Welcome to the eleventh 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
First Question: The Alonzo Gee signing was imminent, but what do you guys think of the deal he signed on Monday?
Zachary Kolesar: I was somewhat surprised that the deal was of the three-year variety, with the third year being an option. GM Chris Grant made sure that the Cavaliers locked down Gee for at least the next two seasons because the team sees him as a pivotal piece in the rebuilding process. He made great strides last season in proving his worth off the bench, and should be in a heated competition for starting small forward with Omri Casspi and possibly C.J. Miles. We will get our first glimpse of Gee come October 1, but until then I can only be happy that Cleveland gave him more than a year to prove his worth. He’s earned it.
Chris Manning: Gee’s three-year, $9.75 million deal was a little bit higher than what I was expecting him to get. Considering how long this process has been drawn out, I was expecting a one-year deal that would allow Gee is fully explore his options next off-season. The drawn-out contract negotiations, coupled with the signing of Gee clone C.J. Miles, also made me believe that the Cavs were trying to work their leverage in the process. Gee, who was a restricted free agent, wasn’t receiving interest from any other teams, meaning he was going to be back in Cleveland no matter what. And even though I was a little shocked by the three-year deal, I like it a lot for both sides. For Gee, it gives him a stable contract for the first time in his NBA career, and also means he will grow as a player in a familiar environment. The Cavs also did well here because they got to keep a young, talented player on the roster on the cheap. That’s something they never did in the LeBron James era, when players like Donyell Marshall ate up the payroll. So even though I was not expecting the deal, I really am a fan of it for both parties involved.
Dan Pilar: The deal took longer than it should. On an earlier edition of Weekly Roundtable I said the Cavs should sign him for no more than $3 million. His deal was for slightly over $3 million, but I am happy with the deal. It makes the Cavs a better team.
Second Question: Who are your starters at shooting guard and small forward going into the season?
ZK: I’ve spent days switching back and forth between Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles for the starting two guard spot and Miles and Alonzo Gee as the starting small forward. I’m sure my opinion will change before training camp starts, but I believe that Waiters was pick at No. 4 to start right away. Kyrie Irving not being by his side in Summer League play may have hurt those chances, but time together in camp will really tell if the two are best paired together from the start. Right now I’m putting my money on Waiters being the starting shooting guard. In the article I wrote earlier this week I tagged Gee as the starting three. Nothing has changed since then, as he will come into camp determined once again to show his worth as a starter. Gee is a special player who is going to play a key role in the rebuilding process.
CM: As of right now, I have to go with C.J. Miles and Alonzo Gee for the starters at shooting guard and small forward, respectively. It’s not necessarily because they are the best players – Dion Waiters is more talented than both – but they are veterans. Waiters, in my opinion, needs to be eased into life in the Association. He’s raw, hasn’t started since high school, and looked pretty bad in Summer League. Part of that was due to Kyrie Irving breaking his hand, but he still looked bad. By starting the veterans, Waiters can play his familiar role as sixth man and then start around the All-Star break if he has shown that he’s ready and in shape. Plus, you know Coach Byron Scott isn’t going to put up with guys not willing to work, so I give the edge to the two veterans to start the season as the Cavs starting wing players.
DP: You drafted Dion Waiters; you got to start him right away at shooting guard. At Syracuse his role was sixth man, but you didn’t draft a player fourth overall to come off the bench. With Gee signing Monday, I believe he’ll be our starting small forward in the beginning of the year; primarily because the Omri Casspi project didn’t bode well last year.
Third Question: Which player do you think will work their way up through the Development League this season?
ZK: I think that power forward Kevin Jones was very overlooked in the draft, and due to his injury he will most likely start the season as a D-Leaguer. He has the capability to be a great scorer as a pro and will work his way up through the small ranks in a similar fashion to how Gee did a few years ago. The Cavaliers have some depth at power forward right now, probably their strongest position on the court. Jones could become a big bench contributor at some point throughout the season.
CM: Based on who is on the roster, former Wisconsin star Jon Leuer would be the most likely candidate to be sent down to the D-League. He’s still young (23), raw, and the Cavs are pretty deep at power forward with Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, and Samardo Samuels. Those three are firmly entrenched in the rotation, so it would actually be beneficial for him to go get regular playing time in Canton. Other than Leuer, the Cavs don’t have any developmental prospects. All of their backups have NBA experience, so it’s not likely that they plan to send them to play for the Charge. Leuer, a legit 6-10 with shooting kills, is the perfect fit to go to Canton, kind of like former Cavalier Manny Harris was in years past.
DP: I’ll be watching Michael Eric. He got good reviews in Summer League. I didn’t see him play great minutes, but he played well on the defensive end, he just needs to develop an offensive game.
Fourth Question: What do you make of LeBron James leaving CAA? (link: http://t.co/BHmqCVT9)
ZK: I have no problem with him hiring his friend Rich Paul as any agent. From the looks on Twitter, one could have saw this coming from a distance. I don’t think it will hurt LeBron in any way, shape or form. I don’t see any reason why other big-time athletes under CAA would bolt for another agent, as they are a reputable company and serve as the agents for greats such as Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter. They’ve been there long enough, and CAA has built up a big enough name to still draw other sports stars in.
CM: LeBron’s decision to be represented by childhood friend Rich Paul really doesn’t mean all that much. He’s also been one to trust his longtime friends (former SVSM teammate Maverick Carter is his business manager), so I’m not overly shocked. Also, NBA agents aren’t as important as in other leagues like the NFL. The NBA contract system is pretty straightforward, with set structures and amounts based on tenure and what team the player is signing with. Plus, Paul is a respected agent who also represents Cavs forward Tristan Thompson and Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe amongst others. Unless LeBron is planning another big media event to draw attention, then this is a non-story. CAA, a big agency that represents Carmelo Anthony and Peyton Manning among others, is losing more than LeBron is. James is at his peak right now, and he’s going to make tons of money. CAA is losing out on that.
DP: He still sucks.
Fifth Question: Who is the best point guard in the Association?
ZK: The NBA is turning into a point guard-dominant league, as the man calling the shots and touching the ball on almost every possession almost necessarily needs to be the best player on the court for a team. In mu opinion, Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league. There are many things that factor into the decision of best floor general, but Paul is great on all ends of the floor. He can score when asked to, is the best ball distributor in the NBA and is very effective on the defensive end of things. He averages 2.4 steals for his career and is still at the ripe age of 27. I have Derrick Rose as my second best point guard, but overall I would take Paul any day as my one.
CM: Right now I believe that Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA. CP3 does it all – scores, makes great passes, rebounds, etc. He is also the best defensive point guard since former Sonics star Gary Payton “The Glove.” Look at his stats from last season: 19.8 points per game, 9.1 assists per game, and 2.5 steals per game with 47.8% shooting from the field. He fills the stat sheet, and is also a leader. If you remember, Blake Griffin became a star this season for all his amazing dunks. He deserves credit for those, but remember who more often than not was throwing lobs up for Griffin. Paul is the best hands down. A healthy Derrick Rose, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Deron Williams, and Russell Westbrook (and maybe Kyrie Irving by the end of the season) have legitimate claims to the throne. But right now, Chris Paul is the best point guard in the Association.
DP: With this league transforming into a point guard driven league, you can make a case for many point guards for being the best in the league: Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and Tony Parker. All these PG’s are special and can do special things with the ball in their hands, but Derrick Rose has the best all-around game. Passing, shooting and rebounding; he can do it all better than any other PG in the league.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Chris Manning, Dan Pilar and Zachary Kolesar have to discuss at the “Weekly Roundtable.”