On Tuesday, Oct. 8, Co-Editor Zak Kolesar conducted an RDE exclusive interview with Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Marc J. Spears, examining the moves that the Cleveland Cavaliers made last season and how the team can improve with its newest offseason additions this past offseason. Spears provided a lot of insight on Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Andrew Bynum and Jarrett Jack, so make sure to check out what an NBA expert thinks of your Wine and Gold.
Right Down Euclid would also like to thank Noah Gold, member of the DKC Public Relations, Marketing & Government Affairs team, for setting our site up with the opportunity to speak with Speaks.
Right Down Euclid: I recently watched your sit-down interview with Stephen Curry, and I see a lot of petite similarities between Kyrie Irving and him. Both players are similar in their passive-aggressive approach to dunking, expectations are raised this season for each player’s club, both guards present unique lineups with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala on one side and Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack on the other, their best games came in losing efforts at Madison Square Garden and they could be the best point guards in the league right now. What do you have to say about these two in regards to the other point guards in the league?
Marc Spears: Well, Kyrie and Steph are definitely two of the most exciting point guards in the league. The odd thing is that Kyrie is an All-Star, and Steph isn’t, which is probably surprising to a lot of people. Kyrie actually could be the best young point guard in the league. I look forward to seeing him and Steph Curry against each other, and even Derrick Rose and John Wall. There are a lot of great young point guards in the league right now, and Derrick Rose is still probably the best when healthy. But Kyrie is the next up-and-coming guy, and he just does so many things. I’ll tell you some Cavs fans a tip: He worked on his shooting a lot this offseason with Phil Handy, who is one of the NBA’s best, if not the best, player development coaches that they picked up from the Lakers. And there were certain things that Kyrie proved. I think he even feels better about his shot now. So as great as Kyrie was last year, I think Phil is going to give him a little extra umph to make him a little better. So it’s going to be scary to see what Kyrie is going to do, but I know his competitiveness, I know Stephen Curry’s competitiveness, I know they’re going to go at each other hard the two chances they have to play together.
Co-Editor’s Note: The Cavaliers will play the Warriors on Dec. 29 in Cleveland and on March 14 in Oakland
RDE: Speaking of two other younger Cavalier players, what do you think about Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson co-existing on the same roster? I know you expressed interest in Bennett before–comparing him to Larry Johnson–but do you think one will be moved before the year is over, or is Bennett going to be able to switch over to small forward?
MS: I see Bennett actually not playing much, if not any, small forward, this season. Having talent is a good thing to have, and the Cavs seem pretty settled at each position, deep at each position. I think there’s probably room for a sixth man for Bennett coming out the gate. I think they’ll adjust, and who knows, maybe Tristan ends up being a center with Bennett starting at power forward in time. I just think it depends on how great Anthony comes around. I think the good thing is that he’s not coming in with [a lot of] weight [on his] shoulders and on his back. That’s Kyrie. So he gets to grow at a reasonable, slow speed. So do I think they’ll make a trade before the season ends? No. Could it be in time, could it be attractive? I think it depends on how both of those guys look.
RDE: Recently there was an article by Lee Jenkins in Sports Illustrated talking about Tristan switching his shooting hand from left to right. How do you think that will affect his shooting percentages this year and where he’s going to be able to produce on the floor?
MS: It’s going to be different, huh (laughs)? It might be a little odd. I’ve been hearing that he was working on that, and I think it certainly makes them more versatile and intriguing. If he feels more comfortable shooting that way, more power to him. That’s great. It would be better if he were a baseball player I guess, but we’ll see how it works. Being able to shoot with two different hands definitely makes it difficult for the best shot blockers.
RDE: This past summer you said that Cleveland would be a top-5 or top-6 team if the Cavs picked up Andrew Bynum. The second part of the aforementioned sentence came true, but how do you think he’s going to work in this offense? Because he was calling for the ball a lot in Los Angeles.
MS: I do think the thing is you can’t make those demands right now because he hasn’t been healthy. He has to be healthy and be playing a lot of minutes before he can start demanding how many balls he should get, or touches. I think he should play 15 minutes at first, and go from there. The good thing about the Bynum, and I think that’s the same thing with Bennett and with Andy (Varejao), is that he doesn’t have to play 30 minutes for them to be successful. Anderson Varejao is very good, Tristan Thompson is a good player and Anthony Bennett; the sky is the limit for them. They have other guys at the four or the five. They can take their time. It’s a good move for Andrew because they need him, but he’s not a do-or-die player for them. It’s kind of like (Greg) Oden in Miami. Whatever he is able to give is a bonus, but I think you have to prepare as if you’re not expecting anything. When they want him is more so during the playoffs more so than right now. So if I think he can make a contribution of 15-20 minutes come postseason time, and that’s going to be a nice lift. I don’t expect him to be the determining factor. He could be a good spark for him. I don’t know if you can expect much from Andrew right now after what he’s been through.
RDE: I know you’re from the Bay Area, so you’re pretty familiar with Jarrett Jack. Other than making Kyrie a better off-the-ball player, what do you think Jack adds to this offense?
MS: He’s going to be a fan favorite in Cleveland really fast. Great jumper, not scared to take the big shot, very gutsy player, energizes the crowd, loves the fans and will take every picture. He will talk to the guy in the first row or try to hype people up. It’s interesting; Klay Thompson told me [on Oct. 8] that he learned a lot from Jack on how to prepare to come off the bench. And one thing that Jarrett did is he always stood up when someone made a big basket, trying to get the crowd up while he was on the bench. If [Klay] comes off the bench, he’s going to do a lot of things Jack did. I think he’s a tremendous addition. So I expect him to play for Kyrie at times If Kyrie misses some games at times, he’s a quality starter too. So that was a nice pickup and the Cavs did a quality job.
Make sure to respond to Marc Spears on Twitter at @SpearsNBAYahoo to let him know what you think of his take on the Wine and Gold. Also make sure to comment in the space allotted below to discuss what Marc had to say about Kyrie, Jack, Bynum and the rest of the Cavaliers.