Happy New Year’s, Cavalier fans and CavFanatics. It’s Austin, checking in before we hit the road for Charlotte. What’s happening?
The Cavs are coming off a couple tough losses, but I’m seeing some good things and some progress. I thought the lineup change – moving C.J. into the starting rotation worked out well.
I thought both C.J. and Dion played well. C.J. had a little problem there after the first quarter, but he still came out with that energy that the team needed and got them off to that good start. And I thought Dion stayed consistent. Up until the last part of the game, he was solid coming off the bench. And I think as the team goes on, it’ll create a good balance.
The key is, emotionally, will both guys be able to deal with the situation?
To me, coming off the bench is suited for what Dion is used to doing. He’s just a year removed from coming off the bench at Syracuse. And he realizes that he’s going to get his minutes.
It took me a little while to get used to it when I first started coming off the bench, because I was so used to starting. But when I realized I had lost something from injury, I accepted it. At the same time, I could still be competitive because I was playing against most of the other team’s second unit. So, it was really kind of an advantage, and that’s the way I looked at it.
It’s going to be an adjustment period for the two individuals as well as the team – because it’s a different cadence with C.J. in there.
C.J.’s looking more for the perimeter shot and he’ll penetrate more in the open floor. Dion is looking more to weave his way to the basket and then look for the jumpshot. So, it’s a little different mindset. But I thought that both seemed to fit in well for the first time. I thought it was a good performance by both guys. They have to be more consistent with it. But I thought for the first night, it was a good performance.
In the frontcourt, I think both young guys – Tristan and Tyler – have adjusted well while Andy’s been out.
Tyler’s getting his bumps and bruises. But you can’t replace the experience that he’s getting. That’s something that he has to get in order to grow. And he’s getting it. And the injury to Andy is going to warrant those kinds of things. To me, that experience is what Tyler needed to take the next step.
For Tristan, he’s understanding what he has to be when Andy’s not in there; how he has to play. I think he’s averaging a double-double since Andy’s been out, and that’s been huge.
Tyler’s gone against a couple of the best bigs in the business over the last two games. He has to learn the type of competition he’s going to be playing against, the way I see it. And he’s got to learn who the tough guys are in this league.
Cousins is one of best big men, talent-wise, in the league. He’s a little screwed up mentally and motivationally sometimes. But he’s got the ability to put it on the floor or shoot it from 15 feet. He can play with his back to the basket. He’s physical. He’s strong. That was a good test for Tyler on Wednesday night.
The Cavs have been playing pretty good ball lately. But they’re struggling to get the W’s to show for it.
But right now – because of the way Byron and his coaching staff handle the guys – it’s all about getting better. And they have to understand: you have to forget about tomorrow and think about today. What kind of player are you today? And I think that keeps them from getting caught up in that “woe-is-me” kind of mindset – because they’re constantly working to take that next step.
And eventually it’ll come down to getting tired of taking it on the chin like they’ve been taking it.
As a young team, you can actually grow from losing games. But if you don’t learn from your mistakes, then it becomes a burden. And they have to learn from their mistakes so losing doesn’t become a burden. And I think the coaches are pushing for are to get them to make sure that it’s more of a learning experience.
We took the same lumps when I first got here. But we learned from it. And things just got better for us as we went on.
This weekend, I hope to see a little more of Shaun Livingston. I haven’t seen enough of him, but what I’ve seen is nice.
You can isolate him. He can shoot over the top of people. He runs the floor well. And his game is something that Coach Scott wants, but something we’re not getting consistently – and that’s running in all situations. And the one thing that frustrates me is: I know what Byron wants, but I don’t see it on the floor. We’re not running enough.
When the Cavs get in a spurt where they’re getting turnovers and running, they look like an entirely different team. But then they go back to walking the ball back down the floor, and that’s playing right into the hands of our opponents.
Teams don’t want to run with the Cavs because they know that that’s the best situation we can be in – using our defense to run.
To me, we should be a nine- or 10-man rotation team because we’re up on opponents defensively all the time. And then you get used to playing tired. You have to get used to playing tired in order to play the type of defense Byron wants them to play. And to me, that’s the Cavaliers most effective way to play.
At least five or six minutes every quarter – (because it’s hard to run ALL the time) – they should be up on their guys, trying to get turnovers, running off rebounds, running off made baskets. They should be pushing the ball down the floor and getting used to taking shots in the open floor and on the move. That is how they’ll start to win.
The Cavs have the personnel for that. They don’t have the personnel to play halfcourt and grind it out. Last night, Sacramento beat us up in the paint in that first half. When we defended and ran, we had the advantage.
They must pick up the pace.
Right now, as young players, you cannot be afraid to make mistakes. You have to try to go out and get better at what your strengths are. When you play “afraid” to make mistakes, you’re not going to play good basketball.
Take the ball out and push the ball down the floor. You don’t have to fast-break every time. Teams are going to get back sometimes. But come across that halfcourt line with a purpose. And make a team have react to what you do every time down. Yeah, you’re going to get tired. And when you do, Coach’ll take you out and put somebody else in. But keep the tempo going, and go from there. They have success when they play that way.
I’m looking forward to a couple good outings this weekend, in Charlotte and back home against Houston.
Of course, I’ll be tweeting most of these thoughts throughout the weekend. I was reluctant to get on Twitter before, but I’m starting to enjoy it a little bit. I’m starting to answer people a lot more now. So, it’s coming along.
The problem now is I need to find time to do it. Because what happens is: if I rush myself, my spelling is off a little bit off because I’m rushing myself instead of taking my time.
After this season, I’ll be ready to go. I’ll be a “seasoned tweeter.” But fans have been nice to me and it’s been a good situation. I’m up to about 6,500 followers – so things are moving in the right direction.