Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers Preview

The Cleveland Cavaliers season kicks off tonight against the Washington Wizards in Washington with more questions after a surprising first round pick and very few answers after a better than expected start last season and struggle to the finish.

The Cavaliers hopes for a playoff berth start with Kyrie Irving running the point.
Irving won the rookie of the year award last season,but missed time with injury and broke his hand in the off season.
Combining Irving's issues with his injury in his one season at Duke,this is an area of concern.
Irving's defense is a area of improvement,but his offensive skills make me think of having the potential to be perhaps the best point guard in Cavalier history.
Sorry,Mark Price...

Controversial first rounder Dion Waiters will start in the backcourt with Irving.
Waiters struggled in the summer league after coming in overweight and did not dazzle anyone in the pre-season either.
Waiters strikes me as a player that will need to show his value putting the ball in the hole because he sure doesn't seem to have a ton of said value on the defensive end or in the all around game.

Last season's surprise breakout player starts at small forward as Alonzo Gee was re-signed after testing the free agent market.
Gee is explosive to the basket and is the most athletic defender that the team possesses as well.

Tristan Thompson starts at the 4 spot. Thompson is a strong shot blocker and rebounder,but needs to develop his touch around the hoop.
If Thompson develops properly,he could be a 14 point and 12 rebounding type,but he will have to work on his short game or rely a lot on dunks in order to put those numbers on the board.

Anderson Varejao is back from injury after a terrific start last season.
On a good team,I would prefer to play Varejao at power forward,but on this team,the "Wild Thing" has to play the pivot.
Varejao is undersized to play center,but he'll still get his numbers especially on the boards and his hustle is infectious for both teammates and fans.
Varejao's value would be even higher as a role player to a contender,so keep in mind that the trade rumors will start assuming he stays healthy.

The bench features an occasional ray of hope and the various roster fillers as well.

C.J.Miles was signed from Utah to add the scoring pop off the bench and Miles seriously challenged Dion Waiters for the starting job at shooting guard.
Instead,Byron Scott decided to have Miles come off the bench and be the top option of the second unit.
Miles can play small forward as well and is just 23,despite entering his seventh year in the league.

Daniel Gibson returns as the gunner off the bench,but Gibson has issues staying healthy and seems to be on his way out.
The popular Texas product is one dimensional,but can light it up on the right night.

Donald Sloan was re-signed after a mid-season cameo as the point guard backup and he will battle with former Memphis Grizzly Jeremy Pargo for minutes as the backup to Kyrie Irving.
I don't know much about Pargo,so I am open minded on this issue.

The forwards have the disappointment of last year in Omri Casspi.
Casspi struggled with his shot and often seemed intimidated against rougher teams.
Casspi might be best used as a large jump shooter to shoot over smaller forwards on defense,although he will struggle to defend the quicker players.

Samardo Samuels might be down to his last chance as a Cavalier.
The bull-like Samuels will be competing for minutes at the power forward with second year man Jon Leuer,who spent last season with the Bucks.
Leuer is taller,Samuels wider,it will be interesting to see which becomes the preferred option.

Fan favorite Luke Harangody and possible expiring contract trade chip Luke Walton round out the bench.

The backup center is first rounder rookie Tyler Zeller of North Carolina.
I like what I have seen of Zeller thus far and I think his development this season might influence a possible decision to move Varejao.
Zeller has a soft shooting touch and he is more physical than you might expect.

I expect a season similar to last season that features growth, hopefully a surprise like Alonzo Gee was last year and an occasional win over a good team to enjoy.
I figure 30 wins is the over/under mark.


Ryan H. said...

I didn't realize Leuer was on even on the roster. He had some solid outings for the Bucks last season when they actually used him. He could be a useful bench player, but he plays the kind of game that NBA coaches don't like anymore, for some reason.

Shawn said...

Yep,he was an off-season signing because the Bucks released him.He has the size the Cavaliers lack and I think if he can play physically,he could get some decent PT off the bench..