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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Parallels are Staggering...

As draft day approaches, two things are clear:  The #1 and #2 players are obvious to everyone.  With the #4 pick, Cleveland fans are trying to decide what the team will do.  Will they make a move to trade up to #2?  Will they (gasp) trade down?  Will they just take the best player on the board at 4 and continue rebuilding a team that is in serious need of help?   Am I talking about the NFL or the NBA?

Yes, I'm talking about the upcoming NBA Draft, but really, it's eerily similar to what we as Cleveland fans went through leading up to the NBA draft.  The Browns tried to make a move up to the #2 spot to get RG3 but that failed.  In a last minute surprise to all fans, they traded up to #3 and got what may be the start of the future for the Browns in Trent Richardson.  Can we expect the same from the Cavaliers?

Anthony Davis will go #1.  Period.  Done Deal.  Start selling his New Orleans Hornets jerseys now. Next will be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at #2. Again, Done Deal. The question, however, is which team will take him? Can the Cavs move up? Do they want to?

Draft day deals, to my memory, are not as prevalent in the NBA as they are in the NFL. Of course, the NFL Draft marathon of 7 rounds over a 4 day period leads many teams to jockey for position and concern themselves with "value picks" and "diamonds in the rough."  In the NBA, however, there is less pomp and circumstance, and only 2 rounds. You just don't see a lot of movement like you do in the NFL.  But it could happen.

With the #2 pick, Charlotte, much like Washington in the NFL, is ripe for trade offers.  They need a ton of players and  you could argue that the Cavaliers (again, like the Browns in the NFL) have the most to offer for that #2.
We could give up the #4, #33, and #34 and I wouldn't bat an eye.  To get MKG? Are you kidding?  They can also package in players.  If they look to someone like Fab Melo or Jared Sullinger in the 2nd round, they could through Anderson Varegao (sniff whimper sniff) into the mix.  It's possible to get a deal done.  It could happen.

So as fans, the parallels are truly staggering to me.  It's like deja vu all over again and I can say from experience I'm pretty happy with how the Browns ended up once the NFL draft was over.  Let's hope we are all as happy with the Cavaliers once the NBA draft is completed.  As Cleveland Sports Fans, the hope and excitement for next year would be amazing if we had TWO teams in this town with players that they whole world would be watching. What's not to like?

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Cleveland Cavaliers - WrapUp

After six years of enjoying playoff basketball here in Cleveland with the Cavaliers, the past couple seasons have been, to say the least, rough. However. I do think some positive things came out of this season and Cavs fans should be very optimistic that we are close to not only making the playoffs, but being a dominant force in the league again. At least that's the way I feel about the Cavs - maybe after reading my reasons, you'll understand and be hopeful too!

2010-11 was an incredibly painful year of basketball for this city. After all the fun and success the Cavs had, life without whats-his-name proved to be even worse than we anticipated. 19-63. Wow. Whoda thunk it? And 26 games in a row? Yikes! Everyone I talked to was complaining and moaning about how bad the Cavs were and even the hope of at op lottery pick didn't lift their spirits. We took each loss personally and blamed he-who-shall-not-be-named for our pain.

Which brings us to the 2011 NBA Draft - the beginning of a new era in Basketball for Cleveland. We staked our future on Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and 2nd year Head Coach Byron Scott. And even though we finished the strike-shortened season a lowly 21-45, I think we're on the right path!

I learned 3 things this season that leave me feeling positive about the future. First, Byron Scott is rocking the job of Head Coach. He's got a talent for developing young players, specifically Point Guards, and that is evident in the way Kyrie Irving matured during the season. While even I complained about the limits he put on playing time for some of the guys, I'm willing to wait for the payoff. He commands the respect of his players and it is clear that he is the leader in the "huddle" during time-outs, etc. It's nice to see a coach that is in charge for a change. (No offense, Mike Brown.)

Second, I learned that Kyrie Irving is the Real Deal. This kid is special and everyone who watched him play last year could see it. He was NBA Rookie of the Month not once, not twice, (ha) but FOUR TIMES! He's the front-runner for Rookie of the Year. And, most importantly, he's a TEAM player. He has shown so much growth and a maturity on the court that I wasn't expecting. He's made a believer out of me - and many other Cavs fans.

Now, Tristan Thompson. Hm. That's a different situation. I knew he was a "project" when they drafted him. Byron Scott had his work cut out for him, getting TT up-to-snuff for the NBA game. Being the Big Bad Defender on the Block is great in college, but in the Big Leagues, you have to have an offensive presence as well. Even if it's at the foul line, you have to contribute to the scoring - and 55% ain't gonna cut it. Yes, he was improving in March and April and finished the year over 60% from the line, but we need more from him. I think the Cavs underestimated the amount of time it would take for his development. I think he'll be fine, but I also think it's going to be a couple more years before we are excited to have him on the team.

Finally, I learned that Anderson Varejao is going to be VERY HARD TO REPLACE. The popular opinion in town has always been that we need to trade Andy while his value is high. Well, regardless of his wrist injury, the one stat that grabs my attention is the fact that the Cavs closed out the season a dismal 11-30 without Andy on the court. It's obviously not his scoring ability that they missed - it was his energy. No one else stepped up and motivated these guys when he was out. I understand trade value, but frankly you can't replace everything else he brings to the party and (girlie crush aside) I would hate to see him go. Hopefully I'll never have to find out - at least not for a few more year. :)

So. Final stat of the year.... 21-45. I can theorize that in a full season, they were on pace to be 27-55. While that is still really bad, it's an improvement over last year (I know, little consolation there). And yet I never really looked at the wins/losses or worried about them this year. And most people I talked to had no clue what their record was. We were just talking about "Did you see Kyrie last night" and "man, what a great 4th quarter comeback." We understood the rebuilding process and bought into it - hook, line, and jump shot. And that's good enough for me!

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate