Friends With Words

Friends with Words - Joe Gabriele and Sam Amico

Check out the double feature with Beat Writer, Joe Gabriele and Beat Writer Sam Amico as they tackle everything from word association, to debating everything NBA, Cavaliers, and Cleveland to airing their Beat Writer laundry...and they promise to have you in and out of the mess in about 5 minutes or under every time!

1. Regular Season Rotation

Joe G: Byron Scott has been crystal clear about his regular season rotation so far: If he knows what it is, he’s not telling anybody. C.J. Miles throws a wrench in the works. He could start at small forward or shooting guard or come off the bench. The rotation spirals from there.

Sam: For the Cavs, it’s a mystery. Well, maybe not for Cavs coach Byron Scott, but for the rest of the free world. On a personal note, I like that approach. It shows that players will have to keep fighting for minutes. That sort of healthy competition is the type I experience with Joe G on a regular basis. And just look at how well we co-exist.

2. Big Men Depth

Joe G: Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Sam: It sure beats the alternative. And while the Cavs’ frontcourt is as young as the backcourt, the bigs offer a little of everything: Shot-blockers and floor-runners (Tristan Thompson), up-and-coming promising youngsters (Tyler Zeller, Samardo Samuels, Jon Leuer) and veteran hustlers with wild hair (Anderson Varejao).

3. Ball Movement

Joe G: The key to any flowing offense. Byron Scott’s philosophy for non-point guards is usually: ‘If you can’t find anything after three dribbles, pass the ball.’ Or as my old high school coach back in Hickory used to say: ‘Pass the ball four times before shooting or I’ll bench you for Ollie.’

Sam: Even in the NBA, even with the biggest stars and best one-on-one types, even with a philosophy that emphasizes a fast-breaking and opportunistic offense … without ball movement, you are nothing. With it, you can overcome other shortcomings. If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed since Dr. James Naismith hung the peach baskets, it is this very truth. Heck, they didn’t even dribble back then.

4. Opening Week (Across the NBA)

Joe G: A celebration of the conclusion of preseason, with some huge matchups right out the gate. It’s one of the most exciting weeks of the year, right up until you realize there are 24 more that follow it.

Sam: Sorry, no Ke$ha lyrics this week. (But on the bright side, I just found a way to sneak her name into the column again.) Anyway, for me, opening week in the NBA means realizing it’s time to read every box score and every game recap every day until the middle of June. It’s also when I say a special prayer of thanks for having a job in which I never have to lift anything heavy.

5. Most Exciting Team to Watch (Not Including Cavaliers)

Joe G: I’ve been guilty of having a “team crush” before, but it’s never been in the Eastern Conference. (I’d never cheat on the Cavs like that.) I’ve always loved the Blazers and the Rockets, but this year I think the most exciting non-Cavalier team in the NBA will be the Denver Nuggets.

Sam: Well, it used to be Phoenix with Steve Nash. Golden State during the Don Nelson era wasn’t bad, either. Now, it’s probably Oklahoma City, but that’s too obvious an answer. So I’m leaning toward Memphis, although I suspect dazzling rookie guard Damian Lillard will eventually make it Portland. On that note, I’m choosing Atlanta for no reason other than the Cavs-heavy Hawks (they’ve hired three former Cavs front-office employees) are now my second-favorite team in the East.

BONUS: Regular Season Predictions

Joe G: I predict that Wild Thing Wig Giveaway Night on December 28 will be a sellout.

Sam: I predict that, unlike the preseason, the Los Angeles Lakers will win at least one game.