Welcome to the fifty-sixth installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” This Friday Trevor Magnotti and Chris Manning sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. The combination of rotating RDE duos answer three questions regarding the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today the discussion revolves around Andrew Bynum’s return to the floor, Anderson Varejao’s injury history, Anthony Bennett’s Summer League absence, Kevin Durant’s thoughts on Derrick Rose and Shaquille O’Neal becoming part owner of the Sacramento Kings.
First Question: If you were coach Brown, when would you want to see Bynum on the floor in Wine and Gold and when do you expect that fans see him suit up?
Trevor Magnotti: I feel like as soon as Bynum is healthy, he needs to be on the floor for the Cavaliers. From their last season in LA, Brown seems to know how to use Bynum really effectively, and I’d want that weapon on the floor as soon as possible. I’d rather see Bynum come back sooner and play fewer minutes per game than have him come back in, say, January, and start playing 35 minutes a game. If Bynum is ready to ease into the rotation in, say, early December, get him in the rotation, even if it’s a limited role.
Chris Manning: I think the answer is the same for both Coach Brown and the fans: when he’s healthy enough to be an effective presence in the middle. Anything less than that, whether he is weakened from knee injuries (thus missing games) or not capable of playing regular minutes, there is no upside of playing Bynum before he’s healthy. Obviously, all parities would prefer he is ready to go ASAP, but I think everyone should prepare for Bynum to be on the floor in April instead of October.
Second Question: What makes you think that we will see more Wild Thing on the court this year compared to previous seasons, or do you think the injury bug will strike for a fourth time?
TM: I don’t think Varejao is going to suffer a fourth major injury in four seasons. All of his injuries (torn ankle tendon in 2011, broken wrist in 2012, blood clot in leg in 2013) are completely random occurrences. It’s not like he’s Bynum or Greg Oden, where something is structurally wrong with his body that is making him continually miss time. Like Kyrie Irving’s injuries so far in his career, these are all random occurrences, so it seems. Therefore, I have to assume Varejao stays healthy this season, because he can’t possibly go this long without the injuries regressing to the mean and giving him a break, right?
CM: Only time will tell. There are so many variables at play here that it’s hard to nail down a solid prediction. Will he play more at the five or the four? How many minutes will he play a game? Does he come into the season 100 percent ready to go? If I had to guess, I would say we see a serious increase in his durability this season and he plays 70-75 games. Like Trevor said, he is bound to end up on the court at some point.
Third Question: What problems will Bennett most likely face by not being able to participate in the Las Vegas Summer League?
TM: If anything, Bennett is behind the learning curve defensively, but he really can’t hurt himself any more there because he’s already not great on that side of the ball. Honestly, Summer League is for training camp invitation auditions, for bloggers to get together and go nuts in Vegas and for Dominique Jones to destroy people. It’s not to gauge any real ability of first-round draft picks. I’m not worried about Bennett not attending.
CM: It will hurt his learning curve – especially on defense – but not significantly. October and beyond is when he’ll be playing against better competition, have one-on-one coaching with Mike Brown and be pushed daily by veterans. And if we know one thing about Brown, he will restrict Bennett’s minutes if the rookie is not cutting it on defense. All in all, I’m not worried. It’s more of an issue that we haven’t seem him play in Wine and Gold yet.
Fourth Question: Do you believe Durant when he says that it was good for Rose to sit out a year and that he “looks better”?
TM: I would definitely believe Durant that Rose is looking better. More than a year removed from his ACL surgery, Rose has been training constantly since his ACL tear, and he’s going to be in better condition than if he had come back last season, simply by virtue of the added time. However, I don’t believe that Rose’s decision to sit the entire year was a good one. Everyone right now is wondering just how good Rose will look in game competition, and there’s a precedent that he’s going to look really rusty for about a season before he fully has his confidence back. For comparison, David West’s per-game totals dropped from 19/8/2 in 35 minutes per game in 2011 before tearing his ACL, to 13/7/2 in 29 MPG during the lockout season with Indiana, before rebounding to 17/8/3 in 2013. His minutes didn’t fluctuate much, but you could easily tell that he lacked confidence and mobility in his knee, affecting his stats. Rose is expected to see the same thing, but the year off could remove that for him. Rose’s situation is pretty unique, and it will be interesting to see if that has actually helped him regain confidence in his knee. Rose is going to be an interesting case study for ACL tears, given his unique circumstances, and it remains to be seen if he will return to his former excellence.
CM: Yes, or at least as much as I possibly can. Durant keeps it fairly straightforward in the media and he’s not the only person that has reported that Rose looks good. And I agree with everything Trevor says. I just want to point out one caution: Sure it’s great that he looks great now, but it doesn’t matter how he looks in the summer or in workouts. We won’t really know where Rose stands until he has played a few games, played back-to-back and played big minutes night in and night out. I’ll reserve full judgment until the basketball is tossed into the air.
Fifth Question: What do you make of Shaq’s move to become part owner of the Kings?
TM: I believe that this will mean as much as Jay-Z owning part of the Nets. Meaning it won’t mean anything, more than likely. Also, it’s the least Shaq can do to help the Kings after he spent his playing career destroying them.
CM: It’s a cool trivia fact and not much else. Like Jay-Z and the Nets, Usher and the Cavaliers and many more, many celebrities hold stakes in NBA teams. The fact is, however, that Shaq holds no power. It is, however, interesting that he bought a stake in a franchise he has no personal connection with. I would love to hear the reasoning beyond it.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Trevor Magnotti and Dan Pilar have to debate at the “Weekly Roundtable.”