July 30, 2014

Cleveland Browns ranked 22nd in PFT’s preseason power rankings

I have a tendency to obsess on power rankings when they’re out of whack in a bad way. That’s why I felt it necessary to talk about ESPN ranking the Browns dead last in their power rankings from May after this year’s NFL draft. It’s not that I think the Browns should be favored to win the Super Bowl, but my hyper-realistic expectations are simply to demand that they get in the range of going .500 in a season. And as I always say, that’s not a prediction. That’s just a minimum level of standard that I’m willing to accept on an annual basis, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Anyway, I focus too much on the negative, so today I’m focusing on the positive.

Pro Football Talk is rolling out their preseason power rankings and I have been waiting (and waiting) for the Browns and it feels good. PFT has decided right now that the Browns are 22nd. This puts the Browns ahead of the Redskins, Cowboys, and Texans. The Browns are chasing the Lions, Rams, and Jets.

We know all the parts about the Browns’ roster, but PFT has a somewhat optimistic view of the schedule.

The Browns begin their season at nemesis Pittsburgh, then host top-class New Orleans and stout Baltimore before the Week Four bye to end September. However, October and November could be more favorable for Cleveland. Though the Browns play five road games in this stretch, three are against the Jaguars, Titans and Bills. The Browns also have home contests against the Raiders, Buccaneers and Texans. If Cleveland is ready to take a step forward, it will make the most of these two months before closing out the season with home games against tough Cincinnati and Indianapolis and road matchups at Carolina and Baltimore.

While the schedule doesn’t necessarily come into play when making up power rankings, the info is instructive. The Cleveland Browns are a team with lots of question marks, but they retained center Alex Mack, seemingly improved the defense across the board and added one major X-factor in Johnny Manziel, should Brian Hoyer relinquish his position atop the Browns QB depth chart.

That’s just enough promise for the writers at PFT to vote the Browns 22nd.

ESPN ranks the Browns dead last in off-season power rankings

You can take these things with a grain of salt or you can choose to figuratively kill them with fire. The Cleveland Browns getting picked dead last in ESPN’s post-draft power rankings is ridiculous. No, it doesn’t matter, but they committed it to their website, so I felt like discussing.

The reason that I find it completely ludicrous and insulting is because Vegas – a place that has to actually put money on the line for their rankings – has the Browns as 75-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl. There are at least six teams below them with bigger payouts currently. The bottom three in order are Minnesota, Jacksonville and Oakland.

But what does Vegas know?

Again, it doesn’t matter other than for debate, but sorry if I think this makes these prognosticators look silly.

Browns Power Rankings

2013 Cleveland Indians Power Rankings

Michael BrantleyI wanted to take a few weeks and step back before I made this list. The Indians successful 92 win Wild Card season in Terry Francona’s first year at the helm. It left us all wanting more. There will obviously be changes to the roster, but the 2013 roster needs a final examination. I normally hate so called “power rankings” pieces, yet here I am writing one. It is the offseason and not all of these guys will come back, but as the season closed, here are my final thoughts on each Tribe player and their future for 2014. These rankings are obviously subjective, but based on 2013 performance.

1. Michael Brantley – No matter where he was placed in the lineup, Dr. Smooth kept on hitting. .375 with runners in scoring position over an entire season says it all. Glides in left and has an accurate arm. GM Chris Antonetti needs to find a way to extend him. He was money all year long. [Read more...]

ESPN Power Rankings: Browns climb to No. 16

After an 0-2 start, the Cleveland Browns were sitting at No. 31 in ESPN’s power rankings. They traded RB Trent Richardson and replaced injured QB Brandon Weeden with Brian Hoyer. Three wins later the Browns have jumped to No. 16 in the network’s weekly list.

power rankings

The summary from the graphic associated with the Browns reads “Cleveland is 3-0 since trading Trent Richardson, averaging 94 rushing yards per game with 14 first downs. They averaged 56 rushing yards and three first downs before the trade.”

For full disclosure, ESPN probably needed to add that the Browns average 10 more rushing attempts per game since trading Richardson. That has a little bit to do with the total rushing yards being better. Cleveland averages 3.58 yards per carry since trading Richardson.

[Related: Josh Gordon trade rumors roundtable]

Browns slot 30th in Week 2 ESPN Power Rankings

It could be worse: The Cleveland Browns will enter Week 2′s contest against the Baltimore Ravens slotted 30th in ESPN’s weekly NFL Power Rankings.

