Apr 1, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller (left) dunks the ball during the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers End of the Season Player Analysis


 

Apr 14, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012-2013 season is finally in the books. It was a weird season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, full of injuries, young guys learning the ropes and Luke Walton. The Cavaliers ended up 24-58, losing last night’s finale to the Bobcats, 105-98. This offseason should be interesting, as the Cavs have two good first-round draft picks and should have a decent chunk of cap space. However, before we shift to the offseason, let’s reflect on each player that played for the Cavs this season. Each guy is listed below in alphabetical order, with one positive, one negative and a short blurb of summary.

 

Omri Casspi

Feb 1, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Omri Casspi (36) after the game against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace. Detroit won 117-99. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

43 Games Played, 1 Start, 11.7 Minutes Per Game, 4 Points, 3 Rebounds, 1 Assist per game

Biggest Positive: Casspi’s contract is over!

Biggest Negative: Omri Casspi’s 2012-2013 NBA Season

To say Casspi struggled this season is to suggest that Casspi has presented us with a baseline of quality work in a Cavaliers uniform that he did not achieve this season. Casspi only played 11 minutes per game, had a season-high of 15 points, achieved double-digit points five times in 42 games and his per 36 numbers were better this season (12.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals per 36) than last season (12.3, 6.1, 1.8 per 36). He also posted a better PER this season than last. However, this does not mean Casspi’s season was good by any means. Casspi missed over a month with appendicitis in February and March; this coincided with his worst stretch of the season that was so bad the stats are mind-boggling: From Januray 16 to March 31, Casspi posted four points, 11 rebounds, and three assists. That’s not per-game. That’s over the span of 10 GAMES. Casspi was absolutely terrible this season, and it’s a wonderful thing that the Cavs don’t have to deal with him anymore. He was an absolute detriment to the team this season.

 

Wayne Ellington

Jan 25, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Wayne Ellington (21) attempts a shot against the Milwaukee Bucks in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

38 Games Played, 17 Starts, 25.9 Minutes Per Game, 10 Points, 3 Rebounds, 2 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: Shot 89.8% on free throws to lead the team, and was the third-best three-point shooter.

Biggest Negative: Disappeared over the last month of the season, only shooting over 50% from the field once in April.

Ellington was a big addition for the Cavaliers at mid-season, becoming arguably the best wing off the bench behind Dion Waiters, and providing some really decent three-point shooting in his 38 games in a Cleveland uniform. Ellington came in right away and provided a spark off a dead bench for Cleveland, and was supposed to provide the Cavs with a competent scorer on the wing at all times. However, inconsistency was Ellington’s game. There were good times, of course; the 21-point barrage against San Antonio, or his 16/5/3 game in a blowout of Charlotte come to mind. However, these were inevitably equaled by terrible efforts; the Charlotte game was preceded by a 2-of-5, 5-point no-show against OKC, and the San Antonio game was followed by a 1-of-9 struggle against Indiana. Inconsistencies were abound offensively, and defensively, he was just as bad as he’s been throughout his career (112 points/100 possessions given up with the Cavs, his career average). Ellington didn’t necessarily do a bad job this season, but with restricted free agency coming up, I’d be surprised to see the Cavs make a huge push to keep him. If he comes back on the $3.1 million qualifying offer, that’s cool with me. He’s definitely not terrible. However, if any other team wants him, I doubt the Cavs will match, especially when other cheaper wings will be available this summer.

 

Alonzo Gee

Apr 5, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Alonzo Gee (33) dunks the ball against the Boston Celtics during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

82 Games Played, 82 Starts, 31 Minutes Per Game, 10 Points, 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: By far the Cavs best defensive player this season.

Biggest Negative: Alonzo Gee, the player who played the most minutes on the 12-13 Cleveland Cavaliers.

I love Alonzo Gee. I have ever since he arrived in Cleveland. The plucky undrafted defensive stalwart from Alabama who made a name for himself by being a bulldog on defense and hitting the occasional three, Gee was on the court for every game this season, and provided a solid presence on the defensive side of the ball for the Cavaliers, leading the team in steals and often guarding the other team’s best wing, even when he was overmatched at 6-6 against someone like Chandler Parsons or even LeBron James. Gee’s not a threat offensively, and definitely shouldn’t be playing 31 minutes a game, but in an ideal world, he’d be one heck of a bench killer like a James Posey or Trevor Ariza type. That’s where I think he’ll be heading next season, because it’s fairly obvious the Cavs want to add another small forward, either through the draft or free agency. Once they do that, I think Gee’s got the talent to be a top bench performer.

