Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pack Your Bags Andy

Cavs select J.J. Hickson at 19.

From ESPN:
Positives: Athletic big man with an NBA body. Explosive leaper. Physical.
Good finisher around the basket. Does most of his damage inside the key. Can hit the midrange jumper. Can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot. Excellent rebounder. Good shot-blocker.

Negatives: Still lacks some basketball IQ. Post moves are raw. Not especially quick.

Summary: A rising young player who has had a stellar freshman season for NC State. Teams love his body and athleticism. One of this year's draft sleepers. A mid-first-round pick if he stays in the draft. A potential lottery pick in 2009.
Kinda a project, but I can definitely see him getting some playing time as the 4th PF, especially if he works hard. I like the fact that they got a big with some athleticism, I just hope his size doesn't hurt him too much. I'm not sure he's a guy you'd want starting on a Finals team (6-9 PF?), but if he can get a handle on some of his post moves, he could end up being a valuable role player off the bench).

I think this definitely clears way for Anderson Varejao and the Cavaliers to part ways. Hope Andy likes bratwurst (think Michael Redd might be available?)...

(also, John Hollinger is a douche: Jefferson-for-Yi Deal all about LeBron and Nets. I love some of the comments:
ridethetsunami (3 hours ago)
Notice no one ever says: Clearing Cap space for Wade - or Clearing Cap Space for Carmelo, of Clearing Cap Space for Bosh.

only LeBron could possibly want to leave - even though the Cavs went farther the last 2 years than ANY of those other players...

johndogg31 (3 hours ago)
LeBron can't play for the Nets wearing a Knicks uniform.
Seriously ESPN, is he a sure thing for the Knicks or for the Nets? Which one?)

Draft Day Rumors:

Trading up:
The Cavs reportedly talked to Portland (No. 13) about moving up to get Kansas swingman Brandon Rush (6-6, 210). But a source said teams are asking for a first-round pick and maybe an established player to move up that far in the first round.

The Cavs have also reportedly talked to Charlotte about many of its players. The Bobcats, who traded a future first-rounder for Denver's No. 20 selection, have been shopping forward Adam Morrison, forward/center Sean May and possibly guard Raymond Felton.
Trading for an established player:

What kind of deal? In the days and weeks leading up to the draft, the rumor mill is on overdrive. The names of Michael Redd, Jermaine O'Neal and Al Harrington are among those tied to possible trades with Cleveland. An ESPN report on Wednesday had O'Neal coming to Cleveland for the No. 19 pick, Wally Szczerbiak and Anderson Varejao -- way too much for a player who appeared in just 42 games last season after knee surgery. Redd may not be the Michael Redd of years past, but he's closer than Jermaine O'Neal is to being Jermaine O'Neal, or Wally Szczerbiak was to being Wally Szczerbiak, for that matter.

As it turned out, the Pacers reportedly settled on dealing O'Neal to Toronto instead, for guard T.J. Ford, center Rasho Nesterovic and the 17th pick in the draft. The deal won't become official until July 1, when Ford's base-year compensation tag comes off the books.

Varejao figures in most of the rumors -- no surprise given his appeal, not to mention his holdout last season, when the Cavs matched the offer sheet Varejao signed with Charlotte. He is valuable because he's the only player in their regular rotation of bigs under 30 years old.

Staying at 19:
If the Cavaliers stand pat and hold onto their first-round pick, they are likely to select a big man in a draft Ferry believes is deep in quality centers and power forwards. Among the players who could be available when the Cavs are on the clock: Georgetown's Roy Hibbert, Ohio State's Kosta Koufos, Stanford's Robin Lopez and Rider's Jason Thompson.
More Michael Redd:

As always, trade rumors are rampant in the hours leading into the draft. The biggest one surrounding the Cavs involves Milwaukee Bucks shooting star Michael Redd, a player whom the Cavaliers pursued but couldn't sign as a free agent a few seasons back.

Redd, who this week was named to the U.S. Olympic team along with Cavs All-Star LeBron James, could be had for the right price. He has three years and $51 million left on his contract, and Ferry would need to give up some key parts — perhaps Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao — along with some top picks to bring Redd to the Cavs.

And some mock drafts...

SI's Ian Thomsen has the Cavs taking J.J. Hickson at 19 (he also has the Bobcats drafting D.J. Augstin at #9, in case anyone wants to start dreaming of Raymon Felton):
A hungry inside player who could provide the Cavs with rebounding and toughness for the long term.
ESPN's Chad Ford has the Cavaliers taking Robin Lopez... fucking kill me now, I'd rather have Hibbert:
The Cavs need help inside and are hoping that Koufos falls to them. If he doesn't, they'll still go big. Lopez is kind of a clone of Anderson Varejao. But no one believes Varejao will be in Cleveland much longer. (via Foxsports) has the Cavs taking Darrell Arthur from Kansas (I have no opinion):
Arthur is yet another upside pick who may slip due to teams' trepidation about player readiness. Arthur is a thin big forward with excellent length and a promising offensive touch. Cleveland might not have time to wait for him, but he would offer an athletic building block for the team's frontcourt.
Previous mock draft selection: Kosta Koufos (via Yahoo!) has the Cavs picking Anthony Randolph from LSU (again, no opinion):
Randolph will need time to develop, but this could end up being a steal if he drops this far.
and on, Josh Coehn chose Ryan Anderson (um, who????):
The Cavaliers were basically a 3-point make away from upsetting the eventual NBA champion Celtics in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Although Daniel Gibson, Cleveland’s most proficient 3-point threat, didn’t play in that game due to an ankle injury, it was apparent that the Cavs need another consistent 3-point option.

