August 17, 2014

Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters can use All Star Weekend as a springboard for second half

Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports

Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports

As Kyrie Irving held the All-Star Game MVP trophy above his head Sunday night in New Orleans, his confident smile seemed to give off a sense of relief. In what Kyrie himself has described as one of the toughest seasons of his career, going as far as to call it “a wake-up call,” you sort of got the sense that Kyrie needed this.

This season hasn’t been much fun for anyone associated with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In one of the worst seasons of basketball in the history of the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers somehow find themselves in 11th place in the conference with a 20-33 record. And it took a four-game win streak1 just to make the record look that good. There’s been fighting, poor play, “pouting,” confusion, insecurity, and a complete void of fun in the Cavs’ world.

But something seems to have changed in the past couple weeks. From the moment GM Chris Grant was fired, the team seemed to flip the proverbial switch. Young SG Dion Waiters has spoken openly about how he took Grant’s dismissal personally, taking accountability for his inconsistent if not poor play. But in the wake of one man’s loss, the team did something remarkable. They came together, they started winning some games, and above all else they started having fun. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. the first four-game win streak of the post-LeBron era, nonetheless []

Scott Raab talks about LeBron’s MVP, Questlove, Tribe winning streak and cheap hotels – WFNY Podcast – 2013-05-06

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Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

I was a bit tired this morning and you’ll just love how I sputter out at the end with an awkward laughing at myself moment. Really though, a very nice conversation this morning about sports and culture and Questlove, who Scott spoke with for the most recent issue of Esquire.

  • Scott Raab talking to Questlove

  • People who work hard vs. people want you to think he works hard

  • Behind the Q&A with Questlove

  • Questlove and D’Angelo’s last minute show

  • The Roots in Philly

  • LeBron’s MVP and just how far away it is from a Cleveland storyline

  • LeBron not winning his 5th MVP because of The Decision

  • LeBron is even better today than he was

  • The burned jersey and how it represents us

  • Reactions and whether you should feel badly about it

  • San Diego and just how perfect it is

  • Developing the lakefront in Cleveland

  • The Cleveland region

  • The Indians winning streak

  • Chief Wahoo

  • Terry Francona and faith in coaching for the first time since Charlie Manuel

  • Charlie Manuel as one of the greatest hitters ever

  • Omar Vizquel’s hitting improvements under Charlie Manuel

  • Cheap hotels in the Poconos

  • The wonder of travel

  • The wonders of modern technology and how lucky we are to live in the future

  • Profiling Dan Patrick for Esquire [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Thoughts on LeBron James’ MVP Award, Voting

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

“If we’re going to hold this award up as a symbol of respect, to recognize what is widely accepted outside of NBA-centric circles as an indication of the best basketball player on the planet for a given season, the NBA and its media partners need to give the voting process the respect it deserves.

116 out of the 122 voters plus the 1 vote by the fans through online vote voted for LeBron James in first place. The other seven? They constitute a viable line of reasoning for a revamping of the vote process. [...]

Even if you feel that James’ resting of the regular season was “cowardly,” surely the phenomenal season he had, the impact on the Cavaliers, his position as best player on the best team record-wise, his performance in the clutch, and astounding numbers would lead you to vote otherwise… IF the vote itself was more valuable than what you say with it. But as it currently stands, the league takes a very hands-off approach.” [Matt Moore/ProBasketballTalk]

[Read more...]

BREAKING NEWS: LeBron James Wins 2nd MVP Award

We have received confirmation that LeBron James has officially won the 2009-10 NBA Most Valuable Player Award. This will be the 2nd MVP of LeBron’s career. Last year there was much pomp and circumstance surrounding his accepting the award at his Alma mater St Vincent-St Mary High School in Akron. Once again this year, he will be holding his press conference in his hometown, but a slightly different venue.

According to our sources, LeBron will be accepting the MVP trophy this Sunday at the University of Akron, although this has not been confirmed by anyone officially. This will fall between Games 1 and 2 of the Celtics series. While LeBron winning the MVP award is hardly a surprise to anyone, it will be fun once again to see LeBron pay homage to his roots as he accepts this award. We’ll have more details as the official announcements are made, but once again we say congrats to LeBron on a much deserved award in recognition of his importance to this franchise.