Down two spots from their preseason placement, only the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars are keeping the Orange and Brown from the cellar of the National Football League.

ESPN cites Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden’s abysmal Week 1 performance, second only to the Jaguars’ Blaine Gabbert; he was also the only other QB with a completion percentage under 50 percent on short throws.

The biggest gainer goes to the Chip Kelly-led Philadelphia Eagles who jumped 11 spots after their electric win on Monday Night Football. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets both leapfrogged the Browns after impressive outings from their rookie quarterbacks. Things do not look to be improving for the Browns anytime soon as they will enter this Sunday as touchdown underdogs.

[Related: Tracking the Browns defense: How many times did they blitz?]

Grantland Power Rankings: Cleveland Browns rank fifteenth

Grantland’s Bill Simmons released half of his NFL power rankings Thursday (the AFC). The Browns came in at number fifteen.

“The stakes for Cleveland’s new brain trust, as pointed out by a Cincinnati reader named Clark: “Since 1999, the Browns have more staph infection lawsuits against them (2) than playoff appearances (1).” In other words, what’s the rush?

If you imagine Browns fans as prisoners who have been confined to solitary since 1999, it makes a little more sense. When someone gets out of solitary (or in this case, 14 years of Butch Davis, Romeo Crennel, Tim Couch, Derek Anderson, Pat Shurmur, Brady Quinn, Chris Palmer, Colt McCoy and everyone else), they don’t need a fancy five-course meal right out of the gate. They’d be overjoyed with a juicy burger, some well-cooked fries and a fizzy soda. And that’s what the Browns are offering them this season: Instead of panicking and trying to win right away with one of those goofy Carson Palmer–type trades, they’re building around their lines, their defense, their running game, the Dawg Pound and a relentless series of 13-10 games. (UNDER!) It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I fully approve, and please don’t think this opinion was tainted by the fact that Browns GM Mike Lombardi came on my podcast at least 320 times since 2008.

(Here’s how you know I’m in the bag for the Browns: We’re 2,300 words into this column and I haven’t made a joke yet about the new Dream Team … that’s right, Norv Turner and Brandon Weeden. I really do think the Browns can squeeze out 9-7. And also, that might be the score of every game they play.)”

Definitely an interesting parallel between the 2013 Browns and a juicy burger for prison inmates. Of course, if the team ends up being more prison food, there could be a hunger strike.

[Related: The Diff: kickers, running efficiency and the AFC North]

Ohio State debuts at number two in ESPN’s power rankings

ESPN.com released it’s preseason power rankings with defending national champion Alabama on top, followed by Ohio State. Earlier this month, Ohio State claimed the second spot in the USA Today/AP Coaches Poll as well. Here is ESPN writer Austin Ward’s comments on the Buckeyes.

“Urban Meyer has already made history with the Buckeyes, but not the kind that comes with a crystal football, thanks to NCAA sanctions that kept the program out of the postseason last season. Ohio State is free from those shackles now, and Meyer has traditionally done his best work in Year 2 at previous stops. His latest encore campaign is headlined by quarterback Braxton Miller, fifth-place finisher in the Heisman race last year and a truly dynamic weapon. With four senior starters on the offensive line, a deep stable of running backs and more options at wide receiver, the dangerous spread attack could help the Buckeyes overcome some defensive inexperience and do something even more memorable this year.”

Ohio State returns plenty of starters on the offensive side of the ball, including Heisman candidate Braxton Miller at quarterback, running back Carlos Hyde, wide receivers Devin Smith and Corey Brown and offensive linemen Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley and Marcus Hall.

The key will be the defense, and how quickly the young front seven develops. They are led by returning starters Ryan Shazier at linebacker, Bradley Roby at corner and safeties Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett. Defensive linemen Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington saw extensive time as freshmen last season.

The Buckeyes will be missing Carlos Hyde and Bradley Roby at the beginning of the season due to team discipline stemming from off the field issues.

[Related: Carlos Hyde suspended at least three games]

Indians ranked 28th in ESPN’s “Future” power rankings

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Despite all of their off-season moves that have fan morale trending upward, a troika of ESPN reporters have given the Cleveland Indians a 29.7 out of 100 in their recent release of “future” power rankings. This score — though an improvement off of their league-worst total in 2012 — represents the third-lowest total in all of baseball.

