Welcome to the sixty-fifth installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” This weekend 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 feeding Andrew Bynum the ball, Cleveland’s recent efforts against the NBA’s elite, RDE’s Naughty/Nice list, Omer Asik trade rumors and the wizardry of Gregg Popovich.
First Question: Mike Brown has mentioned a few times this season that the young Cleveland guards aren’t proficient yet in consistently feeding the ball down low to Bynum over the course of a game. What have you noticed about how defenses are closing in on Bynum in the second half and preventing the Cavs from continuously running effective lineups with Andrew?
Trevor Magnotti: It all comes back to the lack of outside shooting for the Cavs. When Bynum is on the floor, he’s most commonly paired with C.J. Miles, Alonzo Gee, and Kyrie as his guards, and with Kyrie still ice cold from outside and C.J. Miles regressing a bit, that allows defenses to pack in against Bynum. It’s the same reason that Kyrie struggled at the rim to begin the season. The shooters aren’t threats, and defenses who have already been killed by Bynum in the first half pack it in to not allow that to continue.
Chris Manning: Yes, and I think it’s due to two different issues that the Cavaliers are dealing with. First off, as Trevor wisely mentioned, the Cavaliers do not have consistent outside shooting right now. Outside of Kyrie Irving (who hasn’t always been on point either) the Wine & Gold don’t have one player who is knocking down shots from outside. Also, Bynum has shown to be less than willing to pass out of the post. This allows teams to double down hard when they know Bynum is going to take a contested shot or have the ball stripped away. All in all, these two issues make Cavalier lineups with Bynum predictable, especially since they feed him almost every time down the court.
Second Question: Moral victories suck, but the Cavaliers have played two of the NBA’s elite teams point for point (almost) over the past two games. Have you been satisfied?
TM: I have. We knew that the Cavs were going to lose to both teams, two of the best in the NBA. Both are elite three-point shooting teams and teams with elite players in LeBron and LaMarcus Aldridge. I felt that against the Heat, the Cavs played solidly for three quarters, only getting burned in the second to put the game out of reach. Against the Blazers, the Cavs couldn’t defend the three, but Tristan Thompson played well on LMA, and the bench held up against one of the better units in the NBA. I was impressed regardless of outcome there.
CM: I’ll be the curmudgeon here and say no. Moral victories don’t exist, even if you learn from close losses. But even in these games, there are little things the Cavaliers still do not do well that hold them back from potentially winning these games. For starters, Irving was ripped apart on defense in both games. And inversely from Trevor, the Cavaliers keep having these quarters where they fall behind big and can’t recover. There were little positives, all things considered, but I want more, especially since issues keep relating themselves no matter who the Cavs play.
Third Question: Hiroki Witt of RDE recently wrote a Naughty/Nice list for the site. Who is one member of the Cavaliers staff that is on your personal naughty list and one on your good side?
TM: Nice: Jim Boylan. He actually performed well with the Cavs down big when Mike Brown got ejected on Saturday, and while that wasn’t enough to make him not my least-favorite coach in the NBA (I was there for his interim stint with the Bulls – he ruined that squad), he earned brownie points. Naughty: Jarrett Jack. You’ve been useless this season, and we can’t trade you quick enough.
CM: Jarrett Jack is by far the naughty member of the team. He takes long two pointers with a high frequency and isn’t providing nearly the amount of scoring that you’d expect from a player the Cavaliers gave a $25 million dollar contract this offseason. On my good list, I’ll shock everyone who has heard me talk bad about Matthew Dellavedova and say Matthew Dellavedova. He’s played really hard every night, even if he’s not that good and messes up a lot and just isn’t an NBA rotation player. Here’s hoping Delly gets a tray of lunchmeat with some nice Jewish Rye bread and maybe some expensive cheese for Christmas this year.
Fourth Question: Are you glad that the Asik trade talks are done (for now)?
TM: Nah. I actually want him to get moved, because the man is clearly unhappy with his role in Houston, and rightfully so. He is a good player, and he proved last year that he’s a worthy starter in this league. I want him to go to a team that can effectively use him as a defensive anchor in the middle, which the Rockets just can’t allow him to be, understandably with Dwight there. Honestly, I love the idea of him on the Celtics, and if they can get him for nothing outrageous, that’s a solid move for that team.
CM: No, if only because he still is hanging a cloud over Houston, and I think, as Trevor said, he would fit in on a team like Boston. Also, we’d get a better, more complete read on the Rockets. While Terrance Jones has been a nice revelation, they likely need more out of the power forward spot. And if they can net a first round pick and a nice player from whomever they trade Asik to, they’ll be on the right path. Plus, the more I hear about it, the more I just want it to be over. Trade rumors can only be interesting for so long.
Fifth Question: Pop did it again. He rested his Big Three of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili and came away with a victory against the Warriors in the Bay Area. How intelligent is this man?
TM: Intelligence isn’t really a factor when you’re consulting the dark arts.
CM: wasn’t alive before 1993, but even though he hasn’t won as many titles as Phil Jackson, he might be the best coach to ever walk the Earth. I fear an alternative universe where Popovich, Masai Uraji and Mikhail Prokhorov join up to form a super trio of wizardry and dark arts.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Trevor Magnotti and Dan Pilar have to debate at the “Weekly Roundtable.”