The Cavs made an interesting move this week, claiming 6′ 11″ power forward Jon Leuer off of waivers. Check out the pre-draft video above and the player profile prepared by DraftExpress.com for some background on Leuer.
After drafting Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson in the last two draft some might question why the Cavs made this move, but you can never have too many quality big men, and this also makes it easier to move Anderson Varejao if the opportunity arises.
The Cavs under Chris Grant certainly can be unpredictable, but that’s also a reflection of how the media narrows in a several potential scenarios in the draft.
The Cavs went with Dion Waiters with the fourth pick, leaving Harrison Barnes on the board. Then, they traded the rest of their picks in order to snag #17 selection Tyler Zeller.
If you look closely at both picks, you’ll begin to under stand what the Cavs are trying to do. The Cavs reportedly went after Bradley Beal but then chose Waiters. They obviously wanted an athletic 2-guard that could get to the rim and create his own shot who could compliment Kyrie. It’s critical to have multiple players who can slash to the rim in the Princeton offense, and not they can add Waiters to the mix with Kyrie and Alonzo Gee.
With Zeller, the Cavs fill an important need at center, so both Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao can go back to their natural position of power forward for the majority of their minutes. More importantly, Zeller runs the floor very well, and the Cavs clearly want to run with Irving and Waiters. Zeller won’t be a dominant player, but he also gives them another scoring option in the half-court game as Zeller plays well with his back to the basket. So the Cavs will be able to run while also keeping size on the floor. Imagine a rotation when you have Irving, Waiters, Gee, Thompson and Zeller on the floor. This unit can run with any team in the league, but can also match up with size in the half court. It could be very fun to watch.
I have no idea if Waiters was the right pick at #4. In today’s NBA, you’re picking kids with very limited resumes and you have to project out their skills to the NBA game. Remember last year when many pundits complained about Kyrie’s lack of experience at Duke? That said, Waiters avoided doing workouts, so there’s clearly some risk here with this pick.
But we can see what the Cavs are trying to do. Players need to fit together in a system, and it looks like Waiters and Zeller could be great fits with Kyrie and the system being run by Byron Scott.
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/Files (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Anderson Varejao was snubbed for the NBA All-Star Team this year despite his impressive season, but Bill Simmons argues that Varejao would be a starter on his team.
As for that fifth spot: I love the way Varejao is playing this season … and if you enjoy guys who put up 11 points and 12 rebounds every night, grab every big rebound in traffic, take monster charges again and again and shut down opposing big guys, you should, too. Isn’t the whole point of the All-Star Game to pick players who are playing as well as they can possibly play? I never watch Chris Bosh and say, “Whoa, Chris Bosh! He’s something! He’s really turned it on!” Why do I have to pick Bosh as a starter again? And also, why should THREE Miami Heat players be starting on the All-Star team? You don’t find this a little kooky? Are they the ’96 Bulls or something? Please. Besides, Varejao has been more of an impact player this year — he’s the best at what he does, and that’s saying something. You win with what he does.
Varejao is fourth in the league in rebounding.
Yet if you follow Cavs fans on Twitter, there’s still a vocal group who argues that Varejao is overrated. I remember one guy saying that Samardo Samuels and Ryan Hollins were better players.
Cleveland Cavaliers Alonzo Gee saves the ball from going out of bounds along the sideline during the second quarter of their NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Cleveland, December 26, 2011.REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
It wasn’t the best opener for rookie Kyrie Irving, as he only managed 6 points on 2-12 shooting. Three of those points came from a meaningless 3-pointer at the end of the game. Irving has not shown much with his outside shot in the two exhibition games. It’s early of course but it would be nice to see some flashes there. That said, he had 7 assists and only one turnover in 26 minutes, so the other parts of his game looked solid.
Meanwhile, Ramon Sessions had a great night. He seems to have discovered a 3-point shot as he hit two tonight, and he was excellent in every phase of the game as the second teamers led by Sessions got the Cavs back into the game
The other rookie, Tristan Thompson, had a great night with 14 points in 17 minutes as he was active in all phases of the game. The kid is a gamer and he’s opening up some eyes.
Here are some more thoughts:
Omri Casspi wasn’t very impressive in his Cavs debut with only 2 points on 0-4 shooting.
The Cavs need scoring, but Antawn Jamison was forcing up too many bricks from the outside.
Alonzo Gee continues to look great. The kid has a ton of energy and he’s a scorer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he fights his way past Casspi into the starting lineup at some point, or becomes the main scoring option off the bench.
I like seeing some more aggressiveness out of Anthony Parker. He has a nice shot and might be able to take on more of the scoring load.
It still blows me away that some Cavs fans think Anderson Varejao is overrated. He hustles like nobody else!
It’s a year for learning, so hopefully we’ll see some nice progress from Irving and the rest of the team over the course of the season.