(Update 10:40: The press conference regarding the award will be held at the University of Akron, as reported first by WFNY.  The trophy presentation will be prior to Game 2 on Monday night)

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Image Source: Amy Sancetta/Associated Press

LeBron Rests His Body, While FanHouse Writer Rests His Mind

This is probably never going to stop. I’ve written this before, and I’ll say it once more, LeBron James never had a chance with the media. He had so much hype coming out of high school, that most people thought he could never live up to it. Instead, not only has LeBron lived up to it, he has so far exceeded it that he’s left little doubt to most as to who the best player in the game is. And all along the way he’s more or less done the right things and said the right things. He’s so conscious of his image that he’s almost overly cautious to say something that could be interpreted the wrong way. Because of all this, people have to invent drama and feign indignance in order to be critical of him to better serve their agenda.

If you don’t know who Tim Povtak is, he’s an NBA writer for FanHouse. Prior to joining FanHouse, he spent almost 30 years at the Orlando Sentinel. Evidently during that time he and Mike Bianchi spent some time rubbing off on each other. After writing an article last week titled “[Dwight] Howard Won’t Sit Like Kobe and LeBron”, he decided to follow that up with a completely irrational argument today. Povtak is saying that LeBron owes fans a “refund” for not playing against the Magic yesterday. [Read more...]

Dwight Howard’s Sour Grapes Get Impressionistic

With the 2009-10 NBA regular season coming to an end, a second MVP trophy in as many years seems to be a lock for LeBron James.  Winning the award last season, James has gone on to win every Eastern Conference Player of the Month award thus far, while leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA-best record of 58-16.

And while James continues to put up numbers that even make John Hollinger blush (more on this later), Orlando’s Dwight Howard continues to compare himself to LeBron James and simultaneously play the disrespect card while he’s not being considered for the award.

His latest soundbites come in the form of impersonation, as Howard allegedly attempted to sound like current NBA analyst and always free-spoken Charles Barkley.

[Read more...]

NBA Season Awards Probably An Empty Affair For Cavaliers Organization

The NBA Awards season is fast approaching, and despite the Cavaliers carrying the NBA’s best record for the 2nd season in a row, don’t expect them to be very heavily decorated by individual awards. In many ways, that makes sense. It mirrors the way this team is constructed. It’s LeBron James first and foremost, but then it’s about being one cohesive team beyond that. So while LeBron deserves all the accolades, the question remains, what awards are his teammates and leaders in the organization worthy of?

Last week, one of our readers named Josh sent us an email asking about each of the awards and whether any Cavaliers had a chance of winning them. He was mostly curious about Mike Brown’s chances of winning Coach of the Year this year, but I thought now would be a good time to address all of the awards. After all, as Brian Windhorst pointed out this weekend in the Plain Dealer, the award ballots have now been sent out to voters. So lets go ahead and look at them one by one.   [Read more...]

Carlos Santana, Jeanmar Gomez Named Players of the Year

santana8From the Indians:

The Eastern League of Professional Baseball is pleased to announce that Akron Aeros catcher Carlos Santana has been selected as the winner of the 2009 Eastern League Most Valuable Player Award. This marks the second consecutive season that Santana has been selected the MVP of a league, as he was named the 2008 California League MVP after hitting .323 with 34 doubles, 14 homers, 96 RBI and 88 runs scored in 99 games with the Inland Empire 66ers last year. The 23-year old has been outstanding for the Aeros this season, batting .289 (120-for-415) with 29 doubles, 21 home runs, 94 RBI and 88 runs scored in 126 games while leading his team to a first place finish in the Southern Division standings. Carlos, who entered the season rated by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Cleveland organization, currently leads the league in slugging percentage (.518), OPS (.930) and walks (89). He is also currently among the league leaders in home runs (21-2nd), RBI (94-2nd), on-base percentage (.412-2nd), runs scored (89-3rd), extra-base hits (52-4th), total bases (217-4th) and doubles (29-tied 10th). The 5’11″, 190 lb. slugger has also played well behind the plate for the Aeros, throwing out 30% of would be base stealers this season, which ranks fifth in the league among all catchers. [Read more...]

ESPN: Cavs to Finish Atop the East

While Peter King is predicting a not-so great fall for fans of the Browns, ESPN is doing their best to make up for the football team’s short comings.

Using 53 panelists accross the ESPN footprint, we get to see the average wins and losses for the entire Eastern Conference.  Thankfully, we don’t have to scroll down very far to find the wine and gold as they are picked to go 61-21 and finish with the first seed come playoff time.  “Only 61 wins.”

For what it is worth, Boston came in second with 57 wins; Orlando coming up right behind with 56. Even better is that the Washington Wizards came in eighth, meaning another first-round matchup with the Cavs along with the likely first-round exit.

The four letter considers Shaquille O’Neal to be the biggest X-Factor, and for good reason. Oh, and if you’re wondering what they think about LeBron James this year, it is worth mentioning that 35 of 50 voters chose James to repeat as league MVP.  Sound off below…

Not-So-Good PR: LeBron’s Confiscated Tapes

lebron-james-skills-academyThere is no denying that LeBron James gets criticized for every move that he makes.  It comes with the territory when one desires to be a global icon as well as one of the biggest athlete/celebrity-types in the world.  Jet-set with Jay-Z?  Then expect the “crab dribble” to shake the core of Blogfrica for weeks – albeit mostly in the Washington DC area.  Have a tattoo of “Chosen One” on your back?  Then prepare to get scrutinized when Nike makes a puppet in your likeness and your team happens to lose in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Wear an LBJ-MVP shirt, or even something that says “Check my $tats?”  It’s LeBron James piñata time.

But now all of those trivialities can now move aside as the sports world will now have something else to pick on thanks to the alleged confiscated video tapes of James being dunked on at his very own Skills Academy. 

[Read more...]

Can LeBron Get Four More MVP Trophies?

lebron-james-espn-mvpThat’s the question you have to ask yourself if you’re a betting man.

Sportsbetting.com has the over/under for the number of LeBron James MVP awards by the 2019-2020 season set at 4.5

The “under” right now is at (-120) with the “over” at (-110), so there’s a slight tilt against James achieving this feat.  And given the way that the NBA hands out the MVP award over the last few seasons, I would have to agree.  It seems that we’re in a day in age where we factor in who is “due” and how much longer someone has to win one than we do who is the most deserving.

Plus, as Vegas Watch adds in on top of the boredom factor, who’s to say that he (gulp) isn’t injured for a portion of a season?  Only three other players in the history of the league have won at least five MVP awards.   Does James have the ability to become the fifth?  Sure.  But given today’s climate, I’m bordering on “not likely.”

No More MVPs for LeBron, Please

Of course, I am being a bit facetious with the title.  At the same time, now that we are reeling it is time to bring up all the little irrational points and statistics that don’t truly mean anything.  Yet, we will sit back and notice meaningless trends and reasons why our team didn’t win the final game of their season this year.  One such meaningless stat was brought up by Fanhouse today.

With LeBron James’ elimination at the hands of the Orlando Magic, this season marks the eighth time this decade that the MVP hasn’t won the championship, and the seventh time that the MVP hasn’t even made it to the NBA Finals. Compare those numbers to the 1990s, when the winner of the MVP award made the NBA Finals seven times and the won the championship five times.

Next year, I guess we should root against LeBron James getting credit for being the best player in the regular season. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Does Tonight’s Game Impact LeBron James’ Future in Cleveland?

Cavaliers Magic BasketballA few weeks  ago, everything was roses.  The Cavaliers were steamrolling through Detroit and Atlanta.  LeBron James was fresh off of receiving his MVP award at St. Vincent-St. Mary high school, and was doing the tour de force of media interviews.

On the Dan Patrick show, LeBron had the following to say:

“I have no plans on going anywhere and playing the game of basketball.  And these fans…they’ve done everything to support me in my career here. You know, I’m excited about being here.  I’m excited, man. I love Cleveland.”

In an ESPN interview, LeBron wasted no time declaring his happiness.  Discussing his future with Mark Schwartz:

“I’m comfortable with being in Cleveland. I’m excited about it.  I’m loving the direction we’re [going] in and I’m loving the teammates I have and the organization. So if that’s any indication of me leaving, then somebody must be looking out the wrong box.”

But this was when the Cavaliers were winning.  [Read more...]

China Digs LeBron’s MVP Season

lebron-mvp-china1

It goes as no surprise that that most of Cleveland is excited about LeBron James’ first MVP trophy.  We’ve all felt that he’s deserved one for the last few seasons, but none of them have had the same aura as this one.  But while Clevelanders continue to don their MVP  t-shirts, and Nike produces MVP colorways of the popular Zoom LeBron VI, I was a bit surprised – in a good way – to see LeBron getting some love in China. 

The image above (and those that follow) comes from NikeLeBron.net, and is of one of the many electronic/projection billboards that congratulate James for winning the 2009 MVP. 

After the jump, we have the China-specific poster that commemorates LBJ’s award.  It’s two-sided and is pretty detailed.  I haven’t seen any for sale on the Interwebs, but I wouldn’t mind picking one up. [Read more...]

Cavaliers vs Hawks: 5 Things From Game 1

How strange was it to see the Cavs actually playing a game last night? All of those nights off made it seem like the Cavs had a first round bye. (Insert Pistons joke here.) Anyway, here’s my five observations good and bad from last night’s game.