These rankings, set to list which MLB teams are set up for sustainable success, use a combination of current major league roster coupled with finances, management and mobility. The categorical scores are depicted above.

The Overview
By signing Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher this winter, the Indians made themselves more interesting for 2013, but the long-term future of the club is still in doubt. They don’t have a reliable starter, and their short-term path to winning involves Trevor Bauer, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson all pitching like the elite starters their stuff suggests they can be. That’s far from a certainty. — Buster Olney

The Dilemma

They need at least two of Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Zach McAllister to become rotation stalwarts for them to move forward because they are not in position to sign any top-quality free-agent starters after their spending sprees on Swisher, Bourn and Mark Reynolds. — Jim Bowden

The System
The Indians have shortstops galore — three or four of whom might end up as big league regulars in an optimistic scenario — and a lot of young pitching that’s three or four years away, but short-term help is really limited and they’re very light on corner bats who’ll have big offensive impact. – Keith Law

Only the Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies rank below Cleveland. It’s 1993 all over again.

[Related: The Diff: Market saturation and Indians attendance]

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 []

Browns up to No. 22 in the PFT power rankings

Pro Football Talk says the Browns are going to “blow their chance at another top-five pick” in proclaiming that the Browns are currently the 22nd best team in the NFL.

Power rankings are for entertainment purposes only, of course, but it is at least a little bit of fun for Browns fans to see their team considered superior to others after pre-season punditry wondered if the Browns could even win a single game this year. So, who, exactly is it that the Browns are ranked ahead of right now?

Who are the unlucky ten?

23. Titans: The team that currently is in Houston gave the owner that used to be in Houston a double-barreled middle finger this season.

24. Lions: Why do they even try to do anything other than give the ball to Calvin Johnson? Oh, wait. They don’t.

25. Jets: Why do they even try?

26. Panthers: Here’s hoping the new G.M. gives Ron Rivera a fair chance to show he can get it done.

27. Cardinals: The passes made by Ryan Lindley are about as effective as the passes Audra Lindley used to make at Norman Fell.

28. Chargers: Speaking of Norman Fell, the guy who likes like him will soon be free to manage an apartment building in L.A.

29. Eagles: At some point, Andy Reid’s final year in Philly will make it impossible for another owner to sell him to a fan base as a viable coaching option.

30. Chiefs: Officially, we’re neutral. Unofficially, we’re Chiefs fans until further notice.

31. Jaguars: It’s time to slay the fatted calf in Jacksonville.

32. Raiders: Not-so-slowly but surely, Mark Davis is proving Mike Silver to be right.

[Related: Browns’ rookie trio on verge of very rare feat]

NBA Rookie Rankings: Lillard holds on to top spot

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 in rankings.

Two weeks into the NBA season and like many basketball nuts out there, I’ve already managed to fall behind in most aspects of my life. My kitchen sink is full of dishes, my DVR is full of shows, and instead of playing catch up, I’m continuously getting sucked into a full night of watching roundball. Instead of engulfing myself in Brody, Carrie, and the rest of the gang from Homeland, I find myself settling in for Wizards at Bobcats. I imagine the only other people outside of D.C. or Charlotte watching that game were me, gamblers1, and those who clicked on Wizards vs. Bobcats hoping to see Gandalf and Harry using spells to fight off aggressive felines.

Whatever the reason for tuning in, those watching were treated to a player of the game performance by none other than Ramon Sessions. I know Ramon is enough to get most hoops junkies going, but for me it was all about Beal vs. MKG. There isn’t much better television than two top three picks going head to head2. Kidd-Gilchrist shined with a 15 point, 8 rebound night, while Beal stuggled with his shot going 1-8 from the field. 

Bradley Beal came into the 2012 draft with comparisons to Ray Allen thanks to his sweet stroke, but the reality of it is, Beal was not a good shooter at Florida and has continued to struggle with his shot in the NBA. At Florida, the “sharp shooting” Beal shot only 34% from 3-point range, and is shooting just 33% from behind the arc so far in his NBA career. Beal is 19-67 on shots not at the rim, good for a whopping 28%, compared to Dion Waiters who is 33-73 (45%) on those same shots. Beal needs to start scoring more efficiently if he wants to succeed in the league, and more importantly find a spot in the weekly fresh meat rankings.

