Welcome to the sixteenth 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 the Wine and Gold’s preseason performance, next round of player cuts, Dion Waiters’ shooting problem, axing pregame rituals and if Antawn Jamison deserves to be a Hall of Famer.
First Question: On a scale from 1-10, how concerned are you with the Cavaliers after their most recent preseason performance?
Zachary Kolesar: I’m partial to the Cavaliers play right now, so I would put my concern level around 5 right now. We have to realize that 1) this is the preseason and 2) there are a lot of new players who are just getting accustomed to playing at a competitive pace. Before laying the egg against the 76ers on Tuesday, I was content with the way the team had been playing. It’ll be rough in the beginning, but I think this team is in for a surprisingly good season.
Chris Manning: On a scale of 1-10, my concern level is a 6. I’m not expecting the Cavaliers to be a good team this season, and I could see a lot of those types of games happening. But that does not mean I don’t have legitimate concerns. Sans Kyrie Irving and Daniel Gibson, no one had a good game, and Dion Waiters was awful. If that becomes the norm, it’s going to be a long season on the shores of Lake Erie.
Dan Pilar: You can’t read too much into this preseason performance. Still, a young team trying to get use to each other. There a long way away from a playoff team, but the sky is the limit for the Cavs. It looks like Waiters will be in the starting lineup in the beginning of the year with Miles at the three. Our team win/loss record will depend on how these three perform together.
Second Question: Who do you think is the next player(s) to get cut from the current roster?
ZK: Michael Eric and sadly Kevin Jones. Going into the preseason I really liked what Jones did at West Virginia. He’s an exciting player, but just doesn’t fit on the starting roster right now. I’d assume that he would get a chance with the Canton Charge, as he hasn’t really had the playing time to properly show himself off. As for Eric, his duties are just not needed on this team at the moment.
CM: I think Kevin Jones has to be the next player to go. He’s got talent, but at small forward, both Alonzo Gee and C.J. Miles are ahead of him. Next up would be Michael Eric. Like Jones, there is some upside there, but he’s at a position (center) that the Cavaliers have two good players in Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller. Good luck to both of these players, but I think they are the next to cuts.
DP: I believe Michael Eric and Kevin Jones will be gone. Jones has a partially guaranteed contract, which indicates he won’t start the year in the NBA and will have to start in Canton. We haven’t seen Eric much at all this preseason and expect we won’t see him during the season as well.
Third Question: Should Dion Waiters be shooting more or less?
ZK: With the past couple starting lineups foreshadowing what head coach Byron Scott will go with to start the regular season, it is pretty evident that the Cavaliers will go with Waiters at the two. I agree with this decision, just not due to the production he has been putting on the court thus far. There have been times that Waiters has passed up on some great shooting opportunities, but other times he is very quick to chuck up the ball. He should be shooting more, but his shot selection needs to get way better.
CM: Dion Waiters should be shooting more – just not on the court. Waiters jumper has been awful so far, and that’s being generous. At times, it’s hard to believe that he was thought of so highly coming into the draft. He needs to get in the gym, practice his shot, and improve as a player. He also needs to let the ball come to him, as I believe he can be most effective when cutting and getting passes from Kyrie.
DP: It so hard to get a read on Waiters right now. He has been so inconsistent shooting from the field this preseason, I don’t think shooting will be his strong point this season. I do like how in some sets they have Waiters running the point and Irving at the two. I believe he has performed best in that situation. But we will need to replace our leading scorer, Antawn Jamison, somehow, so somebody is going to have to take the shots.
Fourth Question: What do you think about getting rid of pregame rituals in the NBA?
ZK: I agree with Chris in saying that it’s part of the NBA culture. Whenever you’re watching commercials or previews before the game you always spot the drawn-out Oklahoma City Thunder handshake, the Kevin Garnett head butt and of course the LeBron James powder toss. These rituals really don’t take up too much time, and I think it is something that fans, especially the youth, really enjoy. To think that the pregame rituals are what is making NBA games drag on is ridiculous.
CM: I understand it, but I don’t like it. It’s become part of the NBA culture, and the fans love it. When LeBron was in Cleveland, it was always worth getting to the game early so you could see him do his powder toss pre-game. If the NBA really wants to shorten games, they have other ways to do it. I understand the concerns, but it’s something the fans love, and the sport is about the fans. Leave pre-game rituals alone.
DP: You know the NBA preaches teamwork and sportsmanship. By them giving a time limit from them leave the huddle to tip off, eliminates some of that. Before every game the players slap hands and give dap showing sportsmanship. I understand some players have long pre game rituals, which could delay the start of the game. It just doesn’t make much since to try to and eliminate them showing fair play.
Fifth Question: Should there be discussion of Antawn Jamison being a Hall of Famer?
ZK: Grantland editor and writer Jay Caspian King does a really good job at arguing for Jamison being a statistical Hall of Famer. 20 players in the NBA have passed the 20,000-point, 8,000-rebound mark in the history of the league. If Jamison stays productive as the Lakers sixth man, something that he was familiar with in Dallas with Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki, he will become the 21st player to reach that milestone. A championship with the Lakers will only make this argument stronger.
CM: Honestly, before I read the fantastic piece by Jay Caspian King on Grantland.com, I didn’t even think of him in that category. But after I read that piece, I think he should be at least in the discussion. When he reaches the 20,000 point, 8,000 rebound category sometime this season, he will be in category that only twenty other NBA players are in. That has to put him at least in the discussion, kind of like having 10,000 rushing in the NFL does for a running back.
DP: Jamison is a true gentleman of the NBA. In Washington and Cleveland he was a very well respected player and now that reputation follows him to LA. He was in Cleveland per-LeBron, and stayed post-LeBron. He was a leader for the Cavaliers young players and everyone looked up to him. Unfortunately I just don’t think his numbers are Hall of Fame worthy. He has always been consistent year in and year out for his team, but has not had a Hall of Fame career.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Chris Manning, Dan Pilar and Zachary Kolesar have to discuss at the “Weekly Roundtable.”