Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cavs first round pick Dion Waiters gets to the rack

Getty Images
Thursday night, the Cavaliers followed through on HOURS of speculation that started, well, earlier Thursday, and indeed took Syracuse sophomore shooting guard Dion Waiters with the #4 pick. The first three picks dashed the hopes of the wine and gold faithful, when Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bradley Beal went off the board. Cavs fans had started to cope with the prospect of the enigma Harrison Barnes, but then David Stern fought through the boos to deliver Waiters to Cleveland.

I have to admit, I'm not the biggest college basketball nerd out there. I may be the least of college basketball fans (as I'm one of the minority who prefers the pro game). But I have read up about the draft quite a bit. I'd been so heavily invested in a small (5 or 6) group of players who I thought the Cavaliers would consider, that I didn't even look at Dion Waiters until today.

What We Think: Cavs and NBA Draft Predictions

alt 2012 NBA Draft

June 28, 2012

Who we want for the Cavaliers (excluding Anthony Davis)
Cavs Prediction
#2-3-4-5 Prediction
I know the rules, but I'd still try to trade everything under the sun for Anthony Davis.

I love that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is full of leadership, hustle, and drive, but when a positive comment by an NBA player include "I wouldn't say he's a great ball handler or shooter or rebounder," it makes me nervous.

So I guess the scoring of Bradley Beal would be my preference.
The Cavs seem to love Harrison Barnes. I don't know why, he doesn't strike me as extra special, when his "best case upside" is in the Luol Deng category. But he knows how to score, and the Cavs need it. I guess they stick at #4, with Barnes. 
#2: Thomas Robinson
#3: Bradley Beal
#4: Harrison Barnes
#5: Michael Kidd-Gilcrist

I've been listing to the talking heads, podcasts and surfing the web trying to figure out who I think the best pick for the Cavs will be.

After much deliberation I think the pick should be MKG.

Bradley Beal would also be nice, but for what everyone says, MKG's work ethic/leadership is off the charts, and with the type of work he puts in on the court, I'm sure he will find a way to correct his flawed jumper.
I'm not really sure what to expect from the Cavs with this pick. Everyone knows they need scoring from the wing, and someone who can play well off the ball.

Harrison Barnes makes me nervous, with his so-so tournament play. Bradley Beal can score, and will be able to from day 1.

Even though I think they should draft MKG, Bradley Beal will be the pick for the Cavs. He will be able to contribute offensively from game 1, and will finally give the Cavs another option on offense, and another player for defenses to worry about.  Unfortunately, they are going to have to move up to get him, the question is at what cost?


Either Kidd-Gilchrist or Beal would look nice in a Cavaliers uniform. While I like Beal's scoring potential, he's tabbed as a bit of a tweener due to his size. MKG's  outside shot is a question mark, but with his motor and Kyrie Irving at the point, he'll get plenty of open looks. Give me some MKG in 2013!
MKG comes to the Cavs. Why not? I expect MJ to cock up the second pick somehow, or maybe Chris Grant can fleece Michael on a trade. It would be a small measure of revenge for all the years Jordan tormented us on the court. Make it so, Chris.
#5: Robinson
Not a huge fan of Barnes but I think Kyrie Irving would make him (or anyone on this list) better so I'm feeling OK at #4.

I wanted Robinson when he destroyed OSU but know he's a tweener. I guess MKG or Beal from what I've heard from "experts", but could live with Barnes

If I'm Chris Grant, and I am in my daydreams, I take MKG. And if the Wizards try and cock-block, then I'll give Ernie Grunfield #4 and #24 to swap spots. 

So MKG can't shoot? Don't care-- some of my favorite players have managed to dominate games without a reliable jumper, among them: Magic Johnson, Gary Payton, Dennis Rodman, Jason Kidd and now, Rajon Rondo. MKG is soaking with intangibles, and he destroyed Barnes last March. It's time to draft a player that wants to win as badly as we do. Gym rats, unite.
Word is the Cavs have fallen hard for Beal, if they can make a deal with former arch-nemesis MJ to move up two spots. If not, Cleveland, won't you please welcome the underachieving, overrated forward from UNC. Barnes lost me even before he played a game for the Tar Heels, with this Decision-like video announcing his commitment to Carolina (fast forward to 2:42, when Barnes skypes his choice to the orgasmic delight of his fawning classmates). Shame on Roy Williams for playing along, and making a recruit bigger than his program. Moreover, Barnes looked sickeningly uncompetitive while squeaking by OU in the tournament. 
#2:        Beal
#3:      MKG
#4:    Barnes
#5: Robinson
Want Bradley Beal, but don't see it happening. Harrison.
#2: Robinson
#3: Beal
#4: Harrison
#5: MKG
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist MKG
#3: Robinson

