Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Windhorst to Cavs fans: Calm down

He says that we're way too pumped for these rookies:

That's why there seems to be keen interest among the Cavaliers fan base in rookie guards Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson, who get a special ovation each time they enter a game. After watching both score 10 points, including a combined five 3-pointers, in last Saturday's preseason game against the Washington Wizards, there might be a thirst to see more.

But the reality is, at this point, it doesn't appear as either will have a spot in coach Mike Brown's rotation once the regular season starts.

The Cavs got out of the in-game development business when they started signing veteran free agents to fill out the rotation. Improving young players is still on the list of priorities, but it won't happen at the cost of dealing with a high volume of youthful mistakes.

In other words, the Cavs have five veteran guards who appear to be ahead of the two rookies at this point in Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, David Wesley, Damon Jones and Ira Newble. Mike Brown has made it clear he will go with his veterans at the start of the season. It appears as if Shannon Brown might even have to serve some time on the inactive list and Gibson is a candidate to be sent to the NBA Development League at some point.

Well, that's pretty sweet. Playing time for Ira Newble. I think I speak for all of us when I say, "Awesome. Can't wait."

There's more:

This is a recurring process in the NBA. Every year, rookies with an upside have to bide their time even if there is an interest to see how they can handle themselves. While Shannon Brown and Gibson have impressed the coaching staff with their poise and sense of belonging, in the loss to the Wizards both were on the court as the Cavs gave away a 15-point lead and lost.

``I know the talent is there, the opportunities will come, but there will be bumps,'' said Snow, who has been mentoring the rookies and telling them stories of his rookie season, when he was stuck behind guards Gary Payton, Nate McMillan and Detlef Schrempf with the Seattle SuperSonics.

``The hardest thing for them is the transition. One can say all the right stuff, but if you have any kind of competitiveness in you, it is tough.''

As the season wears on, there will likely be chances when one of the veterans in front of them is struggling, or there are injuries. Until then, unless there is a significant philosophical switch by the head coach, the newbies will have to be patient.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know I'm excited about these rookies. Well, mostly I'm excited to see Cavalier guards not named Eric Snow, Flip Murray and Ira Newble, but still...

The Cavs are on TV tonight, playing Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv, and hopefully we'll see some of the rooks before they hit the bench for the season:

Snow and Larry Hughes are ticketed to open the season in the backcourt for the Cavaliers, who face Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv in an exhibition game tonight at The Q. Veterans David Wesley and Damon Jones figure to get the bulk of the backup minutes, but rookies Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson have been impressive.

Brown, a first-round pick from Michigan State, is averaging 8.7 points and 1.33 steals in 21 minutes of three exhibition games; Gibson, a second-round pick from Texas, is averaging 6.1 points in 15 minutes per game.

"[The rookies] have looked great," Snow said. "They have both worked hard and they have listened.

"The talent is there. The hardest thing will be the transition from college to the pro level."

So ya, am I too pumped for a late first rounder and a second rounder? Probably, but when I keep reading shit like this, I can't help it:
Brown, on rookie point guard Gibson, who is the quickest player on the roster: "I am not only surprised at the way he shoots the ball, but I expected him to get rattled, and he hasn't. He is smooth. He has been a pleasant surprise."
Honestly though, I'm not really surprised. Rookies make mistakes (even LeBron, remember that time he passed to Ricky Davis?) and the Cavs are 'blessed' with experienced guards. The problem is, these experienced guards can't guard quick players. So Cavs fans, we gotta be patient. Enjoy watching these kids play in the preseason, cause once the season starts up, get ready for heavy dose of Ira Newble goodness. However, I'll say it now, Brown and Gibson will have a bigger role on the team come March than they will in November.

(side note, my favorite part of the Windhorst article? The comment section. You'd figure the comments would be about, you know the article about rookie playing time, but no:
When is the Z trade going down? Z will hold us back in post season again and everyone knows it. Plus, his salary is killing our ability to retain Anderson next year. Z, Damon Jones and Ira or Sasha for a real point guard is inevitable.
I love it. Cavs fans HATE this guy. They can't get over the fact that he's slow. Never mind that he's skilled and he's the only other Cav to demand a double team. He's slow. I mean, I've never seen a center that actually tries, that is so hated. Most NBA big men, when they get that big contract they taper off. They don't hustle as much, they don't rebound as much; in short, they don't care. But Z is diving for loose balls and blocking shots and getting clocked by Rasheed Wallace. At least this guy gives a shit).


Erik said...

I have the same opinion of Ira Newble that you have on Z: people hate on him too much.

Newble is like aspirin: in the right doses, he is good. I think we had our view of Newble skewed by being forced to watch him start for umpteen-dozen games two years ago. Sure, as a starting two-guard, Newble looks terrible.

As a guy who comes in as part of a late-game defensive "nickel package" if you will, Newble might actually be effective. I have no problem with Newble being used when the team needs a key defensive stop. He's kind of like a matchup reliever in that sense.

If we were forced to watch Paul Assenmacher start 15 games for the Indians in 1995, I'm sure our opinion of him would be much different as well.

Having said that, I do think the two rookies will begin steadily eating into the playing time of Newble, Wesley and Jones as the season progresses. This is the best low-pick draft class the Cavs have had probably since Chris Mills in 1993.

Ben said...

My problem with Newble is that as a defensive stopper, he isn't that good. Maybe it's because he was hurt the past few years, I dunno. But never seemed to stop many guys IMO.

When the Cavs first signed Newble, I was all about it, sure I thought the contract was a bit long, but I figured he'd be what you're saying, a defensive presence.

Quick guards have killed the Cavs the last few years (they match up terribly with the Nets) and the Cavs main 'defensive' players have been Newble and Snow.

Also, I rag on Newble cause he's an easy target. He can't really shoot, he's overpaid, he's looks funny and he's got a goofy name.

Hopefully, Newble will be healthy this season and he'll contribute.

Ben said...

Also, Carlos Boozer, second round. That was a pretty nice pick up.