To Cav and To Hold
Posted Jan 3 2007 2:30PM
Oh, for Cavs fans, if only that were the case.
Faithful CI readers may remember this column describing what it's like to be a Bucks fan.
(And if you're not a faithful reader, and you're reading for the very first time... welcome.)
Well, Bucks fans are not the only Central Division fans to know pain. How would you like it if the most famous (not necessarily the best) on-the-court moment in franchise history not only proved to be the genesis of nemesis MJ's legend, but also has become the key vignette in a commercial suggesting that your opponent always has a little extra.
So, why bring this up? Am I trying to dig into the Cavs and their followers? No, not at all.
Then why did you, Ro-Pete?CI casts its gaze upon the Cavaliers for two reasons; one, we've broken down every team in the Central but the Cavs, so it's about time we look at what kind of legs this wine and gold has; and two, it's way past time to look at one of the contenders for the Eastern Conference crown.
At 14-9, the Cavs are in the thick of it not only in the Central behind the steady Pistons and the surging Bulls, but in the East as well, where no team has yet separated itself from the pack.
In order to get a better read on the Cavs, we got an NBA scout on the horn to tell us why Cleveland, which made the conference semis last season, could make another deep run in the playoffs this season.
LEBRON (OF COURSE)
Scout: "Obviously you have to start with LeBron James when you talk about the Cleveland Cavaliers. He's a guy who is capable of putting up a triple-double every night from the forward spot.
"This guy, he can get 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He is probably one of the top two, three, four, players in the league with his versatility and his great athleticism.
"They're starting to surround him with players who fit his style of play. They're getting some good shooters around now that they brought in David Wesley. They have Damon Jones. Young players — they drafted Gibson and the kid from Michigan St., Shannon Brown. So, they got some young athletic guys that can shoot the ball and then, I mean, Donyell Marshall up front. You can space the floor with him."
Scout: "During the regular season they'll look for them to help them some so that Wesley and Damon Jones don't have to play as many minutes so that they can be ready for the playoffs. You know, those guys are already playoff tested, so if they can keep their minutes down, I don't know how much they expect those guys to do."
Scout: "They need to dig in defensively. And I think that starts with LeBron. If he can night-in and night-out come in and give them a defensive presence, I think that will spill over to the rest of the team.
"Instead of just having a few guys on their team and just relying on them to be defensive players, if he can come out and set that tone, I think It can spill over and I think that the sky's the limit if he comes and does that for this team."
Scout: "This guy's been hurt, he just came back. He is a big addition to this team, getting healthy again. If he is healthy and he can give them that other big time scorer, they're tough. Because I mean, he's a good defensive player as well."
Scout: "If Zydrunas Ilgauskas can stay healthy, he's the key. If he stays healthy, they can be very tough because Anderson Varejao, he's really come on. He is a great hustle player and energy guy for them. Drew Gooden, he's the same type of guy for them.
"So, right now, they're one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference."
If that's the case, maybe these Cavs can begin creating new memories. Who knows, maybe one of those moments will be in a commercial one day.
Mail? Wait, that's not part of the Cavs column.
Nope, just wanted to say thanks to everyone who sent in mail regarding our best point guard in the division question. Most of the readers agreed that Chauncey Billips was the division's top floor general, while we had the a few Bucks fans put Mo Williams ahead of Hinrich. (You wouldn't be Bucks fans if you didn't.) Then, we had Nate from Nap Town pull up a soapbox for Jamaal Tinsley:
"Well, I feel Jamaal could become the best point guard in the division, and it has recently been shown he has the will power to do so. Now all that remains is to see how he carries out, he already played through being sick. I would have to agree that as of right now Billups and Hinrich are on top, but then I would have to say Tinsley, then Mo, then Snow."
Like I said, Jamaal is talented. He needs to stay on the floor. He's started all 26 Pacers games. That's a good start.
This is the last CI of the 2006 calendar year. We'll see you on the flip side. Happy holidays!