Where Amazing Happens

Five good things-

1. LeBron. (I could probably just type that name alone, but I won’t.) With all the hype, all the pomp of his MVP award, the shoes, the trip to Akron yesterday it would have been easy for him to struggle with focus early on. To say he didn’t would be a gross understatement. LeBron demonstrated MVP leadership with his intense focus from the opening tip. He was defending, hustling for every loose ball, and that dunk to start the game didn’t hurt either. He was amazing. And we’ve come to expect the amazing. By the way, I thought LeBron’s most impressive play may have been drawing a charge on the 2-on-1 breakaway. Brilliant. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Terrelle Pryor’s Tat, Hawks Fall Flat, and Tribe Tunes At-Bat

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.

terrelle-pryor-tattoo

While I have no clue what sideways “Okay” signs mean, it looks like Terrelle Pryor’s arm is committed to throw passes in Columbus for the forseeable future. [Bucknuts via EDSBS]

[Read more...]

LeBron James: Zoom VI MVP to Debut Tonight

With Nike’s Zoom Lebron VI being one of the biggest lines of shoes for this basketball season, it comes as no surprise that James will be donning a brand new version titled the Zoom LeBron VI MVP. 

lebron_mvp_shoe

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Mariotti on LeBron, No Contract for Harrell, and More Hate for Jon Barry

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.

lbjbanner

“Truly, no one has come closer to replicating Jordan in the art of maximizing the talent around him. And if I may say so, no one since Jordan has been a better two-way player, with LeBron emerging as a dominant defensive force who wills teammates to match his lockdown commitment — how about his “chase downs” of 22 opponents in the open court to block seemingly easy dunks or layups? The Cavs will have to win a title before James legitimately can begin to match the Jordan legend, of course. But he has established how he can take a roster that otherwise wouldn’t reach the postseason and produce 66 victories and favored status in the Eastern Conference. When the Cavs play the Lakers in June — I said when, not if — it will be the most awaited NBA Finals in some time.” [Jay Mariotti/AOL FanHouse]

[Read more...]

It’s Official: LeBron James is 2008-09 NBA MVP!

NBA MVP TrophyMost of us have several watershed moments in our lives….those times when we remember exactly where we were when it happened. Sometimes it’s tragedy (I remember exactly where I was when I heard that Kurt Cobain had died, and who amongst us doesn’t remember where we were on 9/11?), but the really special moments are the positive moments we remember so dearly.

For me, one of the biggest and most uplifting, transcendent moments in my life was May 22, 2003. On that day, those magical NBA Draft Lottery balls spit out the numeric sequence that gave the Cavaliers the top pick in the 2003 Draft. More importantly, it was the day I knew that LeBron James would be a Cleveland Cavalier. It might have been in my pre-blogging days, but a friend of mine had a website that hosted different articles, and I wrote an article 2 days after the ann0uncement saying, “It’s only a matter of time now, and I am shaking with the eagerness that comes with the idea of what King James can bring to the table not just for the Cleveland Cavaliers, or even Cleveland sports in general, but for the entire city of Cleveland and the entire state of Ohio. LeBron James can, and will be, the savior of a franchise, a city, and a state.”

LeBron James has been all of that and more for the Cleveland area and Ohio in general, and in a season that has uplifted us to this point more than any other season in any other sport in decades, it’s only fitting that LeBron receive the ultimate validation of what he has meant to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nothing will ever take the place of bringing a Championship to this starved city, but nothing makes us more happy and more proud today than to pass along the news that LeBron James has officially been named the 2008-09 NBA Most Valuable Player!   [Read more...]

Lebron James Gets Another Player of the Month Award

Lebron James has been named player of the month for the third time this season.  You might feel like you have already read this article from me before, but that was for the weekly award.  Anyway, this is turning out to be an amazing season.  This is the 3rd time (out of 5 possible) that Lebron has won the award.  Think about that.  For the season, Lebron has taken the player of the month award 3 out of 5 times.  Out of all the players in the East.  As you all know, the Cavs went 16-1 during the month of March.

From the Cavs’ press release:

During March, James ranked first in triple-doubles (4), free throws made (129) and free throws attempted (170) and tied for first in double-doubles (12). He also ranked second in points per game (28.2) and field goals made (159), third in assists (8.4), tied for fifth in three-pointers made (32), sixth in steals (1.8), seventh in rebounds (8.9) and ranked 13th in blocks (1.3) among Eastern Conference players. [Read more...]