April 17, 2014

Silver lining on the Varejao injury, the rebuild moves forward

Anderson VarejaoIt’s hard not to feel some pain for Anderson Varejao after hearing the news that his knee contusion was in fact a torn muscle in his leg. Memories of Andy winning the game with a buzzer beating 3-pointer against Atlanta, and giving Ray Allen the business during a national televised game against the Celtics are two of my favorite moments I’ve enjoyed at the Q. I’ve really never enjoyed watching basketball more than watching Andy and LeBron fly around the court together.

That being said, Andy’s injury increases the Cavs’ chances of completing a successful rebuild.

The longer Andy is off the court, the worse this team is.

The worse this team is, the more ping pong balls they have in the lottery.1

The more ping pong balls in the lottery, the better chance of landing a superstar.

[Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. The lottery is won with a winning four ball combination. For simplicity’s sake let’s use ping pong balls as the example instead of how many four ball combinations a team has. []

Gordon has serious shot at 1,000-yard year

Rookie Browns receiver Josh Gordon, a.k.a. Gordo, is having one of the best rookie seasons in Browns history with 34 catches, 646 yards, and five touchdowns.With four games remaining, Gordo needs to average 89 receiving yards per game to hit the millennium mark.

Time after time this year, Gordon has blazed1 by the defense to haul in a Weeden bomb for a long gain. His big play ability has made the Browns offense even fun to watch at times this year. And that’s saying a lot for an offense that in recent memory has looked as if they were playing a different sport than Green Bay, New England, and New Orleans.

If Gordo is able to reach 1,000 yards, it will mark only the 11th time in Browns history a player has done so, and will be the first since both Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow did so during The Season of Dreams in 2007. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. No pun intended… []

ESPN.com: Kyrie Irving Having Better Rookie Season Than LeBron James?

ESPN.com’s Justin Havens has a fascinating article posted in which he uses several statistical measures to show that Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving is having a better rookie season than Chris Paul or LeBron James had.

The whole article is pretty fascinating, but Havens especially points out what Kyrie Irving might ultimately mean to the Cavaliers organization:

Previous to Irving, the last time the Cavaliers had the first pick in the NBA Draft, they took LeBron James, and we all know how that turned out.

The good news for Cleveland fans is that Irving’s performance as a rookie is on pace to best what James did his first year in Cleveland, outdistancing James in scoring and assists per 36 minutes, as well as Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares per 48 minutes.

In fact, his current 21.8 PER would place him 11th on the all-time Cavaliers list, not just among rookies, among players with at least 2,000 minutes played.

When you limit it to non-LeBron James seasons, Irving would jump to fifth, trailing only the best seasons for Brad Daugherty, Terrell Brandon and Mark Price.

Obviously the season is still very young and Irving could end up getting hurt or seeing his performance fall back to rookie levels. And truth be told, comparing a rookie in a 66 game schedule to a rookie in an 82 game schedule is never a fair comparison to make.

But still, the numbers are what they are. Through 13 games this year Kyrie Irving has played like a superstar, and he’s only a rookie. The kid is going to get better and the Cavaliers have to feel awfully good about where they sit with Irving today.

[Related: Elias: Kyrie Irving Enters Cavaliers’ Record Books]

Rookie TJ Ward Drawing Rave Reviews From Teammates

The Browns have only completed three-plus days of full-team drills, but rookie safety TJ Ward has already been turning a few heads in Berea.  Whether he is playing in the passing lanes or forcing and recovering fumbles, Ward has stepped in with the first team defense right out of the gate and has not looked back.

Ward’s teammate and fellow starting stafety Abram Elam has taken note of the rookie’s progress since being drafted this past April and was quick to acknowledge how far his new colleague has come in such a short time.

[Read more...]

WFNY talks with Browns WR Carlton Mitchell

I had the privilege to speak with Carlton Mitchell. Here are pieces of that conversation. Carlton was drafted in the 6th round out of South Florida. He gave up his Senior season to enter the draft. At USF he ran the 400 meters for the track team. He is the son of a professional basketball player, as his father Carl played in Europe. His mother is no stranger to sports either, but we’ll let Carlton tell you about that.

“My mother is a nurse and an anesthesiologist. And she’s a cut-woman for Antonio Tarver. She also manages a fighter. She works with the Buccaneer Swashbucklers, the cheerleaders. In the fifth grade I actually did some stuff on the sidelines with them. I was actually there when Keyshawn (Johnson) scored his first touchdown.”

On sports growing up-

“I did football, basketball and track. But baseball was my first sport. I did pitcher, first base and third. Actually, that was my first love, baseball, but my friends all went out for football, so I went out with them. Then I fell in love with that sport and stopped playing baseball altogether.”

[Read more...]

Browns RB Montario Hardesty Agrees to a Four-Year Deal

Continuing the trend of singing in reverse order, the Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms with second-round running back Montario Hardesty.  The Plain Dealer reported early this morning that the terms of the deal have not been fully disclosed, but the length of the contract is allegedly four years.

The Browns traded up to obtain Hardesty’s services this past April and the former Tennessee Volunteer managed to vault himself up the depth charts due to strong participation in organized team activities.  His subsequent praise forced would-be holdouts Jerome Harrison and Lawrence Vickers to sign waivers and participate with the team despite not having a contract in place.

[Read more...]

Rookie Free Agent Roulette

We knew about most of these, but the Browns announced the signing of 14 un-drafted rookies today. (Thanks Barry)

The list includes a few local products, including DB Bryan Williams who grew up in Akron, graduating from Buchtel High School. Bryan played for the Zips doing a little bit of everything, including returning kicks. Other players with Ohio ties are DB Antonio Smith who played his college ball at Bowling Green, and DL Adam Hoppel who played for the Bearcats. Brecksville native Mike Massey played TE for that team up north, and Youngstown’s  Branndon Braxton (OL) went to Oklahoma.

Here’s the full list- [Read more...]