 1. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 1)

Lillard has slowed some since his amazing start, but still is playing at a high level. After four losses in a row with Lillard having under seven assists, Lillard dished out nine in a blowout win over the Kings. He is the rookie leader in points, assists, and usage rate, but most importantly in estimated wins added to his team with 1.1.

One key to the Weber State product’s success so far is his ability to pull up and shoot off the dribble. Like Russell Westbrook or Eric Bledsoe, Lillard uses his strength and speed to create space to shoot. When those shots start to fall, defenders are forced to respect it, making the drive much easier.

Pair that with the way Lillard has been launching and hitting three’s and Lillard is a big time offensive threat. Half of Lillard’s 15.1 points per game are coming off of three point shots. If he continues to hit that shot consistently, Portland will start to win some more games.

2. Anthony Davis (Last Week: 3)

After missing two games while out with a peach-grade concussion, The Brow returned to the court with his best game of his young career putting up 23 points, 11 rebounds, a massive 5 blocks, and two steals in a win over the Bobcats. On several  occasions I’ve seen polls where fans overwhelmingly say that they would prefer their  team to have Anthony Davis over Kyrie Irving. Now this is a bit of a rush of a judgement as Kyrie has played far more games in the NBA than Davis, and although we can’t definitively say Davis will surpass Irving as the league’s best young player, it is clear Davis is going to be a force in this league.

He runs the floor, blocks shots, gets in passing lanes, rebounds,  scores in the post, can takes guys off the dribble, and has a wing span comparible to a terydactyl. Davis leads all rookies in efficiency3, rebounding, blocks, and steals. Before I start sounding too much like Boobie Miles’ Uncle in Friday Night Lights, let’s get into what keeps The Brow out of the top spot on this list.

Neither of New Orleans’ two most productive lineups feature Davis on the floor. The Hornets’ strongest lineup (Lopez, Anderson, Aminu, Vasquez, Rivers) has a +/- of  20 which is 14 points better than their second strongest lineup (Lopez, Anderson, Aminu, Vasquez, Mason Jr.), and neither has Davis on the floor. Putting up big numbers is sexy, but being on the floor helping your team succeed is what really matters.

3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Last Week: 4)

MKG turned in his first dominant performance of his career this week in an overtime victory over the Mavs. Still far from polished, Kidd-Gilchrist was able to take over a game at the NBA level, something you expect from the number two pick. Career highs in points and rebounds showed up in the headlines, but offensive rebounds down the stretch, specifically one that allowed for the tying basket at the end of regulation proved to be the real difference maker.

Naturally, to follow up his first dominant performance, Kidd-Gilchrist turned in his first lemon of the season against the Timberwolves.  Something had to have been wrong as MKG scored only 2 points on a mere 4 shots. Not to mention only 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Known for his effort and intangibles, it is surprising to see Kidd-Gilchrist look non existent, but it is only one game.

Despite the let down against  Minnesota, Bobcats’ fans finally have a reason to be hopeful in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. A respectable 11.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.1 STPG, and 1.7 BPG to start the year, it looks to me as if his upside is a high motored Josh Smith. He’s got all the goods but lacks a real offensive repertoire. Kidd Gilchrist has only made 5 shots that weren’t at the rim all year! Only 5! His ability to improve his outside game will dictate how far he can go as a player.


4. Dion Waiters (Last Week: 2)

Dion continues to be up and down to the start his NBA career. There is no reason to panic, just as there was no reason to get too high after some impressive games early on. Some days will be better than others, but the outcome will ultimately be positive. My favorite stat Waiters has in his favor is that Waiters is a member of the best five man unit in the NBA. Let me reiterate.

THE LINEUP OF IRVING, WAITERS, GEE, THOMPSON, AND VAREJAO LEADS THE NBA IN +/-.

The Cavalier starters have outscored their opponents by 55 points when on the court together. That’s good for best in the league, with the Heat and Lakers’ starters tied for second, a full 22 points worse than the Cavs.

Dion is third among rookies in scoring (14.5 PPG) and fifth in efficiency (10.5). Back to back games with under 10 points, and shooting 3-16 in his last outing have fans in a mini panic, but patience will be the key with Dion. Sit back, enjoy the ride, and pray to god it stays on track.

