Waiting For Next Year is a blog dedicated covering the Cleveland Sports scene. During this series, we’ve had some amicable and some not so amicable discussions with their team members…..mainly on the Bullets Forever comment sections. In the spirit of good blogsmanship, Rick from WFNY and I exchanged some Q&A on our teams and this tumultuous series…..here goes:
WFNY: Are the Wizards really a better team without Arenas on the floor?
TAI: The short and sweet answer is yes, right now they are (his injury factors in heavily on my answer). The question everyone will ask is what about Gil and next year (if he stays true to his word on opting-out). I like Gilbert Arenas, he’s a card. I enjoy his charisma and his killer instinct on offense…a prerequisite if a team ever expects to have championship hopes. However, Gilbert has many hills to climb in terms of gaining maturity. I’m optimistic that it can be done, but I just hope his quirkiness doesn’t hold him back.
TAI: In your post after game 5, you were pretty pissed at Mike Brown. To myself, and then Prada on Bullets Forever, this seemed like an unfair knee-jerk reaction. Do you feel the same today? The reason I ask is that I’ve been a supporter of Eddie Jordan from day one….but Wizards fans have been back and forth all year….most recently expressing their desire for Mike D’Antoni or Avery Johnson after the Wizards loss in game 4.
WFNY: Absolutely. You have to understand this is more than a one game reaction. Mike Brown is a very good defensive coach, even though the Cavs have given up more points this year than in previous years. Brown took over a team that couldn’t spell defense, and turned them into one of the better squads in that area. But this man is probably the worst offensive coach in the league. Take a look at last year’s finals. No creativity what-so-ever on offense. All season long the Cavs have struggled getting into their offensive sets. They are constantly having to throw up bad shots because the clock is running out. He has one of the most prolific scorers in the game, and he can’t figure out how to get him the ball unless West hands it to him at the top of the circle. Post LeBron up down low, have him catch balls off of screens, for goodness sakes run a pick and roll! Zydrunas can hit an 18 footer with regularity. Why can’t he and LeBron work on a 2 man game that would be deadly….
WFNY: Haven’t heard much chirping before this game, has Butler finally got this team focused?
TAI: A definitive yes on increased focus. Both Caron and Antawn Jamison have recently said some very strong words of leadership in the papers….finally, talk from Wizards players of which I can be proud.
I certainly have expressed my opinion of fodder that has come from the Cleveland end of the spectrum….but more so, I’ve been critical of DeShawn Stevenson and Gilbert Arenas for their lack of professionalism. I could barely take satisfaction in the Wizards’ 36 point win in game 3 because of DeShawn Stevenson’s antics. And I think I expressed that in my blog of the game and in the comments section.
TAI: LeBron has proven himself to be a great passer, and I think this “hockey assist” thing that Mike Brown is preaching is novel approach. But I couldn’t help but wonder why LeBron was deferring towards the end of game 5. Yea, it’s clear that for the Cavs to take it to the next level, LBJ needs to take responsibility for his teammates involvement….and you make some great points in your response about Mike Brown.
I guess what I’m trying to ask is: What do you think of the hockey assists approach? How much falls on LeBron’s shoulders? Would you have rather seen him drive to the hoop when Cleveland needed points instead of saving it for the last possession?
WFNY: That game ended with no points from our last 4 possessions. That is ridiculous. Even one basket there, and the Cavs probably win. My biggest problem was with the outside shots. LeBron’s three pointer was a terrible decision. I wrote as much in the Mike Brown piece you referred to. The kick-out to Gibson wasn’t a horrible decision, but there was no need to take a 3, and we hadn’t been hitting them. If Daniel had pump faked the Wizard running at him would have flown 5 yards behind him, or crashed right into him. A pump fake and quick dribble gets you a better shot, or a defender leaving the low post. Either one would have been better options. Or why not go to Zydrunas there? He is a lot closer to the basket, and he’s the best free throw shooter on the team.The ‘hockey pass’ offense is primarily for transition attempts. Or it should be. For that idea to work in the half court, there would have to be motion, and the Cavs are not big into motion offenses. The best guy we have at moving without the ball is Wally Szczerbiak, and I don’t think you are afraid of him are you?
WFNY: Who has the edge going into tonight’s game? Is it the home team, or does the pressure of having to win throw the advantage to the Cavs?
TAI: I’m going to obviously go with the Wizards….not so much because of the home court advantage but more because they know that Gilbert’s out. Caron knows he must continue to be assertive. Antawn Jamison knows another 8 point effort won’t cut it. And the rest of the team knows to fall in place to their roles from when this team was beating the likes of Boston, New Orleans, and Dallas (twice each) without Arenas. I also wonder how the Cavs will play with the comfort of knowing that a possible game 7 will be on their court.
TAI: My final question before this post gets too long….
I like the scrappiness of Delonte West….. he has decent height and an array of skills. Seems like Cleveland has always been trying to find a PG who can play with LeBron. Is Delonte finally the answer? If yes, then why. If no, then what type of PG, or who, would be ideal? (funny how ESPN lists the Cavs game 5 starters as C, C, SF, SF, SG)
WFNY: The jury is still out on Delonte. There are questions about his defense, and Mike Brown rewards defense with playing time. Funny thing is that the first game Delonte played in Cleveland he and LeBron pushed the tempo quite a bit, and it looked like they were going to click. Unfortunately, the rest of the team can’t handle that pace. Z, Varejao, and Wallace might as well have lead shoes on.The question about Delonte kind of goes back to the question about Mike Brown. What is Delonte being asked to do? He can break the trap, which is an area the Cavs struggled with b
efore Delonte got here. But when nobody is moving, there is no need for point guard. Too much isolation for Delonte to really be a traditional PG. I like that West can get into the lane, but he needs to be a better finisher for that to be effective. His height hasn’t translated to much when he gets inside. He loses his confidence quickly as well. Of course, it doesn’t help that he was being replaced when he struggled to shoot.Delonte is the real key to this trade working out for the Cavs long term. I’m curious what he is capable of doing next year after going through camp and practice with LeBron and company. Who would be ideal for this team? John Stockton. Shoot, I’d love for Mark Price to be this team’s PG. Deadly from the arc, and good vision. That would make LeBron so much better. Sigh.
TAI: You provided some great answers. Thanks a lot Rick, and good luck.
WFNY: Thanks for chatting with us. I’d say good luck, but I don’t mean it. Nothing personal. I just would rather my team win….
TAI: Ha! I meant…..good luck with your blog.