 

Daniel Gibson

Jan. 12, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson (right) talks with guard Kyrie Irving during the game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 101-90. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

 

46 Games Played, 3 starts, 20 Minutes Per Game, 5 Points, 1 Rebound, 2 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: Shot a respectable 34.4 percent from three, and we’ll always have the November 9 Suns Game.

Biggest Negative: Shot 34% from the field. Read that again. HE SHOT WORSE FROM TWO THAN HE DID FROM THREE.

Boobie, it’s been fun. Seven years, we’ve had you around. And it’s been an eventful seven years. We’ve seen the amazing and the atrocious from Gibson, from his 31-point explosion in Game 6 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, to his steady decline since LeBron James left, to his complete collapse this season. Gibson’s per 36 stats: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists. He missed all of February as well, and last scored 10+ points on December 26. His shooting went from 47 percent in 2010 to 34 percent this season. Bye Boobie. It was fun, but you’ve stayed far too long.

 

Kyrie Irving

Dec. 29, 2012; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) dribbles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

59 Games Played, 59 Starts, 34.7 Minutes Per Game, 23 Points, 4 Rebounds, 6 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: Made the All-Star Team, owned the first half of the season and showed a great ability to take over in the clutch.

Biggest Negative: The attitude he’s shown toward Coach Scott these last few weeks is a little concerning.

Kyrie’s season was weird. From the first game of the season, to the All-Star break, Kyrie Irving was a top 5 point guard in the league. He owned the first half of the season. There was his 41-point game against the Knicks. The 33/5/6/4/3 game against Charlotte. The evisceration of Brandon Knight in the Rookie/Sophomore game. Irving was showing signs of his immense potential. Then he hurt his shoulder against Toronto, and struggled since. However, that shouldn’t take away from his first half. Kyrie showed us a lot this season, both about his character (Red flag, but not like Brandon Jennings or anything) and his play (dynamic). I’m really excited about watching him next season. We have a star here in Cleveland. Embrace him.

 

Kevin Jones

Apr 7, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Jones (5) and Orlando Magic power forward Kyle O

 

32 Games Played, 10.4 Minutes Per Game, 3 Points, 2 Rebounds Per Game.

Biggest Positive: Jones has used the increased minutes he’s gotten and hasn’t sucked. Bro tries hard.

Biggest Negative: I mean, the guy doesn’t have the most talent in the world.

There’s not really much to say about Jones. He’s decent on the boards, runs the floor well and doesn’t do anything he can’t. I’d like to see him come back next year as a reserve forward. He’s a solid deep bench guy. 10/8 per 36 minutes isn’t great, but it’s not that bad, either.

 

Jon Leuer

Oct 15, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Jon Leuer (30) shoots during the second half against the Orlando Magic at US Bank Arena. The Cavaliers defeated the Magic 114-111 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

 

9 Games Played, 10.1 Minutes Per Game, 2 Points, 1 Rebound, 1 Assist Per Game

Biggest Positive: Was the Cavs trade chip in the Speights/Ellington deal. I need to pause for a second as my head just exploded again realizing that this is fact.

Biggest Negative: We paid Jon Leuer to play basketball for 9 games?

Jon Leuer wins the 2013 Don Ford Award for Worst Trade Chip That Resulted in a Future 1st-Rounder Being Exchanged (Ford was traded by the Lakers to the Cavs for an ‘82 1st-Rounder. That pick turned into James Worthy. Every Cavs fan over 35 just went to re-light the Ted Stepien effigy. We’ll wait a second for them to return. Ok here we go). Leuer was the only piece the Grizzlies received in that trade, and now the Cavs have the Grizzlies’ 2015 1st-rounder. Unreal.

 

Shaun Livingston

Mar 10, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Shaun Livingston (14) drives against Toronto Raptors guard Landry Fields (2) during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

 

49 Games Played, 12 Starts, 23.2 Minutes Played, 7 Points, 3 Rebounds, 4 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: Livingston filled in admirably for Kyrie Irving when he was injured, peaking with a solid 14/5/6 in the loss to Atlanta.

Biggest Negative: 3.3 fouls per 36 is a lot for a point guard.

It was cool to see Livingston play regularly for the Cavs, and after his catastrophic knee injury, it will continue to be cool to watch him play until he retires. He filled in to the best of his abilities as the team’s backup point guard, and even when he had to start, didn’t play awfully. However, his defense was terrible this season. He couldn’t defend quick guards and fouled way too much for a guard. Livingston’s an acceptable backup, but there’s better on the market this offseason.