5. Andre Drummond (Last Week: Not Ranked)

In only 15 minutes a night, Andre Drummond, the big question mark out of  Connecticut, is impressing up in the Motor City. Despite being on the worst team in the league, Drummond is second among qualified rookies in EFF48 making him the second most effective rookie while he is on the court. Drummond has a small sample size of minutes, but in extended action last Friday at Oklahoma City, the rookie had a career high 22 points to go with his 8 rebounds. Maybe Drummond has found something in his new secret move and he’ll have some big scoring nights, but if he can at least commit himself on the defensive end, and on the glass he will make Detroit fans happy. Drummond leads all rookies in rebounding rate and times being challenged to a game of horse on the street. The offense will continue to be a major project, but for now Drummond’s effort and athleticism is enough to encourage.

Honorable Mention

Alexey Shved (Last Week: Not Ranked)

Shved is in the same crop as Drummond, Singler, Beal, Barnes, and Valenciunas,  but because of his perfectly groomed facial hair Shved earns some honorable mention. This Russian, 23 year old is having a noteworthy rookie campaign so far in Minnesota. He’s great in pick and roll situations and is really giving the shorthanded Timberwolves a spark during their 5-3 start. It’s also worth remembering the Cavaliers were one of the teams rumored to be interested in Shved’s services.

Zeller Report

Tyler Zeller continues to be out with a broken bone in his face and a concussion4. He is slated to return Saturday against the Mavericks, which cannot come soon enough for the Cavaliers as their bench can use all the help they can get.

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Footnotes:

  1. I may or may not have been one of them []
  2. Unless you’re watching four stoners try and find an imaginary animal on Finding Bigfoot []
  3. Lebron leads the entire leauge, while Varejao is second []
  4. It must have been more serious than Anthony Davis’ peach-grade concussion, Zeller’s appears to be more of a marroon-grade concussion []

Cavaliers Free Fall in Latest ESPN Power Rankings

For a while there, the Cavaliers were making believers of ESPN’s Marc Stein. Then, of course, the book ends of the starting lineup, Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao both got injured, and boy did Stein make them pay for it in his latest power rankings. He dropped the Cavaliers 8 spots from #17 to #25. He writes:

The Cavs got watchable again far sooner than expected … so naturally calamity strikes to fell both Kyrie (concussion) and Varejao (fractured wrist). There’s nothing yet to suggest that the rook is in lasting danger, but the Varejao news is a crusher, since they can neither play him nor trade him now.

Can’t really argue with that too much. There’s no question the Cavaliers are a dramatically different team with Andy than without him, and his absence is going to make the Cavaliers a much worse team. Kyrie Irving’s eventual return will help, but the rookie can’t do it on his own. Right now, he needs Andy.

Until the Cavaliers have both Kyrie and Andy playing at full strength again, their recent threats of relevancy will be subdued back into the abyss.

While We’re Waiting… Paging Holmgren, Bucks/Badgers, and NBA Power Rankings

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

Second thoughts, President Holmgren? “Not sure if the new team president has recovered from watching Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme suffer severely sprained ankles, but I bet I know what most Browns fans are thinking.

As my wife said, “Welcome to Cleveland, Mike. You ain’t seen nothing yet.” [Terry Pluto]

Breaking down Joe Thomas’ breakdown: “The difficulty with watching offensive linemen – unless you know what was supposed to happen, it’s hard to know what actually happened.” [Doug Farrar/The OBR - S/R]

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While We’re Waiting… NBA Power Rankings, Brian Orakpo’s Pro Day, and a Pavano Sighting

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.

lebron-james-cavs-nets

Second day in a row that we lead with Power Rankings: “1. Cavaliers (57-13) The Cavs shouldn’t be considered just title contenders anymore. They should be considered the favorites. Nine straight wins heading into tonight’s game against New Jersey, on pace to win 65-plus games and only one loss at home this season. What more do they have to do?” [Matt Steinmetz/NBA FanHouse]

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While We’re Waiting… Wally’s Role, NBA Power Rankings and a Destination for Manny

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. 

Wally Szczerbiak on his role with the Cavaliers: “”Wherever you need that guy to come in and plug a hole, I’ve been capable of doing that. Whatever we need, I’m there to do — anything that’s going to get me out there on the floor for more minutes. I’m just going to work my butt off, and we can pose matchup problems on the other end, too. Mike’s such a good coach that he realizes that. If I’m guarding a center, the center’s got to guard me out there on the perimeter.” [Cleveland.com via Eric Musselman

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