Welcome to the twenty-eighth installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” This Friday Jerry Bulone and Chris Manning sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. The combination of rotating RDE duos answer three questions regarding the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today the discussion revolves around Kyrie Irving’s status as an All-Star, most helpful asset in trade with Memphis Grizzlies, a hypothetical name change, All-Star snubs and the inception of the New Orleans Pelicans logo.
First Question: Do you think Kyrie Irving deserved to make the Eastern Conference All-Star Team?
Jerry Bulone: Yes, he absolutely deserved it. In fact, for someone that thinks he didn’t deserve it, I would like him or her to name 12 players in the Eastern Conference they would rather have than Irving (your list will not get past four or five players). He is sixth in scoring, and his shooting percentages are all high. He is getting better defensively, especially in the month of January, where he is averaging 2.5 steals. However, most impressive is his performance in the clutch. He led the league in points during clutch time last year as a rookie, and is boasting similar numbers this season. This will be the first of many All-Star games for this 20-year old.
Chris Manning: Without question. Even with the Cavaliers being one of the worst teams in the NBA, Irving has been a real star when healthy. He’s sixth in the NBA in scoring – averaging almost six assists – and is shooting a shade under 50 percent from the field. Plus, just the other night, Irving outplayed Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, who is the starting point guard for the East. Putting forth a sensational fourth quarter, Irving showed (to me) that he is the best point guard in the conference right now. So, in my opinion, Irving is not only an All-Star, but he really should be the starter. He can score, pass, shoot the three and has shown an increased focus on defense. His injury does take some of the luster off, but it is not enough to take him away from All-Star consideration. But like Jerry said, this will the first of many All-Star games for this 20-year old.
Second Question: Which player that the Cavaliers acquired in the trade with Memphis do you think will have the biggest impact on the team?
JB: This trade should have been considered a crime! GM Chris Grant outdid himself with this one! Anyway, besides the first round pick, I think Mareese Speights will come in and have a huge impact. In fact, I think he will have a role on the team for many years to come. He has shown in Memphis that when he gets minutes, he can produce, and the minutes will be available in Cleveland. I fully expect him to flourish and be a mainstay on the Cavaliers much-improved bench.
CM: Marresse Speights, and it’s not really even a question. Coming off the bench, he’ll be getting immediate minutes, and as a face-up player, provides a different skill set that any other big on the Cavaliers roster. While I am not as enthusiastic about this trade as my colleague, I do think Speights is very nice addition to the bench. Wayne Ellington is another limited wing, and Josh Selby is likely just replacing Jeremy Pargo as the third string point guard. Speights, as I said, will get minutes, and hopefully this bumps Luke Walton out of the rotation. There is no value in having a player like Walton in the rotation when there is a clear upgrade available. And with his contract only running through next season, he is not a long-term risk.
Third Question: If you were assigned the task to rename the Cavaliers, what would you change their name to?
JB: I like the Cavaliers name, so to be honest, I never even thought about another name. I would tell my boss to poll the fans first, to see if they would want a name change.
CM: I would not change it, and I would imagine most Cleveland fans would concur with me. The Cavaliers have been around since the ‘70s, and while not the as much a draw as the Browns are, the Cavs are a Cleveland staple. While not a totally glorious history, there are great moments like the Miracle of Richfield and great players like Mark Price that give the franchise some history. And honestly, what would you change it to? The Cleveland Asian Carp? The Cleveland Burning Rivers? Or in a throwback to the WNBA days, the Cleveland Rockers? Honestly, team name changes are such a wild and unlikely event that it’s hard to even fathom where I would begin.
Fourth Question: Who was the biggest All-Star snub?
JB: I think in the East it’s Brook Lopez, and in the West it’s Stephen Curry. I was actually shocked Curry didn’t make it. The kid is playing phenomenal, and is a big reason why the Warriors are where they are. Lopez is not a big name, yet I would rather have him over both Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh. However, we all know the All-Star game is more of a popularity contest than anything else.
CM: I concur with Jerry; it’s Brook Lopez in the East and Stephan Curry in the West. Lopez is having a career year for Brooklyn, and he’s a major reason why the Nets are third in the East right now. Curry has been the Warriors MVP, and when he is out, they look like a totally different team. While arguments have been made for the Clippers Jamal Crawford in the West, Curry is simply on another level. Marc Gasol, the West’s best center, is also a major snub. The sad part about this is that all three of these guys have had seasons equal or better than players at their position, and appear to be a victim of just not being as well known. This holds especially true with Lopez, who has had a much better season than Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh.
Fifth Question: What do you think of the New Orleans Pelicans logo?
JB: I think it’s an idea you are going to love or hate, so there is not much middle ground there. And I have to say that when I heard the new nickname for the New Orleans Hornets, I had my doubts. It just didn’t seem fit for an NBA franchise. It sounded more like a little-known Division II college or a minor league baseball nickname. However, after looking at the new logo, I think it works. I like the color scheme and they did an incredible job of making a Pelican look mean!
CM: I’m all for it. It’s still odd to me that a Pelican is now an NBA mascot, but there are weirder ones out there. For example, what is a Clipper? And in Utah, I am pretty sure the average Mormon in Provo is going to have a hard time identifying with a genre of music that comes from black communities in the Deep South. This also fails to mention the NBA also has two franchises that have two teams involving witchcraft and wizardry. All and all, I do really like the Pelicans logo. It is simple in both color and design, and with the alternate logos including the fleur-de-lis, I think the logos are a slam dunk. The overall success of the new mascot, though, will depend on how the jerseys turn out.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Jerry Bulone and Dan Pilar have to debate at the “Weekly Roundtable.”