April 23, 2014

NBA News: Cavs’ Tyler Zeller suffered concussion, fractured cheekbone

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie center Tyler Zeller will miss some time after suffering a non-displaced fracture of the orbital cheekbone and a concussion in Monday night’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal reports that a wayward elbow from Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has landed the 17th-overall pick in the NBA’s concussion process where he will undergo a litany of tests until his state is cleared for play. While there is no timetable for his return, it is safe to assume that the 22-year-old big man will be wearing a mask when on the court.

In Monday night’s contest, Zeller finished with 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting, seven boards (four offensive), two assists, one steal. Samardo Samuels will likely see increased playing time in Zeller’s absence.

[Related: Cavaliers’ coaster ride heads back up in win over the Clippers]

Pluto: Thompson, Samuels Owning Cavs’ Training Facility

With Cavaliers season expected to tip off in just four weeks, the Wine and Gold are receiving excellent returns on a pair of young post players.  The Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto has the scoop on Tristan Thompson and Samardo Samuels, two players who will have to see substantial improvement if this extremely young Cavaliers roster1 is to progress from back-to-back lottery seasons.

“Tristan Thompson has spent more time at the practice facility than any Cavalier this summer,” writes Pluto. “The goal for the 6-9 power forward is to average 10 rebounds and 10 to 12 points. He averaged 10.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in 28 starts last season — and they want that rebounding number to rise. He’s only 21.

A year ago, Samardo Samuels arrived at camp close to 20 pounds overweight,” he continues. “He has been at the facility often this season and is in excellent shape, say team sources. With Jamison gone to Lakers, power forward is wide open. Thompson is expected to start. The Cavs want four big men for center/power forward. Three spots are taken by Thompson, Varejao and rookie Tyler Zeller. That leaves Samuels competing with undrafted free agents Michael Eric (Temple), Kevin Jones (West Virginia) and Jon Leuer (acquired on waivers).”

As for Samuels’ competition, the team went to decent lengths to acquire Jones immediately following the draft. Eric earned his spot due to his size as well as a fairly impressive run with the team’s Summer League squad. Leuer impressed many in his limited time last season, providing several highly efficient, double-digit scoring efforts for the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Footnotes:

  1. Anderson Varejao, turning 30, will be the oldest player on the 15-man roster []

Byron Scott: Only Varejao and Irving are Guaranteed Starters

“If you look at our team, Kyrie (Irving) and Andy (Varejao) are the only starters,” he said. “Tristan (Thompson), C.J. (Miles) and Dion (Waiters) will have to earn it.”

That’s the latest on the starting lineup thinking process from Cavs head coach Byron Scott, via Bob Finnan’s report for the News-Herald. Scott shared his excitement about the Miles signing with Finnan, even though the young small forward won’t be a shoe-in for the starting position just yet.

Possible candidates also could include Alonzo Gee and Tyler Zeller, depending upon the size and shape of the eventual starting five. Regardless, these two would figure to be the first two guys off the bench if the first five names end up beginning games. Other remaining bench contributors would also be Omri Casspi, Samardo Samuels, Daniel Gibson, Jeremy Pargo and Luke Walton.

[Related: Random Cavaliers Off-Season Thoughts]

While We’re Waiting…Indians Bullpen Improving, Assessing Tom Heckert’s Work, Slimmed Down Samardo Impressing

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.

Bullpen rounding into form for the second half? “Now, it seems the pen is at least close to getting back to full strength and may not be something to worry about by July 31. That would be big for Cleveland to be able to focus on just the bat and/or starter in a trade.

It’s also big for Cleveland because the team is totally different with the bullpen going strong. The Tribe has the ability to pull out close games, late. If the middle reliever can keep a game close, the late-inning guys are a safe bet to do the same. Now, instead of seeing blowouts, you’ll have your Indians with a shot to win down the stretch of a lot of contests.

The bullpen is on the right track toward regaining its dominance of 2011. If it can get there, look out.” [Craig Gifford/DidTheTribeWinLastNight?]

[Read more...]

Samardo Samuels to Play for Jamaica in Centrobasket Championship

Good news for the Jamaican National team: Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Samardo Samuels has agreed to represent them in the upcoming Centrobasket Men’s Championship tournament to be held this June in Puerto Rico. Bad news for the Jamaican National team: Samuels is the headlining act, per The Jamaican Observer, as Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert — captain of the 2010 team — has requested release so that he could try out for United States team.

Other NBA players to play for Team Jamaica include Patrick Ewing Jnr, former player for the New York Knicks and New Orleans Hornets player, along with Ryan Reid of the Oklahoma Thunder and Jerome Jordan of the New York Knicks.

The Centrobasket Championship basketball tournament is organised by FIBA through FIBA Americas, with participating national teams of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Jamaica were drawn in Group B and will play Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and the US Virgin Islands. The 2012 Centrobasket qualifies four teams for the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship.

Samuels, 23, is coming off of his second season with the Cavaliers, averaging 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in 15 minutes per game. He admittedly showed up to training camp out of shape and had ocassional bouts with inconsistency. Samuels will look to help provide depth to the Cavs’ frontcourt in 2012-13. No word on if Samuels will also represent Jamaica in the 2014 bobsled events in Sochi.

[Related: Unearthing a Cavaliers Time Capsule]

(h/t to Brendan Bowers)

Louisville beats Florida, punches ticket to Final Four

You might not have had this in your bracket, but Samardo Samuels had it in his. Louisville headed to Final Four after beating Bradley Beal and the Florida Gators on Saturday.

Recap from the AP via USA Today:

Rick Pitino nudged out Billy Donovan for a spot in the Final Four on Saturday when his Louisville team finished the game on a 23-8 run for a 72-68 victory over Florida in the West Regional.

Chane Behanan hit the go-ahead basket with 1:04 left for fourth-seeded Louisville, then after two Cardinals free throws, Florida’s Bradley Beal and Erving Walker each missed chances to tie.

The seventh-seeded Gators (26-11) fell in the regional semifinals for the second straight year, while Louisville (30-9) will go to the Final Four for the ninth time, and the second under Pitino

Russ Smith led Louisville with 19 points and Behanan had 17. The Cardinals played the final 3:58 without point guard Peyton Siva, who fouled out.

The Gators shot 8 for 11 from 3-point range in the first half but didn’t make one in the second.

Quote: Byron Scott Weighing Options at Center

From a coach’s standpoint, you can have four or five bad games, you’re almost giving me no choice but to look elsewhere. With the way he’s playing, do I stick with him or try to find another piece who can help us in this puzzle that we have? I haven’t made up my mind yet.

- Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott on power forward/center Samardo Samuels who has had an up-and-down season, most recently capped off with a lost passport and defensive lapses. Samuels is in danger of losing his spot in the rotation to a now-healthy Semih Erden.

(Source: Jason Llyod, Akron Beacon-Journal)

NBA Lockout: Cavs PF Samardo Samuels is Working on His Jumper

Former Cavalier assistant coach Chris Jent may no longer be employed by the Cleveland NBA franchise, but this has not stopped him from helping improve the shot of players who don the Wine and Gold. 

Following in the footsteps of forwards LeBron James and JJ Hickson, 22-year-old power forward Samardo Samuels has reportedly spent time with Jent during the impasse-ridden offseason, hoping to improve his game away from the basket.  Per The Plain Dealer’s Mary Schmitt Boyer, Samuels has been working on his game for the last several months, ranging from private workouts to Impact League basketball out in Las Vegas, teaming up with the likes of New York Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups.

Within the interview with Boyer, Samuels spoke highly of being able to play alongside guys who know how to win basketball games - “Everybody can dunk these days,” the 265-pound bruising big man said, “but you remember wins.”  And while the fun and winning and high-level intramural basketball is all well and good, it is his work with Jent that could help transition Samuels from a player who contributed to a 19-win team to one who could help be a key contributor to an NBA team beyond his early-20s.  [Read more...]

Cavs lose a game to the Clippers that made sense for them to win

Entering the month of March it would’ve been fair to assume that the Cavaliers as an organization probably only wanted to win two more games. 

The game against Juwan Howard and the Heat on March 29th being one, and the other being this latest loss to Blake Griffin and the Clippers 100-92 yesterday.