Perez at it again, and his timing couldn't be worse

Indians closer Chris Perez has crazy facial hair, "an arm like a f*ckin cannon" and the moxie of ten similarly sized men. What he doesn't have is a filter between his brain and mouth. At times, such glibness can be refreshing, particularly in an era when modern athletes are largely PR-programmed robots with cut-and-paste responses to most media inquiries.

Alas, this is not one of those times.

In an interview with The New York Times on Monday, with the Indians sunk in another valley of what  has been a queasily up-and-down campaign, Perez rehashed his controversial comments from earlier in the season about the Tribe's poor attendance.

"It's head-scratching. It's just — they don't come out." Perez said.  "But around the city, there's great support. They watch it in the bars. They watch it at home. They just don't come." 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A complete rundown of the top NBA draft prospect videos

Mike Schmitz at has done a superb job compiling videos of all the top college prospects leading into Thursday's NBA Draft. Given that the Cleveland Cavaliers are sitting ______ (pretty, sadly, unfortunately?) at #4, and #24, and #33 and #34 , it is a complete mystery who will fall into their lap they will end up selecting, at these spots or at spots higher or lower.

We all have our wish lists, and given that the only player it appears that Dan Gilbert won't be able to land, despite his attempts, is Kentucky frosh phenom (froshnom?) Anthony Davis. Too bad. Irving to Davis would have been been epic for years. Just two weeks ago, it appeared that Dan Gilbert's prediction had a chance to come true. Then the ping pong balls didn't fall Cleveland's way, and TGiM decided to try up to his potential and play like the best player in history, like he didn't for the Cavs against Boston. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So after checking out the options, who are you hoping for? Our wish list will show up on Thursday. Each video is quite long and detailed.


Kentucky sophomore SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

North Carolina sophomore SF Harrison Barnes

Florida freshman SG Bradley Beal

Connecticut freshman C Andre Drummond

Connecticut sophomore SG Jeremy Lamb

Kansas junior PF Thomas Robinson

And, for shits and giggles...

Ohio State sophomore PF Jared Sullinger

Kentucky freshman PF Anthony Davis

Time to reflect on the Heat Championship

It's now been six days since the Heat beat the Thunder to win the championship. Six days to cool off from the emotions.

Getty Images
The emotions for an event that I (and all Cleveland fans) were rooting so hard against. For obvious reasons. But this time, That Guy in Miami just came up absolutely huge. It shouldn't surprise any Cavaliers fan that TGiM could dominate as many games as he did to close out a season. It just pains us to see him actually do it for another team. And infuriates us that he didn't seem to ever give full effort in bringing a championship to Cleveland. Between not helping collect free agent help, not committing long term, or outright quitting on the team, the list of grievances is long. And that list came out with full fury in the wake of "The Decision."

All though the playoffs last year and this, the interwebs were filled with mockups of "Mavaliers", "Windiana", and "OKCLE." Shit, we were even rooting for the Boston Celtics, of all teams. But this year, all that hoping that was so blissfully fulfilled by the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, could not be repeated in 2012.

And to be honest, I guess I'm okay with it now. When Game 2 ended with a blatent no-call on LeBron James fouling Kevin Durant on the baseline, I had a knowing pain in the pit of my stomach. And it didn't let up, even though I still had faith in OKC, for the rest of the series. (Until the third quarter of Game 5, I guess.) When the final buzzer sounded and Miami started celebrating, I expected that I would turn the television off and go on a national media blackout for a few days.

But I didn't. I did what I've always done. Whether it's the Denver Broncos, the Florida Marlins, the Pittsburgh Steelers, or the Boston Celtics, I've always watched the celebration. Absorbed the joy from them. Seethed in self-pity. And put those feelings in a vault. To be uncorked when a Cleveland team finally wins a championship. With the two bottles of $7 "champagne" I still have sitting in my liquor cabinet, bought on a cold October night in 1997.

