, Lillard beats buzzer

Left Cameron Browne NBA Getty Images. Right Steve Dykes USA TODAY Sports

With the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great beards and great celebrations may also play a large factor.

The past seven days have been kind to the top of the 2012 rookie class. Signature games from the Kentucky boys, Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist, and a signature moment from Damian Lillard highlight the last week in fresh meat action.

With the top 3 shining, the rest of the rookie class is struggling to keep up. Top 4 picks, Dion Waiters and Bradley Beal continue to chuck the pumpkin with little success, while big men Andre Drummond and Jonas Valanciunas contribute solid but unexciting minutes off their respective benches.

The top 3 sees a minor shakeup while the 4th and 5th spots continue to be a revolving door.

Vamanos! [Read more...]

Box Score: Timberwolves 91 Cavs 73

The Cavs fell behind on a Kevin Love jump hook in the first minute and never could quite catch up to the Timberwolves on Friday night. Scoring continues to be the Cavaliers’ glaring weekness, which is the worst weakness to have in a game where you try to outscore your opponent. The Wine and Gold shot just 34.5% from the field and scored a season low 73 points.
 
Alonzo Gee led the Cavaliers with 20 points. CJ Miles and Donald Sloan were the only other Cavalier scorers in double figures with 13 and 10 respectively. Anderson Varejao saw his streak of 10 straight games with 15 rebounds come to an end, pulling down only 14.
 
For the Timberwolves, Kevin Love was his usually monster self, scoring 36 points to go with his 13 rebounds. Rookie standout, Alexey Shved, had one of his worst games of his young career, and was a non factor all night.
 
The Cavaliers are back at home Saturday against Detroit. Detroit has lost two in a row since beating Cleveland on Monday.
 
Cleveland
Team Statistics: Starters for Cleveland Cavaliers
Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
D. Gibson G 27:20 2-7 1-4 0-0 -16 0 0 4 2 4 0 0 2 5
J. Pargo G 16:52 2-9 0-2 1-2 -15 0 2 2 2 1 0 2 2 5
A. Varejao C 33:37 2-10 0-0 0-0 -20 4 14 2 2 0 1 1 5 4
A. Gee F 30:55 7-12 2-6 0-0 -14 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 16
T. Thompson F 24:48 3-7 0-0 0-0 -13 0 3 0 2 2 0 1 5 6
Team Statistics: Bench for Cleveland Cavaliers
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 30-87 7-24 6-9   11 41 15 18 15 2 8 24 73
Percentages .345 .292 .667    
D. Sloan 31:08 4-11 1-2 1-2 -3 0 5 1 3 1 0 3 0 10
C.J. Miles 23:12 5-12 2-5 1-2 -3 0 1 0 5 1 0 0 1 13
T. Zeller 15:23 2-6 0-0 1-1 0 4 7 2 0 1 0 0 5 5
O. Casspi 14:33 2-6 1-3 0-0 -3 1 4 1 1 2 0 0 0 5
K. Jones 8:33 1-3 0-0 0-0 +3 2 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 2
L. Walton 6:50 0-2 0-2 0-0 -5 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 2 0
S. Samuels 6:49 0-2 0-0 2-2 -1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2

Minnesota

Team Statistics: Starters for Minnesota Timberwolves
Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
L. Ridnour G 30:33 6-12 0-1 0-0 +15 1 5 7 1 1 0 0 3 12
M. Lee G 20:19 1-5 0-3 4-6 +5 0 8 0 2 1 1 0 2 6
N. Pekovic C 24:30 0-3 0-0 4-4 +15 1 1 1 2 0 1 0 4 4
K. Love F 35:11 10-19 2-5 14-18 +18 6 13 0 3 1 1 1 0 36
A. Kirilenko F 30:50 4-5 0-1 0-0 +23 3 7 6 3 4 3 0 1 8
Team Statistics: Bench for Minnesota Timberwolves
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 30-70 4-19 27-35   13 53 18 21 13 8 2 17 91
Percentages .429 .211 .771    
A. Shved 23:31 3-8 0-4 1-3 +4 0 4 2 5 1 1 0 3 7
D. Cunningham 22:47 2-6 0-0 2-2 +9 2 6 0 1 3 0 1 2 6
J.J. Barea 19:41 3-5 2-3 2-2 +9 0 3 2 2 1 0 0 1 10
J. Howard 19:06 1-4 0-2 0-0 -2 0 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 2
G. Stiemsma 13:32 0-3 0-0 0-0 -6 0 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
L. Amundson DNP – Coach’s Decision
D. Williams DNP – Coach’s Decision