Delonte West has come on strong as of late for the Cavaliers.

Midseason Progress Report

 

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I’ve seen several editions of these midseason report cards but was a bit bothered by the grades received by a few players.  Many others have put out grades for players strictly based on how impressive their stats are through the first half but let’s all keep in mind that we only have one LeBron James.  Each other player on this team has a role to fulfill and here’s how they’ve fared through 42 games this season:

Starters

Mo Williams — Mo kicked off the season with a slow start but has produced very similar numbers to his totals last year.  Playing in all 42 games this season, he is averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game.  His point totals are down a hair from last year but he has improved in the assists and steals categories.  The Alabama alumni has struggled shooting the ball as of late but he is still the second half to Cleveland’s potent offensive attack.

Grade: B

Anthony Parker — At 7.3 points and 2.7 assists per night , Anthony Parker’s stat line is unimpressive.  However, AP was brought to Cleveland to do two things: 1) Knock down the three ball and 2) Use his length to harass opposing players on the defensive end so that LeBron gets a bit of a break at times during the games.  Parker has connected on 59 of 127 shot attempts from downtown for a 47% effort.  His defensive effort is best noted by his outstanding performance against Kobe Bryant on Christmas Day.  Parker combined with Jamario Moon to hold Kobe to 11 of 33 shooting as the Cavaliers picked up their 27th victory of the season in a convincing 102-87 win.

Grade: B+

LeBron James — LeBron leads the Cavaliers on both sides of the basketball and accounts for nearly 30 points a night.  The King adds 7.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists per game, 1.5 steals and close to 1 block per contest.  He has poured in over 30 points in five consecutive games and has single handedly taken over games down the stretch for the Cavs.  TheBron is undoubtedly (unless you’re a Lakers fan, in which case your opinion is irrelevant) the best player in the NBA and will pick up his second straight MVP trophy at the end of this season.

LeBron James is putting up MVP-type numbers again this season.

LeBron James is putting up MVP-type numbers again this season.

Grade: A+ (only because the grading scale doesn’t go any higher)

JJ Hickson — JJ Hickson is, by far, the most inconsistent player on the Cavs roster this season.  He’s averaged about 6.5 points and 4 rebounds a night  but probably will see his workload shrink once Leon Powe is back and ready for action.  JJ is still young and has a lot to learn but I am not completely sold on his future with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Grade: C-

Shaquille O’Neal –  Shaquille O’Neal has been played an integral role in improving the Cavs’ interior defense this season.  His presence in the paint has discouraged opposing teams from attacking the basket and has allowed Cleveland the luxury of not having to double team throughout the game.  His offensive numbers are way down but he’s also not getting many touches.  Shaq’s only averaging eight shot attempts per game and is accounting for about 10.5 points per night to go along with 6.8 rebounds.  Though he is not putting up big numbers, O’Neal is certainly fulfilling his role within Mike Brown’s schemes.

Grade: B+

Reserves

Delonte West — After suffering through off-court issues during the beginning of this season, Delonte West has come on strong as of late.  In 36 games this season Delonte is averaging 7.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.  Playing significant minutes as Cleveland’s point guard, Delonte has done an excellent job of taking care of the basketball as he only turns the ball over once a night.  Delonte provides energy and toughness off of an explosive Cleveland bench.

Grade: B

Daniel Gibson –  Gibson has seen his playing time diminish over the last several games but not because he has played poorly.  Boobie has regained his pure stroke and is among league leaders with his 48% three point shooting percentage.  With his recent decrease in minutes, Gibson may very well be used as trade bait as the deadline approaches.

Grade: B+

Danny Green – We really haven’t gotten the opportunity to see Danny Green play a significant number of minutes this season but he has played fairfly well in his limited time.  Green is obviously not in Cleveland’s short-term plans but he could be a steady role player in the future.

Grade: Incomplete

Jamario Moon — Jamario Moon is another significant piece to Cleveland’s championship run this season.  His length gives Cleveland an explosive weapon on the defensive end and, like LeBron, is a human highlight reel.

Grade: B+

Jawad Williams — Jawad Williams has come on strong for the Cavaliers in place for the injured Jamario Moon.  He has been solid on defense and has knocked down some clutch shots down the stretch.  Hot Wad will likely lose most of his minutes when Moon returns but he has been a steady replacement thus far.

