Cleveland Sports Insiders

Ernie Camacho's favorite blog…


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The Sunday Drive with the Oregon spread offense in Cleveland?

Oregon offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery

Oregon Offensive Coordinator Philip Montgomery

I’ve been feeling a bit closer to the North Coast over the past few weeks, as the temperatures here in North Carolina have more resembled the frozen tundra of the borderlands of Lake Erie. While the temperature here has dipped below freezing far too many times for my liking, we have avoided the ample snow-footage that the Lake provides. I don’t miss the thrice-daily slogs out to my snow blower to clear the driveway of both wind-blow and street-plow piled snow. Still, the recent cold blast has me dreaming wistfully of the Indians’ Spring Training, the Browns’ draft and summer camp, and the Cavs foray back into the lottery.

Thankfully, all three Cleveland teams were active in one way or another over the past week, albeit in very different ways, which kept me from crawling into sports hibernation.

While my attention has needed some warming up no thanks to the weather, it’s been mostly focused on the warm seasons of 2014 for Cleveland sports. The Indians, however, continue to do everything they can to keep some of that attention pointing right back to the 1990’s thanks to their 2014 version of Tribe Fest. The Tribe has their normal conglomerate of current players headlining the event, but the focus Continue reading


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Brown needs to be held accountable for Bennett’s colossal failure

ABWhere do we go with Anthony Bennett at this point?

His performance so far has been historic — historically bad.

A recent piece circulating the web helps outline just how bad it’s been.

Trust me, there’s no sugarcoating this — it’s been awful.

In 31 games this season, Bennett is averaging 10.4 minutes, 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Even worse is his PER of 1.1, which is the lowest ever recorded by the No. 1 overall pick in his rookie season. To make matters even more embarrassing, Kwame Brown is the next on the list, but it’s a sizeable gap; Brown’s PER as a rookie was 11.2.

Given his struggles, many have been clamoring for Bennett to join the Canton Charge for a stint in the NBA D-League. It would be embarrassing as Bennett would become the highest drafted player to ever play in the D-League. (Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 overall pick in 2009, currently holds that honor.)

Yet, could there be some positives to a Bennett D-League stint? Might he start to finally regain some of the confidence that has eluded him thus far as a rookie?

I’m still not ready to go that far. Here are three more numbers to look at: 20.3, 17.4, 17.4. These numbers are the minutes per game respectively for C.J. Miles, Earl Clark and Alonzo Gee. Continue reading


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Bynum for Gasol doesn’t make sense

Bynum and Gasol (photo: NBA)

Bynum and Gasol (photo: NBA)

The rumors have been circulating for a couple of days now that the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers might partner up for a deal that would send one disgruntled center to the Lakers, while sending another disgruntled big man back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Reports are everywhere that Andrew Bynum and Pao Gasol may change teams.

There are some reports out there that this deal isn’t going to happen, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m just not a fan of this trade.

Why?

The move will definitively help the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers would presumably make the trade, then immediately release Bynum. This would allow the Lakers to get themselves under the Cap, and would ultimately save them over $20 million dollars. On top of that, the Cavs would have to trade them a couple of more assets to get the deal done. Ideally, the Lakers would probably like another expiring contract, as well as a first round draft pick and perhaps someone like Sergei Karasev.

The Cavs would get Pau Gasol for the rest of the year.

Will the Cavs be a better team? Of course they will, this year. In an Eastern conference that doesn’t boast many good teams, it could even get the Cavaliers into the playoffs.

Great.
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Quick thoughts on the Cavs post-Bynum

Will Bynum's departure help Thompson and the Cavs? (Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer)

Will Bynum’s departure help Thompson and the Cavs? (Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer)

The Cleveland Cavaliers are directly in the middle of the whirlwind of the news that Andrew Bynum is either suspended indefinitely from the team, or is on the trading block, or both. While that story will certainly play out over the next few hours, there’s another interesting tidbit that will take place as well.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have to play basketball. So where do they go from here?

Bynum had been starting for the Cavaliers, and had been averaging 20 minutes per game on the season, and 22.6 minutes in the month of December. He’s averaging 8.4 points, 5.3 boards and 1.2 blocks per game since the start of the year, and 9 1/2 points, 6 1/2 boards and a block since the start of the month.

The numbers certainly aren’t special in and of themselves, but when taken into account what his presence has meant for the team on several levels, including supplementing Anderson Varejao, his presence has certainly been important on the court.

Varejao, as much an injury concern as Bynum, has averaged almost 29 minutes a game, putting up 7.9 points and 8.8 boards a game on the season. When you put the two together as one center, you have some pretty elite numbers: 17 points, 14 boards and two blocks a game. You can also credit Bynum’s presence for allowing Varejao to play fewer minutes, thus keeping him healthy.

While Andrew Bynum has been a surprise, it’s not like he’s been a star, and for stretches, he’s not been a very good basketball player. Perhaps getting  Zeller more playing time allows this team to get better in the long run, and perhaps they lose a few more games this year and get a better pick next year.
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The Sunday Drive with Josh Gordon, Chris Grant and Carlos Beltran

Gordon (AP Photo/David Richard)

Gordon (AP Photo/David Richard)

This weekend was a horrific mess of circumstances here in my little slice of Cleveland away from home. We had playdates and birthday parties and sleepovers and horses and dinner dates to contend with. When you toss in the biggest East Coast parade not located in New York City or Orlando, you have one massive conundrum of hoopla, sleep, running around, crying and did I mention sleep?

Okay..sleep deprivation is more like it.

As crazy as things were here in my own version of the North Coast Carolina, they were relatively silent back in Cleveland with regards to the Browns, the Indians and the Cavaliers.

