Welcome to the eighth installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” Every Friday Chris Manning, Dan Pilar and I sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. We answer three questions concerning the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today we will be discussing Dion Waiters’ Rookie of the Year chances, expectations for Tyler Zeller, another prediction for an Alonzo Gee signing date, the Sacramento Kings’ relocation plans and Derrick Rose’s return to the NBA.
First Question: After being projected on Thursday to finish fifth, where do you think Dion Waiters will finish in the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year voting?
Zachary Kolesar: Waiters will be cast into more of a role position in his first year with the Cavaliers, either as a starter or a defensive asset off the bench. The way things are right now Waiters should be a starter once the season opens. That will only help his chances of climbing up the Rookie of the Year ladder. The former Syracuse guard came off the bench in every game that he played in his two seasons there, averaging 1.8 steals. When Byron Scott calls upon him off the bench, he will be asked to be that pesky defender who rarely turns over the ball. As a starter, he will be asked to be the wing player that Kyrie Irving can depend on to knock down tough outside shots. With all that said, I believe that his stats won’t be as padded as the other rookies. He’ll finish around the projected fifth place, but will be a very valuable help to the team’s backcourt this season.
Chris Manning: All I can really say is that he won’t win. Anthony Davis is (and should be) the clear favorite. Davis has the best skill set, just played in the Olympics and has good cast around him in New Orleans. Waiters was voted fifth by his fellow rookies, and that sounds about right to me. I expect him to struggle a bit, much more so than Kyrie Irving. It also wouldn’t shock me if Tyler Zeller finished ahead of him simply because he’ll have an easier transition to the NBA due to him being a more mature player.
Dan Pilar: I believe Dion will finish fourth in ROY voting. I see him averaging right around 10 points and three assists. These will be decent numbers for a first-year player, but he will still finish behind gold medalist Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes and Michel Kidd-Gilchrist. With Barnes finishing in front of Waiters in voting I anticipate a lot of uproar and disappointment from fans in the Cavaliers selecting Waiters over Barnes.
Second Question: Will Tyler Zeller prove to teams such as the Detroit Pistons (drafted Andre Drummond) and Portland Trail Blazers (drafted Meyers Leonard) that he was overlooked in the 2012 NBA draft?
ZK: Zeller was a player that was in the Cavaliers’ top 10-targeted players on draft day, so getting him via trade after he was picked with the 17th pick was a steal in my opinion. He is the most athletic big man in the ’12 draft class in my opinion, and was also the most NBA-ready center. He’s an 80 percent free throw shooter and is quick on the court when he transitions from offense to defense and vice versa. With four years of college experience under his belt and a great showing in Las Vegas (11.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 90.5 free throw percentage) I believe Zeller is going to make an impact right away in his rookie season. He will definitely have a better campaign than Drummond or Meyers.
CM: I think Zeller has the most polished game of that trio, but he also has the least room to grow, which is why he went later. That being said, I think he’ll do better than Leonard and Drummond because he’s ready to go now. Those guys aren’t yet. Zeller will likely never be an elite player, but he will be a solid contributor and a potential cog for future Cavalier squads. That’s more than I think of the careers of Drummond and Leonard.
DP: Tyler Zeller is such a different player from Drummond and Leonard. No matter what night of the week it is and who the Cavs are playing, Zeller is going to get 13 points and eight rebounds per game. He won’t average these numbers right away, but will consistently provide offense for the Cavs night in and night out. Not taking anything away from Drummond or Leonard, but defenses will look to shut them down first because they can be dominant players.
Third Question: Although this seems like a weekly reoccurring topic, but how close to training camp will Alonzo Gee sign with the Cavaliers?
ZK: Scott and Chris Grant are confident that Gee will be suiting up in Wine and Gold once training camp begins. Although there were rumors last week that Gee would soon sign a three-year, $10 million agreement, those talks proved to be untrue according to Cavs’ personnel. Grant commented at the Cavaliers’ golf outing that Gee would most likely be signed very close to the beginning of training camp, which starts in late September. There’s no use in disagreeing with the man in charge, so I’m going to say we’ll still have to wait some time before the deal is finalized.
CM: At least a week in advance. He has nothing to gain in holding out, and it’s already been reported that he’ll sign soon. Gee needs the Cavs more than they need him. They signed his clone in C.J. Miles and they are the only team he was courted by. He needs to have a good year this season if he wants a big contract, and the sooner he signs and gets to work the better. There is nothing for Gee to gain by dragging this contract situation out.
DP: I stick with my choice from two weeks ago; I believe he will remain unsigned up until a few days before camp starts. Done and done.
Fourth Question: Will the Sacramento Kings be moving their team in the near future?
ZK: Since the 2007-08 NBA season the Kings haven’t ranked above 27th in the league in attendance. Two times they have ranked second to last and once dead last (2008-09) in attendance in the past five seasons, so I think at this point a move is imminent and has been discussed thoroughly. Joe Maloof just shot down reports that the team is having discussions with Virginia Beach to have the team moved there, which just didn’t make sense in regards to improving attendance. I believe the Kings will move eventually, but will have to weigh their many options that they have been approached with.
CM: The Kings are moving – I just don’t know where. Virginia Beach doesn’t make much sense, and either does Las Vegas. The Maloof brothers aren’t drawing there, and Sacramento hasn’t historically supported their team. They have talent like Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette that can/should draw fans. Even though I don’t get it, I expect the Kings to move to Virginia Beach. I feel for Sacramento fans though. Losing your team is something no fan should go through. All they have left is the Team Alpha Male, a premier MMA camp for lightweight fighters. Not much for a city that had teams that almost beat the Shaq-Kobe Lakers and where LeBron James made his NBA debut.
DP: Earlier in the season the mayor announced that they are working on a new deal to build a new arena for the Kings. I don’t care what kind of arena you have; the citizens of Sacramento will not come out and support the team. I believe they should move to Seattle. They have a great fan base out there that packs an MLS stadium every game, averaging nearly 38,500. That is a ridiculous number for an MLS team. And with the recent success of the Thunder, I’m sure Seattle is hungry to get back into the NBA.
Fifth Question: It seems that Derrick Rose is having a successful journey thus far in trying to get back onto the court to play basketball. When do you think we will see him suit up again?
ZK: With Rose, being my second favorite player to watch in the Association, I have been trying my best to closely follow his rehab journey. Although he seems to be making great strides, the best-case scenario for the 2010-11 MVP is for him to sit out all of the 2012-13 regular season and postseason. According to CSNChicago.com Rose’s rehab will continue through the All-Star break in February and the strength work that he is doing now will hopefully have him coming back to the NBA even stronger than he was before the incident last postseason. What Rose does on the court when he comes back is going to blow away fans, but that’s just my opinion.
CM: Next year. He should take the time off to heal from his ACL surgery and look out for his NBA career. Coming back too early won’t do him any good, and with his aggressive style of play, he needs to be fully healthy. The Bulls are better off as well if he comes back 100 percent. He is their franchise, and they need him long term if they want to contend. So, I expect him back for the 2013-14 season, when he will have had ample time to recover and be ready to be Derrick Rose and not a shell of Derrick Rose.
DP: I don’t want to say the Bulls will rush him back, but you have to expect some kind of urgency from them. They did draft Marquis Teague in the first round to try and fill the point guard role, but he isn’t going to lead this team in the playoffs. I believe Rose will return to the team in March, just in time to get them to a good playoff seed.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Chris Manning, Dan Pilar and Zachary Kolesar have to discuss at the “Weekly Roundtable.”