The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for the ‘Cleveland Cavaliers’ Category

WP: Hughes vs. Wallace

Posted by disappointmentzone on 21 February 2008

Like I said in the post below, this blockbuster three-team eleven-player trade is essentially two trades for the Cavs, with the centerpiece being Larry Hughes for Ben Wallace. How do these two players stack up?

As of January 31st, Larry Hughes had a Wins Produced per 48 minutes of -0.080. This ranked him 434 out of the 446 players in the NBA. Yes, Larry Hughes is that bad. How he’s a starter on a contending team is baffling, but I guess the universe straightened everything out because he’ll now be a starter on a non-contending team, a role usually played by those who are one of the 20 worst players in the league.

As of January 31st, Ben Wallace had a Wins Produced per 48 minutes of .162. This ranked him 53rd in the NBA.

According to Wins Produced the margin between Hughes and Wallace is nearly as wide as the entire NBA. I would say the extra million the Cavs have to pay Wallace instead of Hughes is the most cost-effective extra million dollars being spent in the NBA this season.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | 2 Comments »

Oh Glorious Day!

Posted by disappointmentzone on 21 February 2008

Rejoice be those who suffered through The Hughes Era only to escape into the warm embrace of a dominating interior defender, an able-bodied outside shooter, a cheap veteran who can provide a lift off the bench, and a promising young point guard!

Danny Ferry may have dug the Cavs into contract hell in the summer of 2005 when he signed Larry Hughes to that abomination of a contract. There is no doubt that the encyclopedia entry on The Contract Year will forever include a picture of Larry Hughes. But no longer will that entry also reference the idiotic general manager who fell for the inflated contract years numbers, ignoring the shaky past and dreaming of an unreachable future — and then offering a ridiculous contract with that future in mind.

Many general managers have signed players to outlandish contracts. Danny Ferry is no exception here. Where he gains his notoriety is dumping that outlandish contract on another team — a division rival no less! — and in return acquiring, well, another player signed to an outlandish contract, plus a few other attractive pieces. The key difference between Ben Wallace and Larry Hughes, though, is that Wallace can actually help the Cavs win whereas Hughes almost always helped the Cavs lose. So let’s talk about this trade in terms of where the Cavs made gains and where the Cavs lost ground.

Just so we are clear:

Cavs get: Ben Wallace, Wally Szcerbiak, Joe Smith, Delonte West, Second Round Draft Pick

Cavs lose: Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall

Or, to put it more simply:

Larry Hughes –> Ben Wallace

Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall –> Joe Smith, Wally Szcerbiak, Delonte West, Second Round Draft Pick

That’s really how you should look at these trades. Hughes and his contract are essentially replaced by Ben Wallace and his contract. Gooden et al are essentially replaced by the other guys. If you like both of those options then you should like this trade.

Now, more detailed thoughts…

* The Cavs improved their interior defense. With Wallace, Ilgausaks, and Varejao the Cavs have ample size, ample strength, and ample speed inside. Wallace is quick enough to pair with Ilgauskas inside and strong enough to pair with Varejao inside, meaning the Cavs have no bad interior defensive lineups. Wallace also provides the Cavs with an intimidating interior presence. He will never be the Charles Oakley to LeBron’s Micheal Jordan, but he’s about as close as you can get in the NBA today to that sort of tough-minded, tough-bodied defense. Teams will have to think twice before hacking at LBJ.

* With the improved interior defense comes improved overall defense. Gooden was always a spotty defender and Hughes had lost a lot on the defensive end since joining Cleveland three years ago. (Besides, it’s hard to defend someone when you’re wearing a suit on the bench, where Hughes found himself quite a bit.) Hughes gave the Cavs the benefit of being a bigger guard and neither Wally or Pavlovic will be able to truly replace him, but increasingly we’ve seen LeBron step up to take the hardest guard/forward defensive assignment. Three years ago losing Hughes would have definitely meant losing the Cavs’ best defense option for opposing guards and forwards. That’s not necessarily true anymore. Also, Delonte West is no joke as a defender.

