June 1, 2016, 10:32 pm
I’m sitting here not knowing what to do with no NBA basketball on so I thought I’d jot down some notes as I try to figure out some ways for the Cavs to beat the Warriors.
LeBron, you’re a center now
We’ll tackle the Steph and Klay issue in a second, but the first and most important piece the Cavs have to use on their side of the chessboard is King James. Moving like a queen in chess, it’s the one move the Cavs can make that the Warriors can’t really do anything about.
The Cavs need to ignore their urge to play things straight-up with a normal rotation and match LeBron’s minutes at center to any minutes that the Warriors use their death lineup with Draymond Green at center. This effectively knocks one of the tripod’s legs out from underneath the favorites. LeBron can outplay him in any phase of their games and the refs will protect LeBron, too. The heart and soul of the Warriors will be ripped out of their chests and handed back to them in a doggie bag.
Now I know – what if the Warriors go to the death lineup a lot. Like 20-30 minutes or more per game a lot. That would only leave 18-28 minutes for Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye. Tough titty said the kitty when the milk went dry (or chocolate milk in the case of Love).
So where does that leave both squads? For the Warriors the death lineup is comprised of Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Barnes and Green. Either Iguodala or Barnes will shred any of those three bigs in any number of ways. And yes, Thompson can rebound all over them and Love wasn’t around for last year’s battle and yes, the Cavs going small would go against the ‘you can’t play small against the Warriors’ mantra.
It doesn’t matter. You’re going to lose putting your inferior bigs up against the Warriors serviceable bigs or the Warriors’ stable of versatile smalls. Love isn’t a game-changing player like many hoped he would be, Thompson is a 1-2 trick pony and any minute Frye is on the floor is a losing minute in this series.
If you know you’re going to lose with that arrangement it’s time to look at Door No. 2. So what would the Cavs look like if they play LeBron at center for 20-30 minutes or more per game.
Bad Boys: 2010’s Edition
The Cavs desperately have to muck up this series. They need the games to be bloodbaths called with a loose whistle. They need grabbing and clutching to be commonplace and they need Warriors players to lose their legs if they want to put a dent in the unworldly shooting percentages.
Introducing Matthew Dellavedova, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Richard Jefferson. All of them range from defensive-minded to dirty and each of them is a more than fair swap in the event of any fisticuffs. Any second spent getting into that mental warfare on the Warriors’ side is a second won by the Cavs.
Matthew Dellavedova, Starter
Dellavedova should start and at a minimum have his minutes matched up with Curry. Because he’s a Steph stopper? No. That was ridiculous last season and it’s still ridiculous this season. But what isn’t ridiculous is saying that Dellavedova has improved his game on both ends of the floor. He’s not going to stop Steph but he’ll help create the air of a junked up game, setting the tone for refs to have to swallow their whistles or be forced to call a bunch of fouls and most refs don’t want to do that in a Finals series.
But that’s not even the most important benefit of starting Delly. The best part about doing it is that Kyrie Irving doesn’t have to cover Steph and he doesn’t even have to cover Klay, who can be guarded by J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert. Irving gets to cover Iguodala who isn’t likely to take over the offense and especially while he’s killing himself covering LeBron. And if you’ve forced Green to cover LeBron by going to this lineup you’ve already won because LeBron will beat Green most of the time.
Bring this home for me Bru, you’re crazy
So you’re looking at playing Dellavedova around 30-36 minutes, Smith his normal 30-35 minutes, Kyrie about 35-40 minutes, Shumpert from 25-35 minutes, Jefferson up to about 20 minutes and finally LeBron 40+ minutes. You are left with 30-60 minutes per game to dole out to those bigs.
If you want to match them up to any minutes that Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Marreese Speights or Anderson Varejao plays you have the better players on the floor and you’re still going small to some degree. With Love and Frye you’re getting that spacing Tyronn Lue and the offense crave. With Thompson you’re hoping your bigs beat their smalls on the glass or can match the energy of Bogut and Ezeli, who profile as better opponents for the Cavs than the rest of the Warriors’ lineup.
PG: Barbosa | Curry || Dellavedova
SG: Livingston | Thompson || Smith | Shumpert
SF: Iguodala || Irving
PF: Barnes || Jefferson
C: Green || LeBron
Big: Speights | Ezeli | Bogut || Love | Thompson
This helps cover the 3-point line with quicker players, it gets the scrappy/dirty players on the floor, it takes away the Green advantage, puts the best defenders on the floor against Curry and Klay, and makes any minutes played by the ‘Big’ lineup of GSW a win for the Cavs. Yes, they have to be very unorthodox in playing nearly $200 million worth of contracts for just 30-60 mpg, but orthodox isn’t going to win. Cavs fans should hope it doesn’t take 2-3 games for them to assuage the egos of all involved before implementing such a plan.
April 24, 2019, 11:50 amJeff Hornacek - Team - Sacramento Kings
Sam Amick of the Athletic is reporting that former Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had an interview with the Kings for the lead assistant coach job.
Sacramento has already hired Luke Walton to be their new coach but the news about the sexual assault allegations he faces might put his status in danger. Walton should be able to assemble his coaching staff once he is out of the woods but we should know more once the NBA concludes with their investigation of the matter.
Source: The Athletic
April 24, 2019, 11:11 amLuke Walton - Team - Sacramento Kings
Sam Amico of the Athletic is reporting that Luke Walton still has the Kings' support, despite the sexual assault allegations the newly-hired coach is facing.
