I tweeted this very question last night as soon as the words came out of Freddy Mac's mouth, and it is an important question...at least for me. When McLeod first took over I couldn't stand him. Homerism defined, the other team was always seemingly a group of misfits to his perfect collection of Cavaliers. A company's man, company man...very annoying. As time wore on he grew on me some, and while he's not as annoying to me now, he never really did anything to make me say that guy is kinda cool because..[insert act of coolness here]. However, if McLeod came up with this nickname for JJ Hickson - The Prince of Fresh Air - I have to take a step back and just offer Fred a genuine helping of 'props.' That's as solid of a nickname as I've heard in some time. And even if he overheard the Cavaliers calling him that in practice, I'd still give him that same knuckled up dap for popularizing the term.
While I didn't expect the Cavaliers to start the season 0-2, if you told me they'd be 7-3 after 10 while incorporating a number of new faces into the rotation, I'd of taken that. More to that point, if you told me that Mike Brown would have the rotation just about figured out this early into the season, J.J. Hickson would have already emerged as a legitimate starter, and the Cavaliers would be shooting 46% from three point land, my excitement level would have never bordered on the state of panic I flirted with personally a few weeks back. That said, this game against a beleaguered team in Golden State is one in which the Cavaliers have to get out early, put them away, and not look back.
In Game Update...click here for video of LBJ blocking Monta Ellis...Yikes
And if Brandon Jennings can go for 55 against this team, just imagine what LeBron James can do to them. The projected starting line-ups and key reserves for Golden State are after the jump...
Hat Tip: @jose3030
Before the Orlando Magic game, LeBron James said that he wasn't going to answer free agent questions anymore. He said, "I think I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my teammates...I'm focusing on this season, and this is going to be a really good season for us."
Maybe he was speaking indirectly to one teammate specifically.
Mo Williams came into the Magic game averaging 15.7 points per game through the first seven games. To that point, he looked a lot like the player he was during the post season last year. Pressing, trying to do to much. He hadn't looked like the player he was during the regular season last year. The player that helped elevate the Cavaliers from a team that had been perennially good, to a team that won a league best 66 games a season ago.
Then LeBron publically directed his focus towards this season. One that he still believed, even at 4-3, would be a really good season for his Cavaliers. Mo Williams answered with 20 first half point against Orlando, and finished with 28, en-route to a big road win they needed to have.
In the three games since LeBron made those remarks - Orlando, Miami, Utah - Mo Williams has averaged 24.6 points per game. The Cavaliers have gone 3-0 since as a team, upped their record to 7-3, and won by an average of 7 points per game (107-100), versus an average margin of 4 (94-90) through the first seven.
Cavs vs. Magic - Last Night...
Rashard Lewis was out, but don't kid yourself, this was a big with for the Cavaliers (102-93) - Mo Williams especially. Mo seemed to snap out of it for the first time since the regular season ended a year ago, and he was beyond big in the first half en-route to 20 before intermission. I've been down on Mo of late, but the reason is because he has shown throughout his career that last night is the type of player he can be. Now I'm not saying the Cavs need 20 a half from him all season, but he has to be an offensive threat that other team in part have to game plan for along with LeBron James...which he was certainly that last night. Hickson looked good in 22 minutes of action netting nine and grabbing six boards against one of the better front-lines in the NBA. And if you can get 4 of 8 for 10 out of the original Superman nightly you'll take it...lastly LeBron James is so good that he goes for 36-8-4 in the game and all anybody wants to talk about is Mo Williams' 28, Shaq's 10, or Hickson's 9 - and by anyone I guess I just mean me. You know your the best player on the planet when...
Cavs vs. Heat - Tonight...
LBJ and Wade might be friends but don't ask the King about whether they'll be teammates. While cardiovascular surgeons around NEO were mad about LeBrongoing silent on the free agency talk last night, nobody else was. Hoping it to be reminiscent of that Sunday afternoon in Cleveland tonight withLeBron and the Cavs vs. Wade and the Heat on the marquee...and as Jay-Z would put it...if Jesus is paying LeBron he's paying Dwayne Wade- which I have no idea what that means btw...tip tonight at 8 on TNT.