 

C.J. Miles

Mar 10, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Cavaliers guard C.J. Miles (0) carries the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Cleveland 100-96. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

 

65 Games Played, 13 Starts, 21 Minutes Per Game, 11 Points, 3 Rebounds, 1 Assist Per Game

Biggest Positive: Rediscovered three-point shot; hit 38 percent from deep after shooting 31 percent last year.

Biggest Negative: His start to the season was fairly terrible, as he averaged 6 points per game and shot 30 percent from the field in November.

Miles was exactly what we expected him to be when the Cavs brought him in. He was an effective vet, adding quality minutes off the bench and hitting a solid amount of threes at a 38 percent clip. He wasn’t the most effective defender, but certainly wasn’t the worst on this team. Miles had his off nights, but for the most part, delivered excellent numbers and a few quality carpet-bombings from outside (His 11-of-15, 8-three, 33-point effort against Brooklyn in December, for example). If the Cavs keep anyone from the bench this season, I hope it is Miles.

 

Jeremy Pargo

Dec 26, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Jeremy Pargo (8) is defended by Washington Wizards guard Garrett Temple (back) during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports

 

25 Games Played, 11 Starts, 17.9 Minutes Per Game, 8 Points, 1 Rebound, 3 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: Pargo scored 20+ points in three different games this season, including a 28-point game against Philadelphia.

Biggest Negative: Jeremy Pargo was really the Cavs starting two-guard for 11 games this season? That happened?

Pargo got waived halfway through the season after a pretty good November to make way for Wayne Ellington and Mo Speights. Considering he was a non-factor after Dion Waiters moved into the starting lineup, this wasn’t really a bad thing.

 

Chris Quinn

Mar 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Chris Quinn (20) dribbles the ball against the Houston Rockets in the second quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

 

7 Games Played, 11.1 Minutes Per Game, 1 Point, 1 Assist Per Game

Biggest Positive: The game he scored 4 points against Houston?

Biggest Negative: Was a complete non-factor this season.

Quinn was brought in after Dion Waiters was injured, and struggled mightily in his time here. Then again, that’s typical of most 10-day contract recipients. He wasn’t supposed to bring an impact, and didn’t.

 

Samardo Samuels

November 7, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Samardo Samuels (24) during the second quarter at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 106-96. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

 

18 Games Played, 1 Start, 10.9 Minutes Per Game, 3 Points, 2 Rebounds Per Game

Biggest Positive: An 11/7 game vs. Golden State in November, his only start this season.

Biggest Negative: Waived in January with little reaction from anyone.

Hopefully this is the final season we have to deal with Samuels, the deep-bench drug that the Cavs can’t quit. After three straight seasons of Samuels being in and out of the Cavs roster, I think we’re done watching him struggle on defense and generally be useless.

 

Donald Sloan

Dec 7, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Donald Sloan (15) drives to the basket past Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Luke Ridnour (13) in the second half at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves won 91-73. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

 

20 Games Played, 12.9 Minutes Per Game, 4 Points, 1 Rebound, 2 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: A 14-point game vs. Chicago in December.

Biggest Negative: Like Samuels, released and faded into obscurity in December.

It’s Donald Sloan. He sucks. We know. Let’s move on.

 

Marreese Speights

Mar 16, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Marreese Speights (15) drives to the basket as San Antonio Spurs forward Stephen Jackson (left) defends during the second half at the AT

 

39 Games Played, 1 Start, 18.5 Minutes Per Game, 10 Points, 5 Rebounds, 1 Assist Per Game

Biggest Positive: Came in mid-season and gave the Cavs a legitimate third big, good for 8-12 points per game, good rebounding and the occasional big outburst off the bench.

Biggest Negative: Was useless defensively, but I mean, who on the Cavs wasn’t this season?

I loved Speights’ work for the most part this season. He had a few fun games, particularly the 21/10 game in the win over the Thunder in February. Speights saw his minutes reduced late in the season in favor of more for Kevin Jones, but his body of work for the season was fairly solid. I wouldn’t mind having Speights back as the fourth big, and I’d be interested to see what Speights/Varejao combinations would look like for the frontcourt because that would mimic what we saw from Speights at his deadliest when he replaced Zach Randolph alongside Marc Gasol in Memphis last year. Speights should take his player option for next season, and I’ll welcome him back.

