Hello out there Cavaliers fanatics. It’s been a while.
But do you smell that? That is the smell of another season on the hardwood. It’s the smell of a leather-coated ball splashing through a nylon net. And, for the first time in a long time, it’s the smell of being the underdog.
The fair-weather ‘fans’ are gone and the doubters are back. Our beloved Cavaliers are being picked to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference on their way to a miserable first season without LeBum.
Don’t fret, though, my devoted aficionados. We are natural-born underdogs.
We thrive on the negativity brought about by self-proclaimed experts. And it is that, coupled with the sheer confidence that oozes from the pores of our new head basketball coach, that will carry us through this 2010-2011 campaign.
Even I won’t sit here and say that the Cavaliers won’t be on the receiving end of their fair share of good old fashioned beat downs. But, fear not, they will not be as bad as some might think.
After four preseason games, the Cavaliers are sporting a 3-1 record. For the record, I am aware of the facts that a) preseason basketball games don’t count for anything and b) nobody really even cares about preseason basketball games. And while I will agree that their record thus far doesn’t really matter, it is the way in which the Cavs are winning that has me impressed.
JJ Hickson has played an absolutely stellar brand of basketball thus far. The Baby Bull has always been an impact player on the offensive end. He has a unique skill set that allows him to run the floor with the guards and score the basketball at a high percentage. But his size affords him the opportunity to score over (and around) most front courts.
Most impressively, JJ’s overall game has improved greatly since the last time we saw him in action. He has been much more aggressive crashing the boards (9.3 rbs/game) which will be an absolute must if the Cavaliers have any chance to compete.
And for those of you who are searching for a new ‘son’ to replace the squire, Daniel Gibson has assumed the role of fan favorite in Cleveland. His three-point shooting percentage is miserable this preseason but he has been able to create scoring opportunities for himself in other ways. He’s done an excellent job getting up and down the floor and, perhaps more importantly, he has done an excellent job playing general in the Cavaliers’ new offensive scheme.
Ramon Sessions has done everything the Cleveland brass brought him to the city to do and more. He has scored the basketball (12 pts/game), rebounded the basketball (5.0 rbs/game) and passed the basketball (4.8 asts/game) extremely well. And he is only getting better as he becomes more comfortable in Byron Scott’s run-and-gun offensive scheme.
Lastly, Ryan Hollins has been very solid underneath in each of the three games that he has played in. Much like Hickson, Hollins has done an excellent job crashing the boards and finding either Sessions or Gibson for strong outlet passes.
Now, back to my original point: I’m not expecting another 60-win season from our Wine & Gold Warriors. But I do expect them to compete night in and night out.
And I expect them to be the underdogs in nearly every game they play this season. But that is what we are used to Cleveland, Ohio. We will prosper in the faces of all the non-believers.
This is the season to believe. All for One. One for All.
Before I bid you farewell for the night, what kind of Cavalier Faithful would I be if I didn’t send my get well wishes to legendary Cavaliers’ radio broadcaster Joe Tait. Mr. Tait was hospitalized with pneumonia in San Antonio at the beginning of this week but seems to be well on his way to a speedy recovery.
GET WELL SOON, MR. TAIT!
And one last thing: May the Colt McCoy era begin with a Sunday stoot-slappin’ of the Pittsburgh Steelers!
Until next time, Believeland!