* On offense the team can now redistribute the 10-15 usually unsuccessful shot attempts from Hughes among a cadre of quality shooters and scorers. With apologies to Daniel Gibson (and the self-proclaimed best shooter in the world, Damon Jones), Wally finally gives the Cavs the true shooter they’ve been looking to pair with LBJ for years. He should be able to free up some space for LeBron or punish teams for trying to double team him. Delonte West gives the Cavs a true point guard, something they’ve been looking to add for the last two years. West may ultimately end up being the best part of this trade.

* Wally is a free agent after next season so the Cavs will be able to shop him and his expiring contract for another compliment to LeBron.

* The Cavs still have Eric Snow and Damon Jones and their expiring contracts to shop this offseason or next season for another compliment to LeBron.

* Ben Wallace comes off the book in two years, which is also when Hughes was going to come off the books for the Cavs. There is no net loss here. Many of the rumors flying around last night had the Cavs acquiring someone with a terrible contract extending beyond two more years, someone like Vince Carter. That was taken to be the price the Cavs were going to have to pay to rid themselves of Larry Hughes. That not being the case should be applauded… and then studied closely because no one in their right mind would have thought it possible.

* One troubling aspect of this trade is that with fewer than 30 games remaining in the regular season the Cavs have just traded away 40% of their starting lineup. Slotting in one new player is usual. Slotting in two new starters is not. It’s not like Mike Brown as been around long enough to know how to deal with this.

* Of course, with all the injuries it’s probably fair to say that the Cavs have yet to have their ideal starting lineup and that replacing two more starters isn’t going to be a huge issue. The Cavs have been making due all season. This is no different.

* The EC is now:

Detriot-Cleveland
Boston
Toronto-Orlando
Washington-NJ-Philly-Atlanta
Everyone Else.

That’s certainly an improvement on where things stood twelve hours ago. Based on that, this trade is a success.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | 5 Comments »

MVP! MVP!

Posted by disappointmentzone on 17 February 2008

On Friday night Daniel Gibson made 11 three pointers in the Rookie Challenge, earning him the MVP. On Saturday night Gibson finished second in the [Corporation I Don’t Remember] Three Point Shootout, losing to former Cavalier Jason Kapono (should have protected him!). On Sunday night LeBron James led the Eastern Conference All Stars to victory, going for 27/8/9 and winning the MVP. All told the Cavaliers represented quite well in the mid-winter classic.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | 2 Comments »

Larry Hughes?

Posted by disappointmentzone on 12 February 2008

Hughes scored 23 points in the third quarter on 6-7 from the field and 9-9 from the line? And he finished the game with 40 points, a season high?

Thankfully he used his season’s makes in a tight game instead of wasting them in a blowout. When you’re only going to make 280 shots in a season it’s not wise to use 15 of them in a 30 point victory. So props to Hughes for being judicial judicious.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | 3 Comments »

Cavs-Nuggets Live Blog

Posted by disappointmentzone on 10 February 2008

Pregame:

Just checked the starting lineups. Apparently this game is being played in 2005. Both Eric Snow and Ira Newble are starting. LeBron will need to step up. Unfortunately the Nuggets seem to be his cryptonite (Spelling? Is there a correct spelling for a make believe substance?). His career scoring average against Denver is his lowest against any team in the league.

Meanwhile the Nuggets are at full health, I think. Is Nene still in the league? Carmelo is coming off a huge game on Friday against the Wizards. He scored about 75 points. In order for the Cavs to win they can’t let Anthony score 75 points. That’s what Austin Carr told me.

ESPN is showing the Cavs warming up. Larry Hughes just hit a jumper. This is not a good sign. Didn’t someone tell him not to waste his good shots during warm ups? Larry, they don’t count until the whistle blows! Instead of six made shots expect Hughes to finish with five made shots.

First Quarter:

Wait. Which one is Doris Burke and which one is Dan Schulman?