 

Tristan Thompson

Nov 27, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Phoenix Suns power forward Luis Scola (14) and Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson (13) battle for a rebound in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

 

82 Games Played, 82 Starts, 31.3 Minutes Per Game, 12 Points, 9 Rebounds, 1 Assist Per Game

Biggest Positive: Thompson’s free throw shooting improved from 55 percent last season to 61 percent this year.

Biggest Negative: Still not the best defender out there.

I loved Thompson’s season this year. He looked a lot better offensively, improving from 98 points/100 possessions last year to 108 this season. He was a much more efficient player offensively, and got better defensively as the season went on. His leadership potential also flashed, as he carried a Varejao-less, Kyrie-less and Waiters-less Cavs team for a few games and performed admirably as the sole consistent offensive player. I’m very, very high on Thompson as the Cavs long-term third option behind Kyrie Irving and another guy, potentially found in this draft or free agency. On a team that didn’t have many guys that cared this year, it was obvious Thompson cared a lot.

 

Anderson Varejao

Dec 14, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao (back) and Milwaukee Bucks point guard Monta Ellis (11) reach for a loose ball in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

 

25 Games Played, 25 Starts, 36 Minutes Per Game, 14 Points, 14 Rebounds, 3 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: Best statistical offensive season of his career

Biggest Negative: Third straight season missing 40+ games with injury

I’m beyond frustrated with Varejao. On one hand, this was his best offensive season of his career. He was a legitimate weapon. He was also the defensive anchor for the Cavs, posting the best defensive stats by far for the Cavs this season. However, going out after 25 games with a deep vein thrombosis, this is now the third straight season that Varejao has missed more than half the season with injury. Granted, many of them have been freak injuries, but three straight years? That’s a problem. Everyone, myself included, keeps talking about how the Cavs will be so much better with a healthy Varejao next season. I’m not certain that’s gonna be the case next year. Until we see Varejao stay healthy for a full season, I can’t believe that the Cavs can rely on Varejao going forward. It’s sad because he’s such a useful player, but I can’t see Varejao staying healthy again next season.

 

Dion Waiters

January 26, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters (3) tries to make a basket as Toronto Raptors center-forward Amir Johnson (15) defends at the Air Canada Centre. Cleveland defeated Toronto 99-98. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

 

61 Games Played, 48 Starts, 28.8 Minutes Per Game, 15 Points, 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: Came in and played far better than I expected, starting 48 games and consistently getting better as the season went on.

Biggest Negative: 41 percent shooting, 31 percent from deep.

I hated the Waiters pick. I didn’t see him as anything more than a glorified sixth man, a guy that had attitude problems and definitely wasn’t worth the fourth pick of the draft. However, Waiters exceeded all expectations, becoming a legitimate threat after a truly awful start to the season. He didn’t show any character issues this season, carried the team during the initial loss of Kyrie Irving, and looked like a real keeper moving forward. I’m not too concerned about his poor shooting this season; a ton of shooting guards have that issue as rookies. I look forward to seeing how Waiters can improve, and I think that Dion Waiters vs. Bradley Beal, taken one pick ahead of Waiters by the Wizards, is going to be a serious debate for a long time.

 

Luke Walton

January 11, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luke Walton (4) drives to the basket during the first half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

 

50 Games Played, 17.1 Minutes Per Game, 3 Points, 3 Rebounds, 3 Assists Per Game

Biggest Positive: We’ll always have THE LUKE WALTON GAME. Specifically, this was the Chicago game on February 26th where Walton had 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists as well as lights-out defense in a 3-point win over the Bulls.

Biggest Negative: Most of the 49 other games.

Walton was just as terrible as Gibson and Casspi, posting 39 percent shooting from the field and generally being useless throughout the season. He had a few bright spots, particularly with his passing, but for the most part was a non-factor. Glad to see him head out of Cleveland.

 

Tyler Zeller

 

77 Games Played, 55 Starts, 26.4 Minutes Per Game, 8 Points, 6 Rebounds, 1 Assist

Biggest Positive: I’ve been gushing about them all spring, but Zeller’s screen-and-pop game is amazing.

Biggest Negative: Zeller can’t play defense. Like, at all.

Zeller got thrown to the wolves after Varejao went down, starting wayyyy more games than he should have. He showed flashes of being a quality offensive player, flashing a decent midrange game, but he got handled on the glass and was a revolving door on defense. I think this was a decent rookie season for Zeller, but at 23, I’m not sure he will continue to improve much.

Tags: Alonzo Gee Anderson Varejao Cleveland Cavaliers Dion Waiters Featured Kyrie Irving Tristan Thompson Tyler Zeller