The Kings are working with the NBA to investigate allegations made against Walton by his former colleague at Time Warner Cable, Kelli Tennant. The report adds that the two sides are moving forward with their working relationship and there doesn't appear to be any momentum toward firing Walton, who was hired earlier this month just three days after he parted ways with the Lakers. The Kings confirmed that they were not aware of the accusations until TMZ reported the news and that they will wait for the facts before making a decision on Walton's future. The investigation has been delayed because all parties haven't been able to access Tennant's lawsuit so more information should merge soon.
Source: The Athletic
April 24, 2019, 10:49 amJaren Jackson Jr. - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr. said that he wants to improve his "motor", his ball-handling skills and his shooting mechanics entering year two and he hopes to work with Kevin Garnett over the coming months.
Jackson and Garnett spent time together last summer and again in February when Garnett visited Memphis to feature Jackson’s game for his segment on TNT. "He has a work ethic that is a throwback that I'm very appreciative of," Garnett said in the segment. "I love working with him. He is the future. I look forward to him becoming the leader of Memphis." The rookie had an impressive season before getting shut down due to a bruised thigh, averaging 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.4 blocks, 0.9 steals and 0.9 triples per contest. He has tremendous upside and owners in dynasty leagues should feel great about him.
Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal
April 24, 2019, 9:56 amIvan Rabb - F - Memphis Grizzlies
Ivan Rabb plans to spend much of his offseason in the weight room as he tries to bulk up and show that he has NBA-level defense to pair with his expanding offensive game.
For all the charm of Rabb's smooth offensive repertoire, he knows his defense needs to improve. It was especially evident in an April 3 loss at Portland when Enes Kanter torched Rabb and the Grizzlies in the post for 21 points and 15 rebounds. Rabb posted almost identical statistics this season to those he posted in 36 games as a rookie, but the second-year post player knocked down 37 percent of his 3-pointers in the G League, showing a comfort level from beyond the arc previously missing from his game. Rabb's deal is non-guaranteed, so the Grizzlies could move on from him if they want but he is only 22 years old and has shown enough potential to likely warrant another season at the relatively low price tag of $1.6 million. Keep him in your radar as he might have an important role next season in what might be a rebuilding year for the Grizzlies.
Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal
April 24, 2019, 9:41 amClint Capela - C - Houston Rockets
The Rockets hope that Clint Capela has benefited from two more days of treatment for the virus that has sapped his energy through much of their first-round matchup against the Jazz.
Since opening the series with 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting, Capela has averaged just 7.3 points on 47.4 percent over the past three games. He was 1-of-6 with seven rebounds on Monday while the Rockets got outscored by 20 points when he was on the floor. "He's trying to battle through it," Mike D'Antoni said. "I think he's been great because he's been able to play. Each day that passes, the virus passes and he'll feel better. Hopefully next game, he's back to almost 100 percent.” The Rockets will try to close out the series on Wednesday night in Houston and they are going to need their starting center to show some signs of life.
Source: Houston Chronicle
April 24, 2019, 9:04 amJason Kidd - Team - Los Angeles Lakers
Bill Plaschke of the LA Times is reporting that the Lakers interviewed Jason Kidd only as a favor to his agent, Jeff Schwartz, who is also the agent for Lakers forward Brandon Ingram.
Kidd doesn’t really seem to have a chance at the gig and the fact that he lobbied for the job even while Luke Walton held it is a tremendously bad look for the former All-Star guard. Jeannie Buss looks like she has no plans, at least not yet, to support current GM Rob Pelinka with bright, young personnel as he instead is being assisted in this coaching search by Kurt Rambis. The Lakers continue to target Monty Williams, Ty Lue and Juwan Howard and the list doesn’t seem likely to expand.
Source: LA Times
April 24, 2019, 8:51 amEnes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers
Enes Kanter suffered a separated left shoulder in the first quarter of Game 5 on Tuesday night, but he received an injection at halftime and gutted his way through despite clearly being pain at times.
“I just tried to play through it," Kanter said afterward. "We'll see what happens in the future." The Blazers will have at least through Saturday off as they await the winner of the Nuggets-Spurs series. Kanter’s teammates and coaches were impressed with his ability to play with pain but this looks like a serious injury and it remains to be seen if the Turkish big will be forced to miss any time.
April 24, 2019, 2:18 amDamian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard put up an instant classic performance featuring a game-winning deep three, 10 total triples and a 50-spot in Tuesday's 118-115 closeout win over the Thunder in Portland.
Lillard started off Game 5 with 34 first-half points while playing all 24 minutes. He finished with seven boards, six dimes, three steals and a block while shooting 17-for-33 from the field and 6-for-8 from the line. Despite a big second-half Thunder run, Lillard kept it going all the way until the buzzer as his shot from near the logo fell, giving him an even 50 and a series win as he waved goodbye to the Thunder.
April 24, 2019, 2:08 amCJ McCollum - G - Trail Blazers
CJ McCollum put up 17 points (8-of-19 FGs), two rebounds, two assists, one triple and two blocks in 32 minutes in Tuesday's closeout win over the Thunder.
McCollum sat a little more than usual in the first half after getting his third foul early, though he also ended with three fouls in another example of why coaches should just leave players in until they get their fourth or fifth. McCollum had been on fire in this series, averaging over 26 points per game coming into tonight's game. He and the Blazers now wait to see if they'll get the Nuggets or the Spurs in the next round.
April 24, 2019, 1:55 amEnes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers
Enes Kanter toughed out a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double over 32 minutes in Tuesday's Game 5 victory over the Thunder.
Kanter also had four assists and a block while shooting 6-for-9 from the floor tonight. He got pretty banged up in the first half, injuring his shoulder which was heavily wrapped after the game. Kanter averaged over 13 points and 10 rebounds in under 30 minutes for the series and he looks like one of the best mid-season signings in the league at this point.