The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Kelly Dwyer

Posted by disappointmentzone on 6 February 2007

A lot of people have been fond holding up Danny Ferry with a particular sort of ferocity while I’ve been trying to make the point that Ferry hasn’t done much as the Cavs’ GM and what he has done has been if not terrible then at least not good.

Enter: Kelly Dwyer, one of the better basketball writers on the internets. He writes for In his column this week he has some thoughts about the Cavs roster, and in particular the possibility of blowing it up and starting over. Here are a few quotes:

Excluding LeBron James, natch, it appears as if the supporting cast that general manager Danny Ferry has assembled is entirely replaceable, but would anyone want these guys?


Larry Hughes is the biggest issue here. His defense is sound, if unspectacular…Numbers like 14.4 points and 3.1 assists seem passable until you realize that Hughes is playing close to 36 minutes a night, and his ability to clean the glass seems to have diminished. Hughes averaged 6.3 rebounds in 38 minutes two years ago, but that mark is down to 3.5 this season.


What’s worse is the idea that Hughes might stand alone as the worst free-agent acquisition of the last few years.


Hughes is owed $36.4 million over three seasons after 2006-07, and it’s hard to see him justifying about half of that cash. The idea of pairing LeBron with an older, workingman’s version of himself seemed crazy enough to work when Cleveland brought Hughes on board in 2005, but the chemistry hasn’t been there, and Hughes’ trade value is about as low as trade value gets.

Ok. So the Cavs are struggling to win games even though they have played the 28th easiest schedule in the league. The team will almost certainly not win 50 games this season and the team is on pace to finish out of the top four in the Eastern Conference (the Cavs are currently in 5th). That’s what I would call a step back from last season. With Varejao about to become a free agent, Snow and Marshall aging right before our eyes, Hughes doing what Hughes has pretty much always done, which is not be a productive basketball player, it’s pretty clear that going forward the skies will be no brighter than they are right now and will probably be a whole lot darker.

I do not think it is possible to make a sensible defense of Danny Ferry’s job performance. Seriously. Not possible.


4 Responses to “Kelly Dwyer”

  1. Ben said

    I don’t want to get into this again, but all I have to say is that Ferry didn’t have a lot of options besides Hughes. Does it look bad now? Ya, I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

    But I keep coming back to this thought: what should have Ferry done instead?

    There was no way the Cavs could’ve not spent that money. Not with LeBron’s contract looming in the horizon. And they had to upgrade the shooting guard spot. If they would’ve come back from that offseason with Z, Marshall and Jones, it would’ve been awful.

    I think a lot of the blame for the Cavs woes land with Mike Brown. The offense is terrible and the team doesn’t seem motivated. Dwyer mentioned how Hughes’s (Hughes’?) rebounding is way down and how guards rebounding can lead to fastbreaks. Brown needs to get these guys focussed on what they need to be doing (not allowing Hughes to get away with jumpers and not crashing the boards) The signings haven’t worked out perfectly, but they haven’t exactly been used to the best of their abilities either.

  2. Randall said

    Varejao is about to become a restricted free agent, which is actually a very advantageous position for the Cavs to be in (see Eddie Curry, Tyson Chandler, and Joe Johnson in offseason 2005), and likely the real reason the Cavs don’t want to trade him without getting some serious value. I just don’t understand what the big deal is about this guy that you could possibly use this as part of the “sky is falling” mentality. He is a poor man’s Tony Battie for Chrissakes! Take away the afro and you basically have Kurt Rambis.

    I agre with Ben that a bigger problem has been coach Brown. It is his job to design an offensive system which utilizes/maximizes the talents of his roster. I applaud his commitment to playing good defense, but not at the expense of failing to develop any identity whatsoever on the offensive side of the floor. I hate to quote Don Rumsfeld, but you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. This is something Butch Davis never figured out. That said, Mike Brown is younger and seems much more open to changes.

  3. Erik said

    I agree with Ben and Randall. The team’s problems are about 90 percent Brown and 10 percent Ferry’s players.

    If this team was pulling a Golden State Warriors and inking guys like Adonal Foyle and Mickael Pietrus to six-year deals, yeah, I think you could make a case that Ferry is running this team into the ground. But all the guys he signed were signed because they had previously been contributors on winning ballclubs.

    Is it the players, or the way they are being used by Brown?

    Say what you will about statistical breakdowns of Hughes that show, unequivocally, that he is nothing more than a mediocre NBA player. I think you have to look beyond the numbers. Somewhere out there, Bill James can probably show you a mathematical theorem that proves Julio Lugo is a better shortstop than Miguel Tejada. Who is going to pick Lugo over Tejada in their fantasy draft?

    Numbers might be logical in nature, but they overlook common sense at times.

    Go to the basics of how Hughes is being employed in the Cavs offense. His strengths are what? Driving and passing. What does the offense allow him to do unabated? Shoot 20-foot jumpers. Of course he’s going to look bad if Brown doesn’t make him do what he is good at.

    What is Marshall good at? Using his size, posting up, playing a close-to-the-basket game and then surprising opponents by occassionally stepping out and shooting a three. What is he doing? Hanging out on the arc and launching bombs.

    What is LeBron good at? Running the floor, penetrating, passing and (if he would allow himself) posting up on the block now and again. What does he do? He walks the ball up the floor, dribbles around and evenutally launches a long jumper.

    Dwyer is wrong. It’s not the roster Ferry has constructed. Has Ferry batted 1.000? Of course not. Are there improvements to be made? Yes, but this is not a poorly-constructed team. They would be well below .500 if it was, since LeBron lacks the stamina of a year ago and can’t carry the team. He already proved two years ago that, even at full strength, he can’t do it all by himself.

    This team is mired in a funk because Brown’s offensive adjustments aren’t working and the players are getting more frustrated with their roles by the game.

    What I would like to see is if Ferry can land a true playmaking point guard. If Ferry can get this team an actual offense-facilitator and they are still terrible at that end, pounding square pegs into round holes, that’s likely going to prove that Brown’s offensive philosophy (or lack thereof) is what is killing this team.

  4. Hi just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

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