With an opportunity to make a direct impact on the ping pong ball possibilities they received in exchange for Mo Williams, Jamario Moon, and the rights to the gooseneck hand signal, the Cavaliers fell short in the final few minutes. 

Had that call on Blake the Almighty stayed a travel and not been flipped to a foul on Samardo Samuels with just over three minutes to go, maybe the Cavaliers would’ve rallied from down 5. 

But it wasn’t and they didn’t.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers in every category, with game highs in points (30) and assists (8) and a team high (8) rebounds.  He played like the beast that he is.  For his part, JJ Hickson just about kept pace on the offensive end scoring 28 of his own to go with a game high (9) rebounds, but it would not be enough.

If Samardo Samuels had kept his torrid pace of 14 early points going, and finished with what have projected out to about a game high 87, then maybe things would’ve been different.  But after starting red hot with those 14 he finished with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 fouls. [Read more...]

Ramon Sessions and Baron Davis: A Changing of the Guard?

As Baron Davis finishes addressing the media and chatting it up with various Cleveland Cavalier employees, he slaps on his over-sized eyewear and extends his left arm towards Ramon Sessions’ locker.

“Good game, Sesh,” Davis says as the two bump fists and the veteran guard proceeds to take on the rest of his night.

Though Sessions’ obliged his teammates’ show of camaraderie, the fact of the matter is that he has not been the same player since Davis arrived in Cleveland earlier this month.  [Read more...]

A great night in the Garden for your Cleveland Cavaliers

This one had to leave you almost as pumped up as Byron Scott was when Baron Davis’ three pointer secured the Cavs victory in New York last night with 10 seconds left.  It had everything you could ever want in a Cavs game. 

The Cavaliers rallied from multiple double digit deficits, and eventually erased a 12-point fourth quarter lead on their way to beating the New York Knicks  for the third time this season.  Carmelo called it a grudge match, and that’s the same way the young Cavaliers and their new lead guard treated it.

Nobody was trying to friend anybody out there, just a bunch of guys trying to not only intimidate each other but simply beat each other as well.  In a vaccuum, the type of effort on display in Friday night’s game was all we ever asked for as Cavs fans.  The fact that it was at the Garden, with Spike Lee and his Elmer Fudd looking hat sitting courtside, just made the victory that much sweeter.   [Read more...]

Alonzo Gee Answers the Call in 109-99 Loss to Spurs

On any given night, Cavaliers swingman Alonzo Gee isn’t quite sure what to expect.

Given the state of flux that has been the small forward spot for Byron Scott’s group in the 2010-11 season, Gee has seen his playing time come and go since being signed in late December.  However, with the team’s recent trade of Jamario Moon and Scott decision to pull back the reigns a bit on rookie Christian Eyenga, Gee was presented the opportunity to not only start against the San Antonio Spurs, but play considerable minutes against the team that gave him his first chance as a professional basketball player. 

The result: a season-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, a steal in transition and two three-pointers made as the Cavaliers battled, but came up on the short end of a 109-99 contest. 

[Read more...]

On Anderson Varejao’s Injury and What Exists Ahead for Cavaliers

Practices are typically a time of rest for Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao.

Earning the most playing time in his career to this point in the 2010-11 season, a team-high 32.1 minutes per game entering Sunday night, Cavaliers head coach has been taking it easy on his starting center when the team takes to the practice floor at the Cleveland Clinic Courts.  But as their luck would have it, in what is slowly becoming a season to forget, Varejao would fall victim to a foot injury while running a non-contact drill during Thursday’s practice. [Read more...]

Cavs Drop Fourth Straight, Mull Rotation Changes

Times could be a-changin’ in Independence.

In what should have been a road trip to help the Cleveland Cavaliers get back on track, the Wine and Gold suffered their fourth straight double-figure defeat on Sunday night.  Losing to the Detroit Pistons, 102-92, the Cavs dropped their third-straight game against a team which they had regularly defeated in seasons past.  But if December has proven anything, the 2010-11 season is in no way akin to anything this team (or fan base) has become accustomed used to.

