I thought it was cool of the Cavaliers to offer free admission yesterday for the Wine and Gold scrimmage, and I was also glad they had it down at the Q this season too. It was a good afternoon of NBA basketball, and below are some takeaways I left with after attending the day's festivities:
Tristan Thompson is an explosive leaper: Kyrie Irving said yesterday after the game that when Tristan Thompson elevates on the receiving end of a lob, "literally his whole hand is above the white box on the backboard." That's Earl the Goat make change off the top of the backboard high. He demonstrated that leaping ability early on Sunday by dunking four times in the first quarter, and finished with five dunks on the day. His offensive game needs work to be sure, but he has tools right now that will allow him to be effective as he develops those skills. Tristan finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots in 25 minutes of the 3 quarter scrimmage yesterday.
Omri Casspi will be good: After sitting out Friday's preseason game in Detroit, Omri Casspi made his Cleveland Cavaliers debut yesterday. In the 16 minutes he played for the Gold team alongside Kyrie Irving he looked good too. Casspi finished with 9 points on 4 of 8 shooting from the field which also included a lob pass from Irving he finished at the rim in transition. After the game in response to questions about his intial experiences playing with Irving, Omri said that "Kyrie is a really fun player to play with." He also added that he expects this year's Cavs team to "play hard defense, run the floor, share the ball on offense, and hopefully get a lot of wins."
Manny Harris will make the team: Manny Harris wasn't able to go yesterday, but he told me his foot was feeling a lot better when I talked to him pregame. The timetable originally given for Manny rejoining the line-up is still about two weeks away, but despite missing all of this shortened training camp along with the first couple games, I expect he still makes this year's team anyways. Byron Scott said postgame that he's seen enough of what Manny can do based on last season, and that his decision wouldn't be made strictly on this training camp. Additionally, the only guy who is probably pushing Harris for that spot is Mychel Thompson and he's not making the team.
Impressive statlines from yesterday: I don't want to make too much of statistics from a three quarter intra-squad scrimmage, but Kyrie Irving finished 7 of 10 from the floor for 14 points along with 6 rebounds and 9 assists yesterday. He did turn it over 5 times though, and missed his only three point attempt, but a solid outing to be sure. He combined with Tristan to start the game 9 of 10 for 18 points too in the first quarter. Ramon Sessions was perfect from three point range yesterday, going 2 for 2, and Samardo Samuels finished 5 of 10 for a game high 15 points yesterday as well. Samardo looks good so far, and he's going to play a lot this year.
Big Z in the house yesterday: Zyrdunas Ilgauskas was on hand yesterday, and he got a big cheer from the Quicken Loans faithful when they put him up on the jumbotron during the scrimmage. It's only a matter of time before that jersey's pulled up into the rafters. Below is a picture I took of Z pregame talking to his boy Varejao.
@StepienRules love the Earl the Goat reference.
@WayneEmbrysKids ha, appreciate that my man. I wasn't around to see Earl at 20 years old, but I gotta think they both leap similarly
@StepienRules when Kyrie said Thompson can get his whole hand over the box, he meant the entire backboard? That's incredible.
@StepienRules I hope to find out.
@WayneEmbrysKids he meant whole hand over white box on bboard but that's only when catching lobs. No telling how high he can get otherwise.