The player to draft is Ryan Anderson, a 6-foot-10 forward who can hit long-range shots and utilize his length to outwork his opponents. Anderson led the Pac-10 in scoring this past season and became the first Cal player to compile at least 600 points and 300 rebounds in one season. I expect him to flourish alongside LeBron James and capitalize off of Cleveland’s outstanding ability to grab offensive rebounds for second-chance opportunities.
So there you have it, there is absolutely no consensus on who the Cavs will draft. None of the major mock drafts have them picking the same person.

They could move up! They could stand pat! They could make a crazy trade! They could pick someone like Roy Hibbert! Or someone even worse like Robin Lopez!

The one bet I'm willing to make, Cavs fans will end the night pissed at Danny Ferry for not turning Varejao, the 19th pick and expiring contracts into O.J. Mayo, Michael Redd and Elton Brand...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And so it begins...

Two injury prone players traded for each other:

the Pacers and the Raptors have agreed to a deal that, pending review of medical information, would send Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto in exchange for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and the No. 17 pick in Thursday's NBA draft.
Portland just bought the New Orleans' first round pick (27) and the Bobcats traded a future first to Denver for their pick (20).

The Indian-Toronto trade seems pointless to me. I guess Indiana got the better end of the deal, but that can depend on who they draft. As for Toronto... wasn't Jermaine O'Neal Chris Bosh before Chris Bosh was Chris Bosh? How are those two gonna fit on the court together? One is injury prone and one won't go inside. Awesome.

However, when I see trades go down like Portland-New Orleans, I wonder where Ferry was. I mean, the Cavs can't use an extra late first round pick? No?

Charlotte is supposed to covert Hibbert, so the Cavs may be able to swing a deal. I don't particularly like Hibbert and I was beginning to resign myself to the Hibbert era, but now I'm hoping something might be in the works.

I guess my prediction would still be Hibbert, but I really hope they make a deal or two.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Random Thoughts Draft Preview Extravaganza

For the love of all things holy, please don't take either Roy Hibbert or Kosta Koufos.

This marks the end of the Random Thoughts Draft Preview Extravaganza.

(there's also been some Bobcat rumors and Warrior rumors. I have no idea who the Bobcats would give up for the 19th pick and the Golden State rumor was Al Harrington for Varejao)

(also, I'd bet good money that the Cavs end up with a second round pick before Thursday comes to an end)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So is Kobe still considered better than LeBron?

Cause I have a feeling that if LeBron had A) Pau Gasol B) Lamar Odom C) veteran PG Derek Fisher and D) Phil freaking Jackson that the Cavs probably take Boston.

Hell, you could argue that they should've beaten the Celtics anyway. But if James is surrounded by the type of talent that the "Best Player in the NBA" has, I'm pretty sure they go more than six games. At least when the Cavs got a big lead at home they didn't blow it.

(also, the Cavs are close. Really close. They need a piece or two and they're champions. With LeBron and the stellar team defense, all the Cavs need is someone who can put up 15-20 points on a night-in, night-out basis and they're unbeatable).

Congrats to the Celtics by the way. I did not believe in them the entire season and I really thought that the Cavs would knock 'em out. I also thought that the Lakers would win the series, but I underestimated the crappiness of the Laker defense. Ray Allen should not be getting to the hole. Ever.

The one bright spot here is that this was probably Boston's best chance at a title. They're an aging team and their window will only be open for another season or two. If the Cavs can add that number two guy (be it Michael Redd, Elton Brand or whoever) then I think they'll be playing into mid-June for quite awhile.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Random Thoughts from Bonnaroo 2008

1. The diversity of musical acts was really quite ridiculous. Being able to say you saw Vampire Weekend, Metallica, Trombone Shorty, Pearl Jam, Chis Rock, B.B. King, the Disco Biscuits and Jake Shimabukuro all at the same venue is pretty damn cool.

2. Fact: White women LOVE Jack Johnson. His set had a lot of stuff from In Between Dreams, which is probably my favorite album by him.

3. When you walk around the 'streets' of the camp grounds, you'll hear people hawking their various drugs. Surprisingly, the drug you find least is weed. It was so bad that people kept coming up to me and asking if I had any. No I did not.

4. And seriously, I wore a LeBron jersey the entire weekend (with cargo shorts and a Giligan hat, I was rocking), even if I did have weed, would you want it? I mean, you're asking the guy from Cleveland? Go find a guy wearing a Bill Walton jersey.

5. Even hippie Cleveland fans are really worried about LeBron leaving town. I was asked multiple times for my thoughts on the matter (because of jersey I wore, it wasn't like anyone was like, "hey, you're mediocre basketball blogger Ben Cox! What's your thoughts on LeBron leaving?") and I answered truthfully: if they build a team with a chance to win the title, he stays. If Sasha Pavlovic is logging major minutes in May of 2010, he probably leaves.

6. Lot's of NBA jerseys being worn around the festival. I saw some Bulls jerseys (Jordan, Rodman and Pippen), a couple of Charlotte Hornet (Larry Johnson) jerseys and various (crisp, bright) Celtic jerseys. But my favorites were a Grant Hill team USA and a John Wallace (who?) Knicks.

7. I don't know if I looked approachable or what, but random people kept coming up and talking to me the entire weekend. Maybe I just looked comfortable because this was my fourth 'Roo, but it was weird and kinda neat.

8. Vampire Weekend were much better live than I had anticipated. After their SNL performance, I wasn't expecting much. Very pleasantly surprised.

9. Both Pearl Jam and Janeane Garofalo went off on some anti-Bush stuff and it didn't really go well. I mean, I probably agree with them politically on 99% of things (the 1%? Dick Cheney. I love the guy and everything he stands for), but even I didn't care for it. If I had gone to a show just to see them, I'd expect that going in. But when you're a part of a festival, it doesn't come off nearly as well.

10. Garofolo was not good. Her stuff didn't really work and everyone in the crowd was waiting for Mike Birbiglia to come on. And I mean, it's not like Bonnaroo is place crawling with Bush/Cheney fans, but it just didn't work.

11. Zach Galifianakas had a couple of Bush/republican jokes that went really well ("I'm for the war but I hate the troops! God, can you imagine if that was actually your stance?") and he ended with an Obama plug (at the end of his ridiculous Michael Jackson "Man in the Mirror" video) that got a standing O.

12. From the "things I never thought I'd see" file: Robert Randolph calling out Kanye West and starting a "Kanye Sucks!" chant. I enjoyed it.

13. West had a late night set planned for Saturday night at 2:45. He didn't arrive on stage until after 4 (I had left at 4). No one came out during the wait to explain things. There was never an explanation on what took so long. He screwed up bad. Kanye had a chance to perform in front of a bunch of people who would've never otherwise had seen him, and he fucked it up. It was also a slap in the face, because there was other stuff going on (for instance, I could've been watching Phil Lesh) and he not only wasted everyone's time, but he didn't explain why.

14. Jake Shimabukuro was a delight. The crowd really got into it as his show progressed and by the end you could tell he made a ton of new fans.

15. actual quote: "I'm Not There: much better on 'shrooms"

16. Arriving at your campsite at 4 am and finding your canopy tent mangled from the rain sucks ass. That is not a fun situation to deal with while the sun is coming up.

17. I have not had a good track record for watching NBA games while at Bonnaroo. I watched Dallas blow a game to Miami, I watched the Cavs lose to the Spurs and I got to witness the Lakers choking against the Celtics. Lame.

18. I'm rooting for the Lakers in this series mostly because of my complete hatred for all things Boston. The Lakers used to be my second favorite team back int the day (I owned a Magic Johnson jersey) but I got sick of 'em during the the Kobe/Shaq era. But when up against Boston...

19. Plus, I really like Pau Gasol. I always thought he was underrated.

20. On Friday, the women mostly wore bikini tops. On Saturday you started seeing women topless, but wearing body paint. Sunday? Just plain 'ol topless.

21. The Raconteurs: started off really great, but at the end it devolved into the Jack White Show. Still good... but if I wanted to watch Jack White show off, I would've preferred the White Stripes.

22. Most surprising act? Lez Zeppelin. Those chicks fucking rocked and they gave a killer late night show.

23. Also, lot's of lesbian couples this year.

24. Widespread Panic gave a great performance on Sunday night and I enjoyed it much more than previous Panic shows I've seen. That could have something to do with both the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Robert Randolph cameos.

25. I heard many campsite playing the sweet sounds of the Coral and I highly approve. I can't recommend their self titled debut enough (seriously, it kicks ass).

26. O.A.R.: not that good. They had a couple of decent songs, but I enjoyed their previous Bonnaroo sets much more.

27. Favorite show of the weekend: Disco Biscuits and their late night set. It was quite fantastic (I especially enjoyed their cover of "Killing in the Name") and I'm searching for a torrent of the show.

28. Walking back on Sunday night is an entirely different experience than walking home on Friday night. The weirdos are always out at night, but on Sunday, it's just the weirdos.

29. When you go with a bunch of friends, in multiple cars, your camping space is pretty big. When you have three guys in one car, your space is a tiny bit smaller. Just a tad.

30. I always try to think of bands that could fit as headliners. Artists I think we could see David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul Simon (with or without Garfunkel), R.E. M., John Mayer (not as a headliner) or some kind of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young combination (Neil Young has already played). I wouldn't be surprised to see either Eric Clapton or Weezer presence either.