Welcome to the thirty-third installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” This Friday Jerry Bulone and Zak Kolesar 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 Dion Waiters’ chances of taking home Rookie of the Year, the recent play of Luke Walton, 2013 NBA Draft pick predictions, Indiana Pacers-Golden State Warriors near brawl and impressive individual feats.
First Question: Can Dion Waiters play well enough over the final months of the season to claim Rookie of the Year?
Jerry Bulone: No I do not, and it’s not a knock on Dion, whom I think has really stepped his game up and is maturing rather nicely. I recently heard a great interview on the Byron Scott show, on VTAM 1100, where Coach Scott said he is seeing Waiters really open up to the team personally and is pleased with Waiters’ development on and off the court. Scott said the biggest difference is that Waiters now finally accepts the fact that he is not going to get the foul calls, so he just puts his head down, goes to the hoop and prepares to take his lumps. As a result, his shooting percentage, overall play and confidence has skyrocketed. That being said, Damian Lillard out in Portland has more points, assists, rebounds and better shooting percentages, so it’s just too much ground to make up.
Zak Kolesar: It’s an amazing feat for the Cavaliers to have a Rookie of the Year winner and a candidate for the award in back-to-back years. Dion will finish second in the voting, but I agree with Jerry that Lillard is just too far ahead of Waiters already. It’s not even remotely possible for Waiters to finish with a higher point total than Lillard (Damian has 1,050 points, while Dion has 739 points) over the final month and a half. This is Dion’s most noteworthy statistical category, so Dion’s struggle with forcing shots and putting up low percentage attempts early on in the season is preventing him from challenging Lillard for the award. Both players just recently won Rookie of the Month for their respective conferences.
Second Question: What do you have to say about Luke Walton’s play as of late?
JB: Not much at first to be honest. I always figured He would not be with the Cavaliers next year, however, lately he has resembled an NBA player having a few quality games. He may have even earned a roster invite next year. Scott did mention he likes Luke’s game, and his presence around the youngsters, however, this time around it will not be for a penny over the veteran minimum.
ZK: Walton went on a similar streak earlier this season and is taking it to another level this time around. His passes and precise and smart, he’s scoring at an efficient rate off the bench and is showing hustle on the court like we’ve never seen this season. Take for instance his key turnover late in the game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. After Alonzo Gee took too many dribbles for his own good, Walton came up with a sneaky steal on the next possession – helping the Cavaliers to their first victory over Chicago in 12 tries.
Third Question: What pick do you think Cleveland winds up with in the 2013 NBA Draft?
JB: It stinks, but I think they will be out of the top five for sure, maybe even the top 10. It is kind of bitter sweet. They are playing much bette,r and it is good to see them winning again. Now 11-7 over their last 18 games, however, part of me would have loved to see another top five pick with this young core of players the Cavs have put together. However, unless the Cavaliers win the lottery again, I believe they will be picking in the 8-12 range. They do have a lot of assets, so maybe they can trade up if they fall in love with a player.
ZK: Right now the Cavaliers currently have the seventh-best chance at winning the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery, with a 3.6 percent chance of nabbing the No. 1 overall pick. Cleveland is on the upswing, so I agree with Jerry that they could land with the eighth-twelfth best chance of winning the lottery. However, I don’t think there is a player in this draft that will entice the Cavaliers to trade up. Nerlens Noel won’t let his ACL injury set him back, but it may be too much of a gamble to give up valuable picks to move up for a player with question marks. There is a lot of shooting guard talent in this draft, but Dion Waiters has proven over the last month that it may not be a good decision for the Cavaliers to take another two with their first pick. Otto Porter, one of the highest rated small forwards, doesn’t have the talent compelling enough to merit a team trading up to pick him.
Fourth Question: How do you think the Indiana Pacers-Golden State Warriors tussle was handled?
JB: I thought it was handled okay – it didn’t turn into another “Malice in the Palace.” I have to admit that I did chuckle at Hibbert’s comments of how he just threw the “little guy” aside because he only fights guys his own size.
ZK: The coaches and refs did an excellent job at keeping the situation from getting out of hand. It looked like the tussle was going to pour over into the stands, and we know what happens when fans become a part of the game or altercation. The refs did their job by keeping the fight from pushing into the audience. The coaches did a great job at getting their players back to their respective benches.
Fifth Question: Which individual feat was more impressive on Wednesday night: Stephen Curry’s 11 triples, Curry’s 54 points or Tyson Chandler’s 28 boards?
JB: I think it’s Curry and his 11-of-13 three-point shooting. Hitting 11 threes in any game, let alone an NBA game, is incredible. The 54 points are not as impressive because Curry actually shot worse from inside the arc (46%) then from three-point range (86%) during that game. Thus, he doesn’t get the 54 points without catching fire from outside. The rebounds stat was a close second. However, that is more of a hard worker accomplishment, where as Curry’s was an incredible skill achievement.
ZK: I agree with Jerry on this one. Although the Warriors couldn’t come away with the victory over the Knicks, Curry was one three away from tying Donyell Marshall (!!!) and Kobe Bryant for most three pointers made in a single NBA game. Wilt Chamberlain and Bull Russell posses most of the top records for most rebounds in a game, as Chamberlain recorded 55 boards back in 1960. Tyson Chandler’s 28 rebounds is a testament to the hard worker that he is down low, but Curry was closer in regards to having his name etched in NBA history.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Jerry Bulone and Chris Manning have to debate at the “Weekly Roundtable.”