Are you ready for some basketball? It’s time to get the 2011-2012 season going. Tonight will be our first look at a new look Cavaliers team. Coach Byron Scott will be counting on several players to make an impact this season. Here are five players to keep an eye on as the Cavaliers face the Pistons in the first pre-season game.
Obviously, all eyes will be on the first overall pick Kyrie Irving. The point guard from Duke is a talented young man who can not only shoot, but can handle the ball and pass it off as well. He’s going be expected to be the center of the Cavs offense. He’ll be both setting up plays as well as scoring. One thing to watch for is Irving in fast break opportunities. Watching him at Duke, he seemed to excel when having the ball in the open floor. It should fun and exciting to see him attack the basket during fast breaks off of turnovers on the defensive end of the floor.
When the Cavaliers drafted Thompson with the fourth overall pick, fans were very surprised. He was not well known for scoring a lot of points. But he is an amazing rebounder and is solid at the defensive end of the floor. He replaces JJ Hickson, who got into Byron Scott’s dog house because of his lack of effort. Thompson is a smart player who never quits and always wants to get better. He spent a lot of time between the end of his freshmen season and the draft improving his jump shot. A private workout with the Cavs finally had them sold. He should be fighting for rebounds on both ends of the floor and could be a surprising force in the paint.
Acquired in the JJ Hickson trade, Omri Casspi is a fiery young small forward from Israel. He can attack the basket and is great in the open floor. He’s a pesky defender and is a high energy player. It would be nice to see if he can work on his jump shot a little bit; specifically his shooting arc. At times his shooting arc appears to be too low. That could lead to blocked jump shots if he can’t keep the arc a little higher. It will be interesting to see how he plays. The Cavs could use a player with his high energy and motor at the small forward position.
It is well documented that Christian Eyenga has all the athletic ability in the world. He can get up and down the floor quickly and has the ability to jump over people. He’s also got the potential to be a good defender. But like Casspi, he must work on his jump shot. Casspi and Eyenga could prove to be a good tandem at small forward.
In my mind, this is a make or break season for Daniel Gibson. The Cavs will be looking for him to step up at either point guard or shooting guard. With the team using amnesty on Baron Davis, that leaves Irving, Gibson and Harris as the point guards. He will have a chance to be the backup point guard to Irving. I’ll be rooting for him and watching him closely, not just on Friday, but during the entire season to see how he handles the point guard position.