Grade: B+

Anderson Varejao –  Andy might be the second most valuable player for the Cavaliers because of the incredible energy that he brings to the floor.  Andy leads the league in plus-minus ratio and grabs a team-best 8.2 rebounds to go along with 8.4 points per night.  Perhaps his most memorable moment this season was the three pointer he calmly canned in the closing minutes of a 106-101 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Grade: A

Zydrunas Ilgauskas — Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a difficult time adjusting to his new role off the bench but has given a steady effort as of late.  Ilgauskas provides 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for the Cavaliers and provides Cleveland with a different look when he spells Shaquille O’Neal.  The addition of Shaq has also given Mike Brown the ability to go with an extremely tall “twin tower” look with his two very different seven footers.

Grade: C+

Darnell Jackson — Like Danny Green, Darnell Jackson has seen limited minutes again this season.  He has posted 18 points in 18 appearances this season and he provides a lot of muscle for the Cavs when he gets the opportunity.

Grade: Incomplete

 

Coach Mike Brown — It took Mike Brown a few weeks to figure out how he was going to use certain players on the Cavaliers’ roster but has done a great job with rotations lately.  It was his brilliant idea to move Anderson Varejao back to the bench and promote JJ Hickson to the starting five after only a few games this season that sparked Cleveland’s tear.

Grade: A

  • KiddinCleveland

    How can you give JJ a C- and give players like Mo, Shaq, Parker, Boobie, and Delonte a B or better. Those guys have been in the league for a few years and you expect more. Sure, JJ is inconsistent but no one is more inconsistent than Mo. If he would step up and be Lebron’s costar, the Cavs would be the team to beat. Shaq deserves no better than a B- but I think its because he is holding back so he is ready to ace the final exam. Boobie hasn’t improved in 2 years, C+. Sure Parker has a good 3 point percentage but he can’t hit anything when you need it, another C+. Delonte gets an Incomplete since he hasn’t done anything to make up for the time he missed due to his own ignorance. Lebron, Andy, Z, Moon, and Jawad got the grades they deserve; the others should be regraded, especially JJ.

  • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

    All of the guys that you just mentioned are playing very well within their role.
    –Yes, Mo has been consistantly bad lately but he was incredible during an equivalent stretch earlier in the season.
    –Shaq has made such a tremendous impact on games just by showing up. He discourages most guys from so much as thinking about going to the hole. Nobody wants to run in to him and he’s a big reason for Cleveland’s stellar defense.
    –AP wasn’t brought here to hit the game-winning shots or do anything spectacular. He was brought here to knock down open shots and play good D. In my opinion, he has done a solid job with that so far.
    –Boobie’s mid-range game has improved in leaps and bounds. He hasn’t played much as of late but it certainly isn’t because he was playing poorly. He’s among league leaders in three-point percentage and has played solid defense when he’s been in the game.
    –At some point we’ve got to let Delonte’s off-court issues go. He has been incredibly efficient over the last month or so. He’s our best outside defender (by far) and he’s one of very few guys on the team that can actually create for himself.

    –And JJ Hickson can be no better than a C-. He played well for a few games but has been almost invisible otherwise. He finishes when LeBron gives him a good look but he’s not disciplined on the defensive end. I don’t see him being in Wine and Gold for much longer. I believe he’ll be dealt prior to the trade deadline.

  • KiddinCleveland

    I guess we will agree to disagree. I look at it from what was expected from them at the beginning of the season. Yes, that means everyone is on their own grading scale. My grade would be a C for those that gave no more or less than what was expected. I expected more from Mo and the others are doing little more than expected. If Boobie was improving, he would get more playing time. If Mike Brown is a good coach, he is getting the playing time he deserves based on his contribution to the team. As far as Delonte goes, I’m no crucifying him. Everyone makes mistakes. But, we can’t forget what he has done until the NBA does since any suspension could affect the Cavs championship run.

  • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

    I can definitely see where you’re coming from and I appreciate the input.

    I just have not been impressed with JJ Hickson at all and think he has digressed a bit since he was thrown into the starting lineup. At this point, I believe he’s just a placeholder for Leon Powe.

    And I don’t think Boobie’s performance has much to do with his playing time here. He just doesn’t fit into Mike Brown’s defensive scheme. He’s an undersized two-guard so it’s difficult to find him minutes. He’d be better off if we could deal him at the deadline.

    Regardless, thanks for writing in and I do appreciate the input.

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