Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Anderson Varejao is not worth 11 wins

Just for the record, Bill Simmons predicted that the Cavs to win less than 40 games and LeBron will request a trade.

Needless to say, I disagree.

Look, I can understand why people are down on the Cavs. I get it. They're a flawed team whose roster hasn't changed in basically two seasons. Anderson Varejao is holding out (Pavlovic just inked a reasonable deal). The East has improved (but, honestly, by that much?). I get the negativity. I have some of it as well.

But the Cavs are the 9th best team in the conference? Really? I mean, I can't honestly think that Simmons actually believes this (I honestly think he's just tweaking Cleveland fans). Worse than Indiana? Worse than Atlanta? Why would they slip behind New Jersey? Or Detroit?

Do people really think that Anderson Varejao means that much? Hustle points and flops are an 11 win difference?

Personally, I think the Cavs will match their win total of the last two seasons. 50 games. Two years ago they overachieved to reach 50, while last year they kind of underachieved. This year, I think they'll 'achieve' and get 50.

Sure, they're gonna have a brutal start (a West coast trip right out of the gate) and they'll miss Varejao. But for the first half of last season, LeBron played with a back court of Snow and Hughes. This year he's upgrading his PG from 'terrible' to 'lights out'. You think that won't help with some double teams?

Finally there's this:
At age 22 and entering his fifth NBA season, James has never been in better shape or worked harder on his game at this stage of the season. In theory, this is good news for the Cavs: A motivated superstar is perhaps the grandest weapon in the modern NBA.
and this:
LeBron didn’t shoot much but he passed well and, most interestingly, Mike Brown ran a bunch of post up plays for him and he worked down there well. He may very well have the best season of his career if he keeps this up.
Plus there were those reports that LeBron's been working on his jumper.

So you're telling me that the Eastern Conference Champion is returning everyone but their backup power forward, they're replacing Eric Snow's jumper with Daniel Gibson's and LeBron James is not only in the best shape of his career, but he's sporting an improved jumper AND he's working well in the post... they're going to get worse?

Don't get me wrong, I expect this team to struggle at times. I have no faith in Mike Brown's offense. I hate Larry Hughes with a passion. I wish they'd use the post more often (meaning, sometimes).

However, despite what you saw in the San Antonio series, the Cavs aren't terrible. They have issues, but they aren't awful. They may struggle at first (and I expect them to) but they'll be fine.

Game recaps start tomorrow.


davemanddd said...

ben, i'm with you, dude. people forget that varejao missed half a season 2 years ago with a shoulder injury and they still won 50 games that year so to say that they will lose 11 more games this year is completely ludicrous. just the continued growth of all the young players, specifically lebron, as well as daniel gibson and shannon brown with less eric "yellow" snow to boot, they can't help but get even better. just the idea of the better outside shooting of gibson has got to open up the floor more for lebron and larry. everyone saw what it did for them in the playoffs. too bad larry had to get injured or they might have at least won a couple of games in the finals then too. that being said, i still would like to see varejao end his hold-out sooner and not later.

Pete said...

Simmons doesn't know the NBA, though I am glad he cares in enough to write about it. And I guarantee Simmons doesn't watch more than five Cavs games year.

Going to Bill Simmons for sports information is like tuning in to Bill O'Reilly for your daily political analysis.

Ben said...

I really do like Bill Simmons and his writings. Sure, he's too Boston centric and he seems to have it out for the Cavs, but I'm not gonna lie, I read every one of his columns.

I think a lot of this stems from the Finals last season. If you read any of my game recaps last season, one of the recurring themes was that when the Cavs looked bad, they looked down right gawd-awful (and when they looked good, they could beat anyone).

The Cavs looked awful in the Finals last season. Now, if one wants to use that as a basis for picking them to miss the playoffs entirely... OK.

For the record, Charles Barkley also picked the Cavs to miss the postseason (and these guys are my two favorite NBA analysts!)

Pete said...

I like Simmons' pieces and also read everything he puts out. Just saying I don't think he really knows the NBA as much as he believes, and certainly not the Cavs.

Also, his guarantee that the bigges story of the second half of the 2006 season will be LeBron "mailing it in" will always stick with me. That incredibly ignorant comment alone was so ridiculous, itleaves him permanently open to criticism, IMO,

Ben said...

true. he's incredibly ignorant on Cleveland sports in general and LeBron and the Cavaliers in particular.

Greg said...

I couldn't even finish the game. Got up and went in my room in the middle of the third.

I hate when they do this.