The Cleveland Hopefuls

Shinichi Inoue, Staff Reporter

Rookie talent shows immediate payoff

Cleveland Cavaliers:

Record: 6-10, through the first 16 games of the season


Top three performers:

Kyrie Irving (Season average: 17 points, 4.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.7 steals)

The former number one overall pick has finally found his niche in the NBA. Judging Irving on a rookie scale puts him well above his fellow draftees. With a 17-point average along with five assists-per-game production, the Duke product has shown that he can hold his own in the NBA. The only downside to Irving’s season is that his defense ability is less than ideal. His turnovers and lack of defense bring down his overall performance. However, his work ethic and willingness to improve his game will help him become a better point guard. If Irving continues this line of production, look for him to finish in the top three for the Rookie of the Year award.


Anderson Varejao (Season average: 9.7 points, 1.5 assists, 10.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks)

It may be hard for Varejao to repeat his performance of the days before his surgery last season. For now, he has supplied everything he’s been asked for. Not only has he put up a double-double performance every night, he has also provided solid defense, endless hustle, and great rebounding ability. He’s currently ranked in the top five of the league’s offensive rebounder. It’s going to be a shame when the Cavaliers trade him for assets and draft picks during the trade deadline, because Varejao has been like an Energizer bunny – giving 100 percent whenever he’s on the court.


Tristan Thompson (Season average: 8.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists)

Many people were shocked when the Cavaliers went with Thompson as the fourth pick of last year’s draft. While many fans had wanted the Cavs to take the center from Lithuania, Jonas Valanciunas, Tristan Thompson showed that he is here to stay. With the minutes he has been given off the bench, he has been very productive and effective. He brings a lot of energy and rapid rebounds along with his fearless attacks of the rim. Imagine him as a shorter version of Varejao. For now, Thompson is still pretty raw, but the talent is definitely there. It may take a few years, but Thompson has the ability to develop into a great player for the Cavs in the future.



Top three flops:

Antawn Jamison (Season average: 15.7 points, 1.5 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks)

Jamison was supposed to be the leader of the Cavaliers after Lebron left. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been that effective. He isn’t scoring efficiently, and as the designated best scorer on this roster, he has failed to live up to expectations. As Irving emerges more into the number one scoring option for the Cavaliers, it isn’t going to make Jamison’s life any easier. His defense has also been declining since last season. However, if Jamison can continue to put up his current stat lines, look for teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Clippers, or Magic calling to trade for Jamison.


Ryan Hollins (Season average: 1.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.2 assists, and 0.8 blocks)

Hollins was the starting center on opening night for the Cavaliers, and it didn’t take long for him to lose his job to Samardo Samuels and even Semih Erden. He is the only player on the active roster with a WinShares (a statistic measuring contributions to team wins) below zero per 48 minutes. When Hollins is on the court, he’s pretty much useless. When he was a legitimate center in the NBA, Hollins could barely average five points and five rebounds per game. Now he’s the third string center on the Cavaliers and it doesn’t look like he’s going to move up any time soon.


Omri Casspi (Season average: 7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 0.6 steals)

How much does an Omri Casspi cost? A J.J. Hickson. Yes, the Cavs traded away their starting power forward last season to the Sacramento Kings for Casspi. The Cavaliers expected Casspi to be the starting small forward of the future and for now, he hasn’t shown he’s set for the role yet. Recently Casspi has shown an ability to attack the basket and draw fouls, but he still tends to stick around the three-point area and shoot the ball when he gets it. It’s possible that it takes time for a young player to get used to the new system, but it will take Casspi quite a while to become an above-average small forward in the NBA.


Cavaliers by the number:

22.8% – It’s quite obvious the Cavaliers have struggled with turnovers this year and guard Alonzo Gee’s turnover percentage has been staggeringly high this season.


50% – Kyrie Irving has shot the ball extremely well and his field goal percentage backs up his performance. Few point guards in the NBA who shoot many outside shots can keep a percentage that high. Hopefully he can keep this at least above 47 percent at the end of the season.


42.6% – Tristan Thompson can’t shoot free throws to save his life. This is going to be a consistent problem, but he can definitely look to improve to an acceptable 65 percent.


9 for 41 – That’s what Daniel Gibson has been shooting inside the three-point arc this season. This has to be one of the worst of anyone in the league.


4 for 4 – Anthony Parker is the starting shooting guard and playing over 23 minutes per game, but he has only shot four free throws the whole season. Unacceptable.