Seriously.

Unless you throw in the fact that it’s Pittsburgh Steelers week, or the fact that the Indians made their first move of the offseason, or that the Cavs are in a spiral of struggle after getting rolled by San Antonio on Sunday night.

Yeah, it can only mean that it’s the holiday season, and with Thanksgiving and Michigan Week about to take over here, let’s get driving, before I fall asleep from the Turkey.

It’s Steelers’ week, and while that has generally meant a lot more to the Browns in recent years than the Steelers, it’s still the Browns’ top rival. I’ve been to many, many games at Cleveland Stadium involving these two teams, and I’ve seen some of the most amusing exchanges between fans. My favorite memory is of a ‘Terrible Towel’ waving fan sitting in front of me during halftime of a 1984 game between the two teams. The Steelers were up 7-0 at that point, and he was taking particular glee in waving the towel as though the Steelers had won the Super Bowl that very afternoon. Several minutes later, he was literally carried off by a contingent of pre-Dawg Pound Browns’ fans. He never returned. The Browns went on to win 20-10.

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Cavalier Daggers…with a team that just isn’t very good

(Photo: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports USA TODAY Sports)

The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t very good.

No, I’m not saying that’s the defining statement for the wine and gold for the 2013-2014 season, but it certainly is true for the first ten games of the seasons for a team that is looking to make a major move this year. Last season, after ten games, the Cavaliers stood at 2-8. This season, they are 3-7.

So I guess there’s that.

Let’s take a look at today’s Cavalier Daggers:

  • I’m not ready to send Mike Brown packing just yet. He was brought in to fix the defense, and while that side of the court has a long, LONG ways to go at this point, they are a better defending team than they were in 2012-2013, and they are only ten games in. Now, I do fear this offense a bit. My biggest complaint during the Brown/LeBron era was that at the end, LeBron seemed to deflate the basketball. It turned into LeBron dribbling a lot, and everyone watching. Kyrie Irving isn’t LeBron, but boy are there times when he dribbles way too much. Again, we’re only ten games in, but that has to begin changing over the next two months for the Cavs to be anything better than a 25-win team.

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Cleveland Sports Insiders: The Podcast 51: Bynum returns to Philly and guard-a-palooza

We here at Cleveland Sports Insiders are going to do everything in our power to fill the void left by the Cleveland Browns bye week. No, we aren’t going to be talking about the Browns…that would make far too much sense.

Instead, we’re going to talk about the other in-season sport in town, and no, I’m not talking about the Hot Stove Season either.

That’s right, it’s all about basketball in today’s CSI: The Podcast, and we’re going to focus most of our attention on a brand new three-headed monster that Mike Brown unveiled in the fourth quarter of the Cavs. I’ll get into that in the breakdown.

This Cavaliers are an incredibly interesting team, and while they are far from a finished product, this team has so many incredibly interesting pieces and parts and storylines, that it may take the entire season to figure out just what this team has.

Are they a playoff team, or are they going to be going back-and-forth all year long between solid play and looking like the second youngest team in basketball.

For those wondering at home, the Cavs average 24 years of age, while the Philadelphia 76ers average 23.9. The Cavs also come in at third in the league in experience, coming in at an average of 3.1 years of experience, in front of only the Phoenix Suns (2.9) and the New Orleans Pelicans (2.6).

Let’s face facts, when you are that young and that inexperienced, you are going to continue to go through some growing pains, regardless of how talented your players are, and the Cavaliers are proving that night-in, and night-out.

It should be a fun year.

Here’s the rundown:

1:35–Michael Hattery makes a bold statement for fantasy football Sunday.

3:10–Andrew Bynum returns to Philadelphia and is happily greeted by the joyful Sixers’ fans.

5:00–Will Andrew Bynum retire?

8:00–The three-guard line-up. What brought it about, and will it continue?

9:15–The three-guard line-up owes Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao.

11:15–Is Kyrie Irving the next Allen Iverson, and will we ever get a Cleveland version of the practice video?

14:00–Dion Waiters has had moments of incredible basketball clarity this season in between his struggles. Mike and Jim talk about his ethic, his team-work, his improved defense and how this really could be his coming out party in 2013.

17:00–The Cavs are 3-0 at home, how important is home court?

18:20–The beginning of the third quarter has been a struggle for the Cavaliers…is this a problem for Mike Brown, or is it just a small sample size and the nature of the beast for a young basketball team.

21:00–There is a massive hole at the #3 slot for the Cavaliers, even taking into account that Mike Brown put Alonzo Gee into the starting lineup. Will C.J. Miles, Anthony Bennett, Alonzo Gee, Earl Clark, or another unknown player fill that hole?

24:20–This is Tristan Thompson’s world, and we’re just living in it.

27:20–Thompson can flat out handle the basketball.

28:00–Are the Cavaliers building a home-grown big three in Waiters, Irving and Thompson?

31:25–Anthony Bennett

32:50–The Houston Astros


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The struggles of Kyrie Irving

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Kyrie Irving (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Kyrie Irving has struggled a bit to start off the 2013-2014 season.

If you don’t give it much thought, there are a lot of superficial reasons can pop into your head. Some of those reasons might not be so superficial.

Is it because the Cavaliers are running a new offense under the defensive-minded Mike Brown?

Is it because Kyrie is pushing himself to take the next step in a season in which many believe, including himself, that he will break out?

Is it because the Cavaliers seem to be focused on getting the ball to their big men, with guys like Anderson Varejao inexcusably getting looks from 10-15 feet?

There’s likely some truth to all of the above, as well as some other incendiary issues playing a part into the Cleveland Cavaliers best players’ early season “struggles.”

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