Alas, Byron Scott has come to terms with several different issues, using many idioms to express his concern.  Following Saturday’s 34-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Scott said that his team needed to “pull their heads out of their you-know-where,” while officially questioning their heart and determination.  One night later, Scott went on record to say that the Cavaliers could be in for a bit of an augmentation when it comes to the roation and minutes played.

[Read more...]

Raptors Deliver Harsh Dose of Reality to Cavaliers, Cleveland Fans

It’s an entirely new feeling for Cleveland basketball fans. Overjoyed by the team’s surprise victory Wednesday night over the Boston Celtics, the Cavalier faithful fell right back down following a 101-81 loss to the Toronto Raptors Friday night.

In the start of what could be many painful games on the road, Toronto conquered the helpless Cavs in nearly every single facet of the game. Most notably, the absence of both Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao left Cleveland without two of their top starters and most consistent performers. Filling in Mo’s spot, new point guard Ramon Sessions struggled to consistently set up the offense, and although the Raptors are also projected to be one of the worst team’s in the Eastern Conference, they easily took advantage in front of the home court advantage.
[Read more...]

Source: Manny Harris to Nab Cavs’ 15th Roster Spot

Chris Grant may not have had any draft selections at his disposal this past spring, but the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers will likely head into the regular season with three rookies on their 15-man roster. 

Joining the athletic Christian Eyenga and undrafted Samardo Samuels will reportedly be another undrafted rookie in Manny Harris who, as a league source tells WFNY, has all but locked up the 15th roster spot on the Cavs, edging out last season’s second-round draft pick Danny Green.

Harris, out of Michigan, has earned the praise of new head coach Byron Scott through much of the preseason due to his work ethic on the defensive end and his scorers mentality with the ball in his hands.  While he may not be the most talented member of the backcourt, Scott allegedly appreciates Harris’ willingness to drive to the rim – most notably seen in his crunch-time barrage of scoring against Dallas last week.

[Read more...]

Cavaliers Must Improve During Texas Road Trip

The NBA preseason continues tonight and hopefully it will include a better effort from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite the absence of several key players from the expected rotation, it will be important for head coach Byron Scott to get more balanced play out of his Cavs than the last game against the Wizards.

Tonight the Cavaliers travel to Houston to face the Rockets (No TV broadcast). It’s the first of back-to-back games in the state of Texas for Cleveland including a contest tomorrow night in Dallas.

Last time out, the Cavs finished with a clunker against the Washington Wizards, falling by the score of 97-83. That was a sloppy affair that should have been much more competitive if the team played up to its full potential. Below the jump here are some keys to get for Cleveland to get back on the right track tonight.
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Cavaliers Waiting on Jawad Williams as Training Camp Approaches

Don’t look now, basketball fans, but the Cleveland Cavaliers open training camp in just a couple weeks. In fact, for those of you who follow the Cavs players on Twitter, you may have noticed that several players are already in town and working out at Cleveland Clinic Courts. The air is beginning to cool, the leaves are turning, football is on TV, and basketball will finally be here before we know it. This is one of the most exciting times of the year.

For the Cavaliers, before they can head into camp, there is still one unanswered question that is lingering. Will Jawad Williams be a part of this team in 2010-11? The restricted free agent small forward has yet to accept the qualifying offer the Cavaliers on the table for him, and time is running out for him to make up his mind on what he wants to do. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Add Samardo Samuels to Their Stable of Potential

The Cavaliers may not have had a draft pick this past June, but that has not stopped them from adding a rookie with some upside.  Reportedly agreeing to terms with Samardo Samuels, an undrafted 6-foot-9-inch, 240-pound power forward out of Louisville, the Cavs have managed to provide themselves with a potential frontcourt presence while not guaranteeing any compensation beyond the 2010-11 season.

The 21-year-old Samuels has provided mixed results over the past few years at the collegiate level.  He was a consensus top recruit out of high school ahead of guys like Tyreke Evans and DeMar DeRozan, but he seemingly failed to live up to expectations through two seasons with the Cardinals.  Apparently feeling like he was ready to move on to the next level, the wide-bodied big man opted to take a shot at the NBA where he would ultimately go undrafted.

[Read more...]