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We’re talking ‘bout practice …
Making the Cut … On Friday, the Cavaliers trimmed their roster to a 15-man collective that Cleveland is expected (official final rosters don’t have to be submitted to the league until Monday at 5 p.m. eastern time) to take into the regular season, which tips off in just five days.
The Wine and Gold waived guards Jermaine Taylor and Elliot Williams as well as forward Kenny Kadji and center DeSagana Diop. All four averaged less than ten minutes per game through the preseason.
Spared by “The Turk” were guard Matthew Dellavedova and center/forward, Henry Sims.
Sims and Dellavedova each appeared in all eight preseason contests. Sims shot 58 percent from the field and proved to be a rugged rebounder and defender. Delly didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but was very efficient running the ballclub.
Sims played four years at Georgetown and after going undrafted last June, was waived by the Knicks at the end of preseason. He averaged 16.4 points and 8.7 rebounds with the D-League’s Erie BayHawks last season and was named to the 2013 D-League All-Star Game.
Dellavedova, a native of Maryborough, Australia, was a four-year man at St. Mary’s College. He was Honorable Mention All-America in both of his final seasons – being named the WCC Player of the Year as a junior and a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award as a senior. In four seasons at St. Mary’s, Dellavedova never averaged less than 12.1 points or less than 35 minutes per game.
Coach Brown spoke about both guys following Friday’s light practice.
According to the Cavs coach, Sims made the squad by “showing the ability to defend, especially in the post the way he did and rebound the way he did and also show the ability to shoot the basketball at a pretty high clip from 15 to 17 feet. And Delly just brings a toughness. And even though he’s a rookie, (he) brings a veteran feel to the ballclub that you can’t get out of young guys.”
Barring injuries, neither guy will be looked to carry big minutes, but that makes them no less valuable to the squad over the course of an 82-game season.
“More than anything, both those guys have shown the ability to really push the guys in front of them to really make it difficult for the guys in front of them,” continued Coach Brown. “And you like that when you start talking about your 13th, 14th, 15th guys. Can they make practice as competitive on a daily basis? And how are they as teammates? Are they great teammates or are they just OK teammates? These guys have a chance to be great teammates.”
Sims has been on the other side of final cut day, and the soft-spoken big man knows to appreciate the opportunity he’s been given.
“I’m here, but I haven’t arrived,” said Sims. “I have a lot of work to do, still. I’m just happy the Cavaliers gave me the opportunity to continue my growth up here at the NBA level.”
Sims was reluctant to celebrate the good news, although he admitted he’ll call his mother to tell her and she’ll probably shed a tear. The stoic Baltimore native took a very measured approach to the preseason – and that might have helped him focus through the eight-game set and come out clean on the other side.
“Honestly, I didn’t even give (roster cuts) a thought,” admitted Sims. “We had preseason games and I’m more worried about them than being cut. I feel like if I worry about one thing, I’ll lack in the other. I focus my attention more so on what coach wants us to do defensively: coming into the game, being ready to play. And I figured at the end of the day what happens, happens. It’s out of my control.”
The Cavaliers will get one more day of rest (Saturday) before working out the final kinks before the regular season tips off on Wednesday night at The Q. As for Friday night, two Cavaliers will probably get the best night’s sleep that they’ve had in a month.
Listen as Tyler Zeller, Henry Sims and Head Coach Mike Brown discuss Friday's practice with the media.
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