What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Monday, March 18, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for January and and February: 24. Cleveland Cavaliers

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of February 28th) :  20-38 (fifth place, Central Division)  

This Month:

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of February 28th)

Points Scored: 97.8 (15th)
Points Allowed: 101.0 (22nd)
Team FG%: .434 (27th)
Opponent’s FG%: .477 (30th)
Team FT%: .767 (12th)
Team Three Point FG%: .354 (17th)
Rebounds per game: 40.9 (25th)
Opponents rebounds per game: 41.8 (13th)
Turnovers per game: 14.1 (5th)
Opponents turnovers per game: 15.6 (5th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (as of February 28th)

Scoring (ppg): Kyrie Irving (23.3)
Rebounds per game:  Tristan Thompson (9.2)
Minutes per game: Kyrie Irving (35.2)
Assists per game: Kyrie Irving (5.6)
Field Goal Percentage: Tristan Thompson (.486)
Free Throw Percentage: Kyrie Irving (.850)
Three Point FG Percentage: Kyrie Irving (.426)
Steals per game: Kyrie Irving (1.6)
Blocked Shots per game: Tyler Zeller (0.9)

Worst Player of the Month: Alonzo Gee

Can someone tell me please why Cleveland fans are so enamored with Alonzo Gee?  He is not that great a player as he is rather poor shooter and contributes do little despite being one of the team's leaders in minutes played.  Offensively, he is rather inefficient shooting under .410 and averaging a little over ten points per game for the season while defensively he has proven to be average at best.  More than likely Gee would not make the roster on any other NBA team, let alone start for one as he currently does with the Cavs thus he certainly cannot be considered as a fundamental piece of Cleveland's rebuilding process.   Gee's glowing stat line is partially due to the fact of the volume of minutes he has played, and if this is the best that the fans and coaching staff can expect from him, then  it would be best to part ways with him as soon as possible while he has everyone fooled that he is such a good player .
First Player of the Month: Tristan Thompson

After having a pretty nondescript rookie season, not much else was expected from Tristan Thompson; however, that view has drastically changes over the course of this season.  Over the last few months, this Canadian product has been making his countrymen proud proving how deserving he was to be picked 4th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.  Starting in place for the injured Anderson Varejao, Thompson has been simply spectacular as he averaged close to 14 points and 10 boards per game through January and February.  In that two month span, Thompson posted a double-double in points and rebounds in eleven of twenty six games while scoring in double figures in all but three games in that time.  If he continues to produce at this pace while continuing to improve his game, Thompson may possibly become only the second Canadian to make the NBA All Star team.    

Two years after the infamous "decision" that shocked and shattered the hopes and dreams of every hoops fan in the state of Ohio, the Cavaliers look as if they are on their way to a speedy recovery thanks to their new star, Kyrie Irving.  What was one a destitute franchise with little or nothing to look forward to,  Irving has got people talking about Cleveland yet again and has the Cavs on track to returning to the playoffs in a season or two.  Supported in the backcourt by outstanding rookie Dion Waiters and two young up and coming anchors in the paint in Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson, the Cavs have the makings of a special four man tandem that will make their mark on the NBA sooner than anyone has ever expected.  While many doubted that Cleveland will ever return to the prominence and recognition of the King James era, their doubts have now been silenced as the Cavaliers future looks even brighter than ever.  And despite resting at the bottom of the standings in the Central Division, the Cavs still keep opposing teams sweating once they step upon the floor.

Thus far this season, the Cleveland Cavaliers have given their opponents quite a fight despite winning just 20 games.  In terms of scoring, rebounds and commiting and forcing turnovers, the Cavs have kept themselves, in most instances, almost at par with their opponents.  Despite allowing their opponents to scorch them on the field shooting close to .480 from the field, they Cavs have still manage to only lose games games by an average three points or less.  That is rather impressive considering the fact that Cavs sport one of the youngest and most inexperienced rosters in the NBA with all but five players having less than five years of NBA experience under their belts.  Add the fact that the Cavs' starting five consists of two rookies, two second years players, and a 25 year old that has bounced around the league for three years before landing in Cleveland makes the accomplishments of this team even more special.

Only two players can be considered as true NBA veterans  on that team as there are over the age of 30 and have significant experience, especially in the post season; however, neither one of them can be considered as being a major factor on the team.  Anderson Varejao, the team's "elder" statesman who has played eight years reaching to the playoffs in almost every one, has been all but invisible playing in just 56 games in the past two seasons.  32 year old Luke Walton, who has witnessed and basked in the glow of championship glory as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, has been collecting dust on the bench while being paid CONSIDERABLY MORE than his teammates that play much more than him.  As for the final remnant of that once glorious Cavalier team of the past, Daniel Gibson has proven to be a all out bust since the departure of his once mighty King shooting rather poorly while his numbers and his impact have continued to rapidly decline.  The Cavs have now become "a young man's team" as the older guard have been quickly phased out in favor of this new generation of budding young players.

The rest of the roster can be considered quite green as they all range from 25 years old and under and have little or no real experience when it comes to winning games in the NBA.  Credit head coach Byron Scott for getting this rather young and inexperienced team to overachieve and perform beyond anybody's most optimistic expectations or projections.  This kindergarten crew of a Cavaliers team have held their own against the "big kids" of the league even giving the NBA's most powerful titans a run for their money as well.  Just ask such reputable NBA teams as the Boston Celtics (1/22/2013), Oklahoma City Thunder (2/2/2013) and the Chicago Bulls (2/26/2013) whether or not the Cavs are for real as they were all shockingly upset by this young, wet behind the ears, team.  Even two of the league's top teams, the San Antonio Spurs (2/13/2013) the Miami Heat (2/26/2013), have to tip their hats off to the Cavs only managed to scrape past this nubile squad narrowly beating Cleveland by a combined five points.

So one can certainly see how things are quickly looking up for this once down and out Cleveland Cavaliers team that no one bothered to pay attention to.  Many teams have thus far been caught sleeping on this underrated and underestimated squad of young guns and have either suffered humiliating defeat or barely managed to surpass this team just barely.  Coming into the off-season, the Cleveland Cavs will certainly be a team to watch with another lottery pick coming its way along with plenty of salary cap space to boot as well.  With their young core of rising stars in the forms of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller along with a rather impressive  cast of supporting role players such as Mareese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Omri Casspi and CJ Miles, the Cavs will certainly be a team to watch in the coming years.  They may possibly prove to be just as good, if not even better than the team that was led by the player whose name cannot and will not be mentioned in the state of Ohio.