Friday, June 22, 2012

WEWS' Mark Johnson didn't like the Heat forecast

Well I still haven't processed all the emotions, but fortunately I didn't have to go on live television shortly after the Heat, gulp, won the NBA Title.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, WEWS's Mark Johnson did. With hilarious results.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Game 1 of The Finals brings back deja vu

Well, game one of the 2012 NBA Finals is in the book--and the story brings back lots of memories.

Unstoppable tonight. Look familiar? (Reuters)
Of playoffs past. Of LeBron James. But I'm not talking about the false narrative (that I've never floated here) that he chokes in crunch time or can't ever win a championship. (Although I'll most likely go to my grave rooting against him ever getting one one.) What I mean is that feeling.  That feeling that every single person on the floor, every single person in the stands, and every single person watching on TV knows--who's getting the ball, and that there's nothing in the world that will keep that man from scoring.

Tonight it wasn't LeBron's turn. It wasn't 2007. It was 2012, and it was Kevin Durant.

Making the opposing team look slow. And old. And utterly unable to stop him late. TGiM did not have a bad game. Forget comparing the fourth quarter stats of Durant and James. Irrelevant.  NBA's studio analysts just showed a stat that they seemed to think indicted James for his poor fourth quarter play. But the truth is, James had a solid game, all the way through. Just not transcendent.  Seven points in the fourth, an average of 7 and change each period before that. Big deal. It wasn't TGiM or his sidekicks that lost this game, it was KD that won it.

But his opponent was transcendent. 36 points from Kevin Durant, 17 in the fourth quarter. And for a big stretch of it, everyone knew he was going to take the ball, and do whatever he wanted with it. Just like Cavaliers fans knew in May 2007.

(By the way, when I quickly Googled Game 5 of the Pistons-Cavs series, I noticed the tone of the AP story talked about how the Cavaliers prided themselves not on being a one-man team, but LeBron just chose (rightfully in this case) to take over. I'm sick of the "no support" argument.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In Cleveland, it's another year of living vicariously

For Cavaliers fans, the strange bedfellowing of last year's NBA Finals continues this summer, just with a different potential paramour. The question is, what kind of relationship can we really have when our newest crush barely knows we exist?

Last season's wooing of the Dallas Mavericks was all hand-holding and restaurant desserts, admittedly. The wounds of The Decision were still fresh, and Clevelanders happily climbed into Mark Cuban's bunk as his team sent the Heat back into the swirling vortex of evil from whence they came.

The Cavs for Mavs movement was a fun and ultimately cathartic frolic for a fanbase one ugly season removed from the departure of That Guy in Miami (TGiM).  There was a savage satisfaction in Miami's ouster, made doubly lovely by James's undeniable role in his team's defeat. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012 dismisses Celtics, hopefully the SWAG sparks 'em

Wow. It didn't take a genius to realize that any team with LeBron James and the ESPN/NBA marketing machine behind them was almost guaranteed a game six victory on Thursday night, but this is a bit much.
The store was preemptively selling "Beat the Heat" shirts yesterday. Not in Celtic green Thunder blue (if that is a thing.) BEFORE GAME 7 OF THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS!
I'm going to go out on a limb and say KG doesn't like that. If I could get a case of them fedexed to him in Miami before Game 7 tonight, I would.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Horseshoe Diaries

In June, 1994, I stood at the corner of West 3rd & Ontario St. and everything was in front of me. Not just the hot dog vendor and the Cuyahoga County Administration Building where I was interning, but also the future of my city and the entirety of my adult life. A few miles south, our exhilarating new ballpark stood unblemished, home of the first place Indians. A few miles north, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was finally under construction. It would become the holiest place on earth for me, but, at that point, I had no visions of the teary, cathartic Saturday afternoons I would spend under that glass tent or the emotional World Series that was just fifteen months away. I knew only of the immediacy those summer days offered: lunch beneath the Moses Cleveland statue, surging optimism, unhinged possibilities, etc. And somewhere on the radio, "Black Hole Sun" was playing. Chris Cornell begged, "my youth, I pray to keep." I heard that lyric a thousand times, but, regretfully, I never prayed with him.