Welcome to the 73rd 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 & Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today the discussion revolves around Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Cleveland’s defense, the New York Knicks and sponsors on NBA jerseys.
First Question: True or False: It’s fair to call Kyrie Irving injury prone.
Trevor Magnotti: I think that’s more than a fair assessment. According to this database, Kyrie has missed time for a concussion, a broken finger, a sprained shoulder, and a knee contusion, and now is out with a biceps injury. In my assessment, there are three types of injury prone players: Those who suffer repeated injuries to the same body part (Brook Lopez and his malformed feet), those who constantly get hurt because of their play style/minute load (Joakim Noah and his maxed-out adrenaline glands playing 37 minutes per game), and those who continually get hurt for no discernable reason. Kyrie falls into this third category. All of Kyrie’s injuries are different. At Duke it was a foot problem. In the NBA, it’s been head, finger, face, shoulder, knee, and shoulder again. That’s all over the place. It also hasn’t really been anything serious for Kyrie, as he never sits for longer than a couple weeks at a time. His play style really doesn’t offer any clues to why this is happens either. He attacks the rim a fair amount, which might contribute, but I wouldn’t call Kyrie’s game very taxing on the body, in the way someone like Russell Westbrook’s is. I think injury prone is a fair assessment for Irving. Hopefully they stay minor injuries, however.
Chris Manning: I’m not of the option that Irving is injury prone. It is worrisome that he has missed so much time already in his NBA career, but his injuries haven’t been chronic or as the result of having his body worn down. His latest injury – a strained bicep – is the latest example of this. Clippers power forward came down hard on his elbow and, unless you are a superhuman, that’s going to cause injury. These injuries also are not career threatening and they haven’t piled up to the point where Irving is missing 20 games at time. And they aren’t knee injuries that are taking away from his quickness now instead of overtime. All things considered, it is worrisome that Irving has missed so much time as an NBA player. But I think it’s jumping the gun to call him injury prone at this point in time.
Second Question: True or False: It was the correct move to start Dion Waiters with Kyrie Irving out.
CM: Initially, I thought it made the most sense to keep Waiters on the bench while increasing his minutes. After all, he is the lone Cavalier on the bench with the ability to create his own shot with Jarrett Jack in the starting lineup. But then I looked at the rest of the roster, saw that C.J. Miles was still injured and that meant it was either Waiters or Matthew Dellavedova as the starting guard next to Jack. I think it should be clear that the Cavaliers made the right choice.
TM: Absolutely. Dion has played really, really well since he came back from injury, and really since a couple weeks before the All-Star break. He’s become slightly more efficient, is attacking the basket more, and he’s really taken over a nice secondary leadership role on the floor behind Kyrie and Varejao. He brings a ton of energy to the floor, especially with the second unit, and that was very necessary to put on an otherwise fairly emotionless starting unit with Kyrie gone. Plus, this little stretch will help determine if Waiters has a future as a quality starting two-guard, and the alternative was starting Jack and Dellavedova with C.J. Miles not 100 percent yet, and hahahahahahahahaha no.
Third Question: True or false: The Cavs defended LeBron well for the final three quarters of Thursday night’s loss to the Heat.
TM: I think so. I mean, yes, they gave up 25 points in the first quarter to LeBron, but only held him to 18 points through the final three, and the difference was that they stopped leaving Alonzo Gee completely on an island against James. That was the case for much of the first quarter, and LeBron torched Gee. After, however, the Cavs started getting more physical with James, switching Tristan Thompson onto him for stretches, and Gee really stepped up his game as well. The Cavs also did a nice job off limiting the Flying Death Machine in transition after quarter one, which was important as well. I thought with how that first quarter went, the Cavs were in for a 50-point night for LeBron. However, they recovered nicely, and limited him until late in the game.
CM: True, but with this caveat: James was looking to distribute to his teammates much more so after the first quarter. Alonzo Gee and Tristan Thompson deserve credit for defending James better after the first quarter, but it wasn’t all the Cavaliers. James, as he should, could score at will against the Cavaliers defense. They were more physical, but James really looked to distribute after the first quarter. So while it is encouraging that the Cavaliers defended James better after the opening quarter, his lower output wasn’t solely because of the Cavaliers defense.
Fourth Question: The New York Knicks have won seven straight and are making a push towards the eighth seed currently held by the Atlanta Hawks. Do you think they can turn around their season and ultimately make the playoffs?
CM: The Knicks, as usual, are a tough team to understand. They’ve won seven straight after looking like a complete mess for most of the season. Whatever has kicked the Knicks into a lite-version of the team that won over 50 games last season, it’s made them dangerous. And with the Hawks just barely hanging on, there’s a chance the Knicks sneak into the postseason. Sure, they may get swept by either the Heat or Pacers, but if they can make the playoffs after such an awful start, that’s victory itself.
TM: Much like last year, I have no idea what’s going on with the Knicks, other than that they’ve been playing a ridiculously easy schedule lately. Is this sustainable? Maybe. Will they screw it up hilariously? Probably, although there is the plausible idea of them going all 12-13 Lakers on us, winning just enough to get into position to be about half a game back of the Hawks on the final night, and then wrecking the Raptors as the Hawks improbably fall to the Bucks. Would they get swept by the Heat or Pacers? Good lord yes.
Fifth Question: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that sponsor logos will be coming to NBA jerseys in five years. Match one team with one product, restaurant or company currently on the market.
TM: Power ranking a quick top 5:
5. The Milwaukee Bucks, sponsored by Sharps Rifle Manufacturing
4. The Phoenix Suns, sponsored by Medco
3. The Sacramento Kings, sponsored by the Palms Casino Resort
2. The Memphis Grizzlies, sponsored by Alber’s Quick Grits
1. The Philadelphia 76ers, sponsored by General Dynamics Land Systems (They make tanks)
CM: And here is my top five.
5. The New York Knicks, sponsored by Amazing Wheat Grass.
4. The Orlando Magic, personally sponsored by Neil Patrick Harris who will do a halftime show at every home game.
3. The Dallas Mavericks, sponsored by the next product Mark Cuban invests in on Shark Tank.
2. The Detroit Pistons, sponsored by GM, if only because the Pistons need a recall of their own on Josh Smith’s contract.
1. The Washington Wizards and Minnesota Timberwolves, both sponsored by Minnesota Rep. Pat Garfalo as punishment for tweeting this.