I’m waiting for the day that an inventive basketball star comes along utilizing the backboard on passes. Right now the backboard is chronically underused. It only comes into play during the dunk contests. Just think of the advantage a team would have knowing that what looks like a shot is actually a pass. I’m convinced that this is the future of basketball. Or at least I was until LeBron James received an alley oop from Ilgauskas off the body of a Nuggets player. Maybe LBJ is so ahead of the game that he’s bypassing the backboard and going straight for the opposing players. Just have to be careful with Camby. He’s all sharp angles. Hard to make a good bounce pass off of a ridge.

Hughes knocks down a shot. Yes, this is worth of its own entry.

Wow. Carmelo just used the rim for an alley oop. He steadfastly refuses to be outdone by LeBron. His pass was the ultimate manifestation of the little brother syndrome. Carmelo just had to one-up James. You think he’s playing with his NCAA championship ring on? LeBron should bitch slap him with his $100M Nike contract.

When did Subway became a player in the advertising game? Or rather: How did Subway become a player in the advertising game? Does Subway really need Reggie Bush and Brady Quinn hawking its sandwiches? Subways are everywhere. They sell subs, which a) everyone knows and b) makes them distinct in the fast food game. Quiznos? Please. I live four blocks from two Subways. Do they really need advertising? Which I guess makes the question: Why is Subway a player in the advertising game?

Back to basketball. Commercial break over.

Unfortunately, it seems the Cavs are still at commercial. The Nuggets just went on an 11-0 run. The Cavs look sluggish. Maybe all the injuries are taking a toll. You know who’s fit and probably available? Jared, the Subway guy. He’s been skinny for 10 years. I bet he could get up and down the court. He has to be at least as fast as Eric Snow.

13-0 run. Time to bring in Donyell Marshall and give Ira Newble the green light for shooting.

16-0 run.

Larry Hughes ends the bleeding with an improbable three pointer. Didn’t see that one coming.

The Cavs are missing Gooden, Varejao, Gibson, and Pavlovic…. and still Shannon Brown can’t get any tick. That has to be embarrassing. Like getting your butt kicked at a club. Thankfully lightening doesn’t strike twice and the good lord wouldn’t bestow two slights on the same humble soul.

Since we’re in the midst of the political primary season and polls are all the rage I have a question I’ve been meaning to ask. Which player looks most like he was forced to play basketball because he was super tall and is baffled by how he could be in the NBA: Cedric Simmons or Dwayne Jones?

At the end of the first quarter the Nuggets are up 35-24. They are shooting .625 from the field. The Cavs are shooting .625 from the foul line. This will be a fun to track.

Second Quarter:

LeBron makes a three to pull the Cavs within ten points. This is probably not a good sign. The Cavs won’t win if James is hoisting three pointers. James hitting his first three pointer probably means he’ll be shooting these all night if the Cavs remain so far behind. How about driving to the hoop and getting Anthony or Camby in foul trouble?

And right on cue LBJ jacks up another three (brick) on the next trip down the court.

Doris Burke went to an all boys camp as a child? That’s so shocking. Thanks for letting us know how awkward it was for you when they went shirts vs skins during summer camp, Doris.

Say what you will about Larry Hughes but with all the leg wear he looks exactly like this old white bearded guy I play basketball with at the gym. They may as well be twins. If only Hughes was sporting a tie dyed shirt. And white skin.

Right now the Nuggets have five players shooting at least 50% from the field. The Cavs have six players shooting less than 50% from the field, including four below 35%.

Drew Gooden has been growing that beard since the summer? That’s pathetic. I grow beards like that overnight.

Eric Snow just bricked a layup, denying LBJ his third assist. Is Snow really that much better than Shannon Brown? Really? Someone needs to follow Brown home tonight. Even I’m depressed by his lack of playing time in the face of Snow bricking layups. I can’t imagine how he’s feeling.

Doris Burke just made up a word: efforted. Shouldn’t a command of the English language be at least a minimum requirement for a person whose job it is to speak? Time to turn down the tube and turn up the Tate.

Eric Snow just missed another layup. It might have been blocked. Still… This much we know for sure: Shannon Brown would be dunking.