Around the World of Blogging...
WFNY - Why are the Cavs Struggling: Thanks to Jacob and everybody over at WFNY for inviting me to be a part of their Cavaliers round-up post yesterday. Great points by in the piece by Eric, Matt, and Scott,and I just hope I didn't sound bad and ruin it. Who knows too by the way, maybe the Cavs read it because most of what we - or I specifically - were complaining about they seemed to improve on drastically last night.
Live Game Blog: Thanks to Glenn Moore for putting it on last night, and also thanks to everybody that stopped by...specifically Sandy from SLAM magazine, Scott from WFNY, Ammo, BigTime, Deja Trure, KrucialGW, Cavalette23, LIVES, Dennis, Alex, Walter, Dave, Lenny...and sorry about how when Glenn left I ruined it...stop back again though...
Yeah That Was Pete from Cleveland Frowns: Shout out to our boy Pete and everybody at Cleveland Frowns for the stellar representation of the blogging universe on the Really Big Show this morning. Good stuff Pete. If you missed it, check Cleveland Frowns later on for the podcast.
Join StepienRules.com Writer, Glenn Moore, as he gives you his thoughts about the Magic/Cavs game. Join in on the conversation.
With the Cavaliers off to a “slow” 4-3 start, some are wondering (and panicking) about what is in store for LeBron James & Co. as the season goes on. With Shaquille’s numbers down from his regular averages, and LeBron not getting help on a consistent basis from players who were signed here to do just that, the possibilities of a trade are looking more and more probable.
Stephen Jackson, guard with the Golden State Warriors was the first player to be connected to the Cavaliers in a possible trade scenario. But how much with the Warriors actually want for Jackson? Rumors were they would want Zydrunas Ilgauskas for Jackson. But what if O’Neal went down with an injury? Who would fill in the void left at center with both O’Neal and Ilgauskas gone?
Another scenario was that Golden State would welcome an Ilgauskas for Jackson trade and then waive the Lithuanian center. The Cavs would then have to wait only thirty days to sign the waived center and in the end, the Cavaliers would end up with Jackson and Ilgauskas.
This trade then presents questions about what kind of chemistry Jackson would bring to Cleveland. Could Jackson play with James and actually be content on being the fourth or fifth scoring option? If not, what kind of cancer would he be to the team? Because of these questions and with no insurance policy with O’Neal gets hurt with the trade of Ilgauskas, this trade is not likely to happen.
The player that makes the most sense to fit into this system, to provide the Cavaliers with a spark and proven scorer, would be Allen Iverson. Yes, Iverson has proved over the years to be a cancer and a headache on and off the court, but in this stage of his career, only one goal is on his mind. To win a NBA Championship. And his best shot would be with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Iverson, who currently is signed with the Memphis Grizzlies, has voiced his displeasure about coming off the bench and has left the Grizzlies for “personal reasons”. Coming to Cleveland, he would be immediately placed in the starting lineup, which would consist of O’Neal, James, Mo Williams, and J.J. Hickson. Coming off the bench would be Anthony Parker, Delonte West, Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao, Jamario Moon, and Ilgauskas. It would not only improve and add another reliable scoring option to the Cavaliers backcourt, but it would also add depth to the bench by placing Parker in the second unit.
The questions that do arise from Iverson coming to Cleveland are plenty. Can he fit in? Can he play with James and take a “Scottie Pippen” role? If it doesn’t go well off the bat, how long until Iverson voices his displeasure? The answers to those questions rely on the actions of “The Answer”.
Take a look at the Boston Celtics. They have three legit superstars on their team with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. With those three, they have a NBA Championship under their belt and will be at the top of the Eastern Conference if they continue to play the same ball they have played to start the season. Garnett, Allen, and Pierce have worked together to reach that goal and have had no bumps in the road when it comes to egos and scoring opportunities.
Adding Iverson to the Cavs would then make him the first or second scoring option after James. He also can create his own shot and make his own scoring opportunities by slashing to the basketball and with James one of the best passers in the game, this opens up the offense and adds the “spice” the Cavs are looking for.
It’s a no brainer to add Iverson to the Cavs roster. With the season going the way it is now, even after seven games, Iverson might be that missing piece that puts Cleveland over the hump. But only if the price is right and if “The Answer” knows he plays second fiddle to “The King”.
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After two singles released in successive Cavalier seasons, most Cavs fans are familiar with 'those two white guys rapping about the Cavaliers' - but - who are they really? Well, I'd tell you their government names but they don't want their co-workers finding them out. And its not why you think...they really can't be signing CD's all day...they have work to do. Ever since Napster, the rap game just hasn't been paying like it used.
Nevertheless, StepienRules reached out to the street, and our conversation with the group that brought you most recently - A Ring for the King - is below...
StepienRules: You guys are known as the 'guys that make Cavalier rap songs'...do you have a formal name for your group?
Curse Breakers:Yeah, the Curse Breakers...my rap game name is Thrifty, my colleague goes by the pseudonym Truth.
StepienRules: I've noticed in both of your singles - Notorious Cavs and A Ring for the King - you've sampled Cleveland's own Bone Thugs n Harmony...is that a coincidence or by design?
Curse Breakers: It was simply a coincidence that we utilized two of the finest rap songs ever to be created in Cleveland as the backdrops to our Cavs tributes. Bone is one of the best groups of all-time, and I hope one day we'll be meeting a championship at the Crossroads because this city needs one badly. We also do have some ideas for future jingles that branch out of the Mo Thugs family tree as well.
StepienRules: Do you have any plans for a mid-season song, or are you guys strictly an album per year type artist?
Curse Breakers: Some ideas are in the mix but time will only tell what will be released next. We may have to create a "Free Delonte" song after hearing about his recent indictment. Hoping nothing but the best for him. He provides such a spark to this team, and I think he might be the funniest person on the planet.
I know every "reporter" in mainstream media is currently weighing in with their 'where will LeBron land now that the Cavs are 4-3 and he will certainly not re-sign with them now' theories, and I know this one is from Friday and you probably already heard about it by now, and I know that as recently as today Chris Sheridan is writing that LeBron obviously meant he was going to sign with Miami after his remarks in New York about max dollars not being his driving influence - BUT - this offering from Marc Stein is so ridiculous and far-fetched, I just had to chime in on it...albeit late...my apologies, I was in Chicago this weekend...
Marc Stein's remarks in question are as follows:
"We repeat: The host city for the 2010 All-Star Game is Long Shot City. That said, Dallas has more in its favor than you think.
Dirk Nowitzki would appear to be the best big man LeBron could conceivably hook up with next summer, which would also mean playing with the Mavs' lead recruiter and James' close friend Jason Kidd.
It doesn't hurt that LeBron is said to be fond of the area and undoubtedly loves the Cowboys as much as or more than he loves the Yankees. Or that Mark Cuban was the NBA's original spare-no-expense owner in the new millennium."
"LeBron loves the Cowboys as much or more than he loves the Yankees" - I can't even respond to that. Is Mark Cuban going to offer him a max deal, season tickets and a Tony Romo jersey?
And "close friend" or not, how many years does Stein think Jason Kidd has left? When LeBron's 30 Kidd would be collecting social security if he wasn't already a millionaire.
And the "spare no expense owner of the new millennium?" I think Dan Gilbert might have something to say about that too.
Marc, please, I know you guys at ESPN are working on a quota which forces you to concoct a new 'LeBron will go play for [insert any team in the NBA regardless of logic here] theory' every day before lunch in the cafeteria, but this even has Skip Bayless wondering where you came up with that. You are making that LeBron to the Lakers theory sound plausible here.