Usually the last players off the court after a training camp practice are the rookies or free agents putting in extra work to impress the coaching staff.Me gusta.
The last off the floor Monday afternoon were David Wesley and Damon Jones, two veterans on guaranteed contracts. They're trying to make an impression, too.
Starting with the preseason opener against the Boston Celtics tonight at Quicken Loans Arena, there is an open competition for minutes at the guard spots. Wesley and Jones appear to be in a direct struggle with each other to secure time in coach Mike Brown's rotation with additional competition from rookie Shannon Brown and others.
Jones has already said that he came into camp out of shape last season, so having to fight for minutes shouldn't hurt.
I don't think it will just be the guards vying for extra time either. Some people have speculated that Drew Gooden won't be as productive this season because of his new contract. I doubt it, you think Gooden didn't hear all the praise Varejao recieved in the playoffs last season? Gooden is going to want to keep his starting job. Plus, the Cavs signed Scot Pollard, and even though he's not an all-star, he has a better chance of playing in crunch time than Alan Henderson or Scott Williams ever did.
And speaking of competing, Terry Pluto says that the Cavs are past the time of competing for the playoffs; it's now time to contend for the title:
A year ago, the goal was clear for the Cavaliers: Make the playoffs.
Mission accomplished, and more, thanks to 50 regular-season victories and taking the Detroit Pistons to seven games in the second round.
Now, as the Cavs open the preseason tonight at Quicken Loans Arena against the Boston Celtics, they are talking about the NBA Finals.
At least LeBron James has mentioned it. General Manager Danny Ferry wants to build a team that wins a title, knowing there are few shortcuts, even with a great player like James.
The keys are to keep moving forward, keep growing as a team and add pieces around James. An NBA title really can happen here. Maybe not this year, but some year in the not-too-distant future.
Isn't that great? For the first time since Jim Thome left, Cleveland fans have a franchise that can legitimitlly talk about a championship. No more getting to .500, contending or making the postseason; these guys are playing to win the whole thing. Tis a beautiful thing, no?