The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t making headline news much these days. And most “experts” are writing them off as one of the bottom tier teams in the Eastern Conference this season. Fair enough – we were burned by our former hometown hero toward the end of the big time free agency period. But those same experts seem to forget that the Cavaliers have a pretty darn good team without LeBron James. And they have a coach in Byron Scott who has a knack for getting the most out of his players; by putting them in a great position to succeed on and off the basketball floor.
Judging by the comments made by majority owner Dan Gilbert and his actions over the last few years, it seems rather obvious that the front office won’t allow one individual to be the downfall of an entire franchise. So Gilbert and his staff have been extremely busy over the last several weeks to help build on an already steady roster.
Cavs Trade for Sessions, Hollins
For those of you that followed the Gospel throughout the NBA season, you already know that I am (and will always be) a big fan of Delonte West. Sure, the guy had some off court issues. But he’s a tough, athletic, hard-nosed guard that was a very good player when his mind was right.
But, with that being said, it was certainly a good time to send West packing. He was way too inconsistent last season. And for a team that lacks a superstar, consistency is going to be a key factor in whether the Cavs win or lose more games this season.
Sessions is just 24 years old and averaged 8.2 points per game on a career-high .456 shooting last season. Unlike Mo Williams, he is a pass-first point guard and holds the Bucks franchise record in assists with 24 in one game against the Bulls back on April 14, 2008. He even tossed in a 44 point showing against Detroit on February 7, 2009 – so he is much more versatile than just a passing point guard.
Hollins is a 25 year old, seven foot center. He runs the floor very well for a big man and should fit in very well within Byron Scott’s fast paced system. Given a substantial amount of playing time, I’d look for Hollins to at least double his career best scoring average (6.1) in Wine & Gold this season.
Overall, I think it will be a great trade for the Cavs. Sessions and Hollins both have the potential to excel under Coach Scott and their services came at a very small price – in my opinion.
Cavaliers Acquire Joey Graham
Joey Graham is another athletic guard/forward that just hasn’t reached his full potential yet. He averaged just 4.2 points per game last year for the Denver Nuggets but certainly has the ability to succeed under Coach Scott. He adds a tough, veteran presence on the perimeter which, added with his length, may give the Cavaliers another versatile defender to slow down opposing superstars.
It will all come down to how much Byron Scott can get out of Graham. We’ll see how this one turns out.
Scott Finalizes Coaching Staff
Byron Scott finalized his coaching staff on Thursday evening by naming Chris Jent, Jamahl Mosley and Joe Prunty to his crew along with summer league general Paul Pressey. Pressey spent the last three seasons of his 27 year NBA career working under Scott with the New Orleans Hornets. Jent will return to the bench for the Cavaliers for a second season as an assistant coach. Mosley worked the last five seasons under George Karl with the Denver Nuggets. And Prunty brings 14 years of NBA coaching experience to the team. He spent a large portion of his coaching career with Greg Popovich in San Antonio.
Each of the four assistant coaches brings a unique dynamic to the Cavaliers offensive and defensive attack. And three of the four have worked for future Hall of Fame coaches – Popovich, Scott and Karl. We’ll get a better feel for their contributions as the preseason/season progresses.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas Bids Cleveland Farewell
It was really odd to watch the Ilgauskas-less Cavaliers last season when Big Z was dealt to Washington for Antawn Jamison. I can’t imagine how strange it is going to be to watch the Large Lithuanian in Miami Heat colors this season.
Unlike LeBron, I truly believe that Ilgauskas loves Cavaliers’ fans as much as they love(d) him. He’s a class act and, although he is no longer in Wine & Gold, he’s still a member of our team. I wish the big guy the best of luck in Miami – though I won’t go as far as wishing him luck in his quest for a championship. Here’s the letter he sent out to the city via the Plain Dealer on Sunday morning: