So, I had the chance to grill Conrad Kaczmarek, from the SB Nation Blog, Fear the Sword. This should get you read for to-Knight’s game. Get it? Knights? Like Cavalier is a kind of knight? I’ll show myself out…
1. It’s pretty obvious the Cavs are in the midst of another rebuilding year, but I certainly didn’t expect 5-19 out of the gate. Aside from the injuries, what’s gone wrong?
Roughly everything. That’s actually not true, but it sounds true. The 5-19 record is a bit deceiving because the Cavaliers really haven’t been that bad. When everybody was healthy, their starting lineup was one of the best ones in the league and it was just their bench that was preventing them from getting wins. Now that the starting lineup has been completely obliterated with injuries, the bench has stepped up. Funny how that works, hmm? The defense isn’t good and the inexperience has shown on a number of occasions. But this team hardly ever gets blown out and has beaten and almost beaten some really good teams. Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t think they’re that far away from being a competitive, bottom half of the playoffs team.
2. For those of us who haven’t gotten the chance to see the Cavs play and don’t know much about the team outside of the wunderkind Kyrie Irving and the rebounding prowess of Anderson Varejao, who’s the player or players to watch?
Right now? Like in this game? Not a whole lot. I’d tell you to watch Dion Waiters because he’s really exciting (not always in a good way), but he’s still sitting this one out with an ankle injury. if you want to watch closely, pay attention to all of the little things that Tristan Thompson does to impact a game. His offensive rebounding and solid post defense are quite underrated and not necessarily sexy skills that people notice, but the numbers don’t lie and the Cavs are significantly better when he’s on the court. Of course, if you are looking for sexy stats, Boobie Gibson and CJ Miles might go off and hit a bunch of threes.
3. Speaking of which, there’s been ever-increasing chatter that Varejao will be traded in the near future. Granted, a great deal depends on what the return is, but, say you wake up tomorrow morning and find that you and Chris Grant have swapped bodies, “Freaky Friday”-style. Are you taking advantage of your magical authority to move Sideshow Bob? If so, what’s the parameters of a deal you, fake-Chris Grant would consider?
If I’m Chris Grant, I’m making it known that Anderson Varejao is on the trading block but I’m not actively shopping him. That is to say, I’m in no way TRYING to get rid of him. Maybe I’d ask some teams for a semi-ridiculous package of players and picks and see if they scoff and hang up the phone or if they counter-offer. If they counter-offer, we might be able to work something out. The bottom line is that Andy has too much value to the Cavs and there’s probably not a team that is willing to give back fair value in a trade. If I were Chris Grant and didn’t see any offers that appealed to me, I’d have absolutely no problem hanging up the phone and holding onto the league’s leading rebounder.
4. And finally, what’s your prediction for tonight’s game?
I’m a homer, but I picked the Cavaliers to win. Without Melo, I feel as though the Knicks rely way too much on three-point shooting. If they aren’t falling, the Cavs should be able to spend all night in transition and in the paint with Kyrie Irving. Cavs win 105-100.