Ilgauskas travels, makes the layup, draws the foul, and sinks the free throw. That was the highlight of the quarter so far.

Devin Brown just stole a page from the Carmelo Anthony Book of Passing, firing a pass intended for Marshall off the rim. Didn’t play the angle right, though.

Cavs down 19. This is just like the last time these two teams played. Except Larry Hughes hasn’t been ejected (yet). The Cavs are on the verge of being 0-2 when I live blog games they play against the Nuggets.

LeBron makes another pass that is fumbling by the recipient out of bounds, this time off the hands of Simmons. LBJ might kill people at halftime.

And now the ball just rolled through Simmons’s legs. And now he just misplayed another pass, leading to a turnover. This is sad, not because Simmons is playing terribly but because you just know he’d rather be somewhere else, maybe in medical school or something. Although with those hands maybe not being in medical school is a good thing and having Simmons in the NBA can be seen as a positive for society.

Halftime: Nuggets 63 | Cavs 45

Third Quarter:

This makes no sense to me. Neither does a lineup to start the third quarter that includes Eric Snow and Ira Newble. That lineup sure makes sense to the Nuggets, though. They start the half nailing a wide open three pointer. Then Iverson makes a layup while drawing a foul, which prompts Mike Brown to call a timeout 1:20 into the second half. Guess that lineup decision isn’t make much sense to him, either.

Or maybe that lineup does make sense to him because coming out of the timeout he’s made no changes. I guess PF Ira Newble will be leading the Cavs to the promise land this evening.

So the Cavs probably won’t be able to make an impact trade before the summer. They have no assets. Not that having no assets is necessarily an issue. Look at the Heat. Danny Ferry must be wondering how it is that Pat Riley managed to transform the Heat from the worst team in the NBA with maybe the bleakest future of any team in the NBA to a team that has the world as its oyster starting this summer.

Hughes misses a shot off the shot clock. Beautiful.

Of course, when the Cavs get Gooden, Gibson, Pavlovic, and Varejao back it’ll be like acquiring a slew of new players, which will almost feel like a trade. And then Larry Hughes will go 1-9 while banking a $200,000 game check and the fantasy will be over.

Schulman says the Cavs are getting back into it, raising his voice and sounding excited after Hughes makes a layup to pull the Cavs to within 17. Nice try generating interest, Dan.

Damon Jones bricks a wide-open three to make the Cavs 3-17 from three point range. How about instead of (not) trading for Jason Kidd the Cavs make a play for Mike Miller? Does this make too much sense? And did anyone else think they’d come to bemoan the Cavs not protecting Jason Kapono from the Bobcats’ supplemental draft?

Donyell Marshall air balls an open three pointer coming out of the timeout. Thanks for hammering home the point about the lack of a true shooter on the Cavs’ roster.

Is Shannon Brown hurt? If only there were some way to find out! Some massive collection of readily available information. Something one could access instantly over an interconnected network of some sort.

The Cavs turn the ball over to end the third quarter. It’s the team’s 14th turnover tonight. The crowd rightly boos. The Nuggets are up 26 points at the end of the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter:

A friend just called me on my rotary phone to inform me about this new machine called The Internet. At first I thought he was pulling my chain, but it turns out that there is an interconnected network — presumably made of tubes — that provides instant access to key information, like Shannon Brown’s health. According to The Internet (and who know where this Internet gets its information) Shannon Brown played two nights ago and is not on the injured list for tonight’s game.

Wait! Shannon Brown is in the game! Loath be typing without watching the television screen!

Shannon Brown is making his presence felt by doing absolute nothing. It’s almost like he’s still on the bench. The prevailing thesis is that he’s lulling the Nuggets into a false sense of confidence, buoyed by their 30 point lead, and that at 2am tonight Brown is going to spring his trap and absolutely go off.

Barak Obama won the Maine caucus and a Grammy Award tonight.

Shannon Brown misses a layup. Apparently Mike Brown didn’t inform Brown that he’s supposed to be replacing Snow, not replicating Snow. Maybe Brown should have stayed in college another year. The fourth year is generally when the complexities of English are illuminated.

Brown (Shannon, not Mike) just passed the ball to a Denver Nugget (not sure which Nugget). Then he fouled the guy.

Technical foul on a Nugget (the white one). Brown (Shannon, not Mike) shoots the free throw. He misses. If that’s not bad enough Damon Jones has hurt himself and is questionable for tomorrow night. The Cavs might be down six rotation players against the Magic tomorrow. Yikes.

Continuing with Shannon Brown, he just attempted and missed a three pointer. His shot has a hitch in it, one I haven’t noticed prior tonight. Did someone allow Ira Newble and Larry Hughes to change his shot? You know, that might be an unspoken negative aspect of having Hughes on the roster, the bad example he provides with his shooting stroke. Think of the children, Larry!

The fourth quarter must be the Shannon Brown Happy Hour. He misses two jumpers in one possession. He’s that special.

Donyell Marshall gets his missed layup. The only guy not to brick a layup is Jared from Subway. Rumor is he’s still available. He’s svelte.

Oooh. Schulman informs us that we’re about to witness the worst home loss during the LBJ era. Prior to tonight the worst loss was by 31 points. Right now the Nuggets are up by 33. We are all witnesses.

Nuggets by 37 as Shannon Brown bricks another shot.

Newble now hurt.

Shannon Brown his a three pointer to pull the Cavs within 30 points, thus ensuring that the Cavs won’t suffer their worst home loss during the LBJ era. Damn. We were not witnesses after all.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | Leave a Comment »

Cavs Live Blog Sunday Night

Posted by disappointmentzone on 8 February 2008

A few months ago I did a live blog during the Cavs-Nuggets game in Denver. Turns out this Sunday the Cavs are playing the Nuggets again, this time in Cleveland. In the interest of symmetry and actually producing some content for this slumping blog I’ll be live blogging the game, which is on ESPN at 7pm EST. The last time I did it with quarterly updates. I imagine the same thing will be happening this time. Join along in the comments if you want.

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Christmas Present For All: Hughes Gone?

Posted by disappointmentzone on 24 December 2007

A small Christmas miracle was printed in today’s Plain Dealer: Larry Hughes is being shopped and according to one executive Hughes will be traded long before the Feb 21st deadline. The article states that Washington is interested in Hughes, as is a team in the Atlantic Division.

Which means its time for some guesses…

Boston: already has a great SG in Ray Allen. Not sure where Hughes would fit in there. They already have three massive contracts in Allen, Pierce, and KG.

Toronto: built like a Euro League team and Hughes might be the epitome of an anti-Euro League style. Their GM is too smart to take Hughes.

New Jersey: already has Vince Carter slotted in as the overpaid, under-producing SG. Not sure where Hughes fits in with New Jersey, either.

Philadelphia: might be the destination in a deal that could return Andre Miller, but I have no idea why the 76ers would want to take on a massive contract like Hughes’s. Maybe if King were still the GM.

New York: acquiring terrible contracts and guards seems to be what Isiah Thomas thrives on, so Hughes looks like a natural fit here, and now that Thomas has been (once again) publicly reassured that his job is safe, maybe he can pressure the Knicks brass into one more terrible trade. But probably not.

The thing is, Hughes is terrible and has maybe the worst contract in the NBA. There is no team in the league where it makes sense for him to play for what he’s being paid. If Ferry can somehow swing a deal that gets Hughes off the books it’ll probably be a masterstroke.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | 11 Comments »

Fire Mike Brown?

Posted by disappointmentzone on 20 December 2007

Should Gilbert and Ferry pull the plug on Mike Brown?

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | 15 Comments »

The Cavs are Confusing; Larry Hughes, Not

Posted by disappointmentzone on 18 December 2007

Over the final 23 minutes of the game last night the Cavs did not turn the ball over once. This is phenomenal. The Cavs also held the Bucks to 42% from the field, with Micheal Redd and Mo Williams going a combined 13-42. Again, this is phenomenal, too. And yet the Cavs could only score 104 points in the double OT game. This is phenomenally bad and, I suppose, is to be expected when you shoot 40% from the field and 18% from three point range.

It’s not often that a NBA team shoots 40% for the game and wins, especially when the opposing team has a higher field goal percentage and more rebounds. Yet that’s what happened last night. Which makes the game a bit of a mystery. The Cavs won, which is good. They Cavs didn’t turn the ball over, which is good. The Cavs locked down two great scorers, which is good. But the Cavs never looked good on offense, which is bad. Until Devon Brown entered the game, they also looked sluggish and uninterested, which is terrible. Little about the Cavs makes sense right now. Except for one thing…

Larry Hughes.

Larry Hughes is back to his normal self. That 13-17, 36 point game? Forget about it. Once a season Hughes has a game where he shoots around 75% and looks like he might not have the second worst contract in the league. Last year it came in the first game of the season, which was a lovely little tease. This season he comes back from injury, lights up the scoreboard, prompts Austin Carr to blather on about Hughes finding his game, and then immediately goes in the tank.

Last night he went 3-11 in 21 minutes. This follows going 1-9 and 4-15 in his previous two games. On the season Hughes is shooting 34%. On the season he has more games (3) in which he shoots below 18% than he has games in which he shoots above 50% (2). He has as many game games in which he shoots between 20%-30% as games in which he shoots between 31%-40% (3).

The 13 shots he made in the 13-17 game represent 30% of his made shots output for the entire season. If you remove that 13-17 game from his season totals Hughes would be shooting a paltry 28%. That $12M salary Hughes is being paid sure is sweet.

Anyway, the Cavs are confusing and Hughes is not.

UPDATE: Logged into my fantasy basketball league. On the front page of the fantasy page I saw this little notice: “Larry Hughes has been dropped by 1746 teams in Yahoo! leagues.” I smiled.

UPDATE II: Three minutes later the page refreshed and now “Larry Hughes has been dropped by 1805 teams in Yahoo! leagues.”

UPDATE III: It’s the Great Hughes Purge of 2007! Four minutes later and it’s now 1849 teams. I have a feeling this will continue for a while.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | 7 Comments »

Cavs: Wins Produced

Posted by disappointmentzone on 14 December 2007

David Berri at the Wages of Wins Journal is going through the NBA by division and posting how the teams are doing. Today’s division is the Central. With a hat tip in his direction I have reproduced his findings for the Cavaliers below. If you want to know how the rest of the teams are doing, you’ll have to check out his site. cavs.jpg

A few notes:

* Average WP48 is .100.

* Thanks to injuries and holdouts the projected Wins Produced is off by quite a bit. Varejao’s WP48 is .333, just a tick below LeBron’s. Yet Varejao is only projected to produce .06 wins. This is because the projection is based on him playing in one of every 20-odd games, which will clearly no longer be the case.

* Meanwhile LeBron is projected to miss roughly 5.5 games for every twenty games of the season. As long as this doesn’t happen his projected WP should increase substantially.

* Gooden might be the most disappointing player on the roster. He’s putting up good scoring and rebounding numbers, but he’s also averaging 2.1 turnovers per game, which is really bad. This is also his worst shooting season in his Cavs tenure, both from the field and from the line. The obvious hope is that with LBJ back, Marshall on the mend, and Varejao ready to spell him, that the offensive load will be lifted from his shoulders. Gooden is not the guy you want carrying your team’s offense. He’s not the guy you want as your team’s second option either. He’s probably not the guy you want as your team’s third option. Yet too often this season that’s been the case. This is no fault of Gooden’s. Necessity has forced him into that role. With the Cavs getting healthy Gooden should be able to fall back into a role for which he’s better suited.

* Even though Daniel Gibson’s WP48 is below average, his production is a marked increase from last season, when he posted a regular season WP48 of .046. This is great news for the Cavs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his WP48 climb above average this season. If it does it would represent the first time in years that the Cavs were getting above average production from their starting point guard.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers, statistics | 1 Comment »