The highly anticipated Cavs Zine 3 is coming. Members of the Cavs Zine creative staff mobilized this past weekend and first took over Progressive Field on Saturday night in preparation of our third annual installment.
The Indians responded by knocking off the hated New York Yankees, and this momentum spilled into a Power Brunch on Sunday. The weekend served as a Think Tank for Cavaliers Fandom, as article ideas sparked by creativity and innovation were explored.
These stickers were also passed out to a number of lucky Cleveland sports fans. As you can see from the picture below, everybody wanted one.
After the game (pictured from left to right), @cre8ive_juice, myself, @TheDannyFairy and @WayneEmbrysKids were taken down to the visitors' dugout to watch the Bruce Springsteen themed fireworks display. Shout-outs to @cshillz on the camera work, as well as @_Believeland who left moments earlier in preparation for the Warrior Dash on Sunday. According to ESPN, @_Believeland went on to set a World Record in the Warrior Dash, so congratulations to him on that.
Here's a closer look at the credentials we were wearing, as designed by Brenkus. Totally awesome, as you can see.
While we were in the Social Suite, the Indians also thought that Jackson and I looked like Chris Perez and Jason Kipnis. They took the picture below, tweeted it out, and called us look-a-likes. My offical apology to Jason Kipnis is included here. I'm sure it's not as cool for him to be consistently compared to a sports blogger as it is for me to be compared to an All Star Caliber 2nd Baseman in the Major Leagues.
The Cavs Zine Power Brunch was also well attended. Dropping in for that on Sunday was @CavsFangelo, @CavsWITNESS, @teamrobhogg, as well as others from the night before. Most people ordered the Chicken and Waffles, and Deagans did not disappoint.
Some of the new features in Cavs Zine 3 may include: Discussion of Terrell Brandon. We may reach out ot Mark Price. There could be another musical installment similar to Cavs Zine 2. Tyler Zeller's business acumen will not go unnoticed. Dion Waiters will be getting mad respect. More designs from my favorite artist Brenkus will be featured. It may or may not be passed out by volunteers outside the Q dressed up like Uncle Drew. If you liked Cavs Zine 1 and Cavs Zine 2, this will be the most spectacular installment of all-time.
As more information becomes public, I will keep you posted. In the meantime, stay tuned for Cavs Zine 3.
The highly anticipated Cavs Zine 3 is coming. Members of the Cavs Zine creative staff mobilized this past weekend and first took over Progressive Field on Saturday night in preparation of our third annual installment.
David O'Leary is a long-time friend and contributor here at Stepien Rules. He follows the NBA from his native Ireland, and embraces the Cleveland Cavaliers as his own. He checks back in with us here on the additions of Waiters and Zeller, along with the prospects of finishing 10th out East.
So I’m sitting there on the night of the Draft pondering if, when, and why we’ll make a move from our number four spot. Could we move even as high as one, and actually try and nab Davis by offering all our picks to New Orleans; a trade we actually tried to make it turns out. That was a pipe-dream, and something that may have only been possible if David Kahn or Michael Jordan were running New Orleans, but the second and third overall slots were more intriguing. I genuinely thought Charlotte or Washington would have at least thought about an offer consisting of the following...
The numbers 4, 24, 33 and 34 picks in this draft, all our second round picks for the next X-amount- of-years-they-wanted, plus an expiring contract of say a Luke Walton or Boobie Gibson. I’d of even thrown in a first round pick that was only lottery protected through 2015.
Not to be. I would have very strongly considered offering Tristan or Andy along with our picks also let it be noted, but it was never going to materialize. Thus we stood pat at the four spot. