Welcome to the fifteenth 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 if C.J. Miles deserves a starting job, the mysterious case of Alonzo Gee, Byron Scott sitting Waiters on the bench, Jared Sullinger’s sleeper status and LeBron James’ continued dominance.
First Question: Should C.J. Miles begin the season as a starter, whether at the two or three?
Zachary Kolesar: He’s definitely earned it thus far. I thought defense was going to be a big issue when Miles was on the floor, but he has looked strong in that department through the first three preseason games. He seems to be the answer to Cleveland’s swingman question, and is stepping up in a huge way when players like Alonzo Gee and Dion Waiters haven’t really made impacts in the preseason yet. You can tell that he put a lot of work into this season, something that Byron Scott will like to reward with a starting job.
Chris Manning: C.J. absolutely should be starting this season, and out of Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, and Miles, Miles has played the best by far. His scoring has been the highlight for, as his 14.0 points per game have given the Cavs the wing scoring they needed. So, due to a combination of his solid play and the struggles of Gee and Waiters, Miles is a lock to start in my mind. He has earned it, and so far, it appears that his signing was absolutely the right call, at least in the short term.
Dan Pilar: I like the idea of Miles starting and Dion Waiters coming off the bench. Waiters was a sixth man at Syracuse and thrived in that role. I believe leaving him in that spot will make the transition from college to NBA a little easier for him. When Waiters proves he can be a starting shooting guard in the NBA then put him in the starting rotation and take Miles out. I really like the attitude Miles has come in with. He understand were a young inexperienced team; he gets what were doing.
Second Question: What do you have to say about Alonzo Gee’s play so far?
ZK: Inexistent. In the first two preseason matches against Montepaschi Sienna and the Milwaukee Bucks Gee turned over the ball five times, scored seven points and shot under 50 percent. In fact, he only put the ball up seven times. Honestly, I had a feeling that Gee was not doing much in the time that he could have been signed with the Cavs and playing with the Summer League team. He has a starting job for now, but a couple more performances like the ones aforementioned could change that.
CM: He’s only averaging 3.5 points, and his shooting is at 42.9 percent from the field and a whopping 10.0 percent from three-point range. Those stats are lower than all of his career percentages, and granted it is early in the preseason, but it’s still concerning. This is a big year for Gee – he needs a true breakout season if he wants to get that big money, long-term contract he has been seeking. I’m going to assume that sooner rather than later Gee will improve and put up his normal stats, but for the Cavs sake, they need him to do that soon. It is very concerning that he has played so poorly thus far.
DP: His performance hasn’t made announcing a starting small forward any easier for coach Scott. Casspi had a surprisingly good performance in the Wine and Gold Scrimmage. It sure sounds like Casspi is forgetting his terrible first year in Cleveland and looking forward to his future. When Gee signed his contract with the Cavs everyone thought he was a shoe-in for starting small forward. He better get his act together or else he’ll find himself coming off the bench again.
Third Question: What do you think of the way that head coach Byron Scott is handling Dion Waiters?
ZK: When it comes to player discipline, coach Scott is one of the best in the business. Knowing that Waiters had some issues with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim didn’t scare the Cavaliers from taking him at No. 4., so Scott is definitely not afraid to keep him on the bench or not start him when he hasn’t met expectations. Scott needs to toughen Waiters up, and the only way he will do that is by letting him know that he won’t earn the starting shooting guard job easily.
CM: Coach Scott has handled Dion Waiters perfectly. Waiters has looked awful thus far, and it’s pretty apparent that his adjustment to the NBA is going to be rough. He looks to be in better shape, but he looks lost on both ends of the court. Waiters needs to understand that his playing time is not guaranteed by any means, and that he will have to earn his place in the starting line up. This why I am such a fan of Scott – he doesn’t play rookies just because they were high picks with lots of hype behind them. It’s better that Waiters learns this now instead of being rushed into a starting role he was not ready for.
DP: Some may not agree with drafting a player fourth overall and not starting him, but Scott knows what he’s doing. He played guard in the NBA and has coached some talented players. The relationship between Scott and Waiters may not be the strongest right now, but when the season begins and games start we’ll finally see where Waiters is in his development.
Fourth Question: Jared Sullinger has been turning some heads. What do you think of his play so far?
ZK: Celtic Nation should be really excited that they were able to come away with Sullinger at a steal position. After attending the drafty party at the Q, I was talking with my friends about how Sullinger was able to drop so low in the draft. I knew that there were concerns, but I at least thought he garnered a No. 15 pick at the absolute least. The 16-point, eight-rebound performance he had in Boston’s first preseason game turned a lot of heads, and I think that we’ll see many more games like this in the future.
CM: I’ve always been a huge fan of Jared Sullinger’s game. He’s a solid player around the rim, can rebound and is still improving as a player. I thought that he we was the steal of draft at No. 21 overall, and Boston is a great fit for him. He’s always been a talented player, so I am not at all surprised of his play thus far. He was one of those guys who stayed in college, and got picked apart and over analyzed. Sure he was out of shape at times and needs to work on his jumper, but he was still a high shelf prospect.
DP: He has been very impressive. He is making some teams regret letting him slide that far to the Celtics, but as a GM you have to be concerned with a player who has a back injury. Dwight Howard is going to miss the first fourth of the season possibly after suffering a back injury at the tail end of last season. As of now, looks like Boston is receiving the high reward so far.
Fifth Question: LeBron James scored 20 points and recorded five assists and five rebounds in 26 minutes against the Clippers on Thursday. Will anyone be able to contain him this season?
ZK: LeBron James will become the second players in NBA history to win four MVP awards in five years, joining the great Bill Russell. Back-to-back victories with the Cavaliers and back-to-back with the Miami Heat will solidify LeBron as the greatest to ever play the game. LeBron is at the top of his game right now, and will probably be for the next three or four seasons. He’s branding his own breed of player; someone who can play any position on the floor.
CM: I can’t see anyone stopping LeBron at all this season. LeBron is best player in the NBA without question, and his offensive game has been at a peak since last season. Not only has his shooting gotten better, but he also has decided to put himself down in the post where few can stop him. At 6-8, 250 pounds with elite athletic ability, a normal small forward cannot defend him because of a size difference. When you throw a power forward at him, he’s too quick to be stopped off the dribble.
DP: Well if you play with LeBron on NBA 2K13, then you know no one can stop him in the game. Last year he improved on his post moves and now they signed Rashard Lewis and arguably the best three-point shooter of all time, Ray Allen, to extend the floor; it hurts me to say, but it looks like he’ll get another MVP.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Chris Manning, Dan Pilar and Zachary Kolesar have to discuss at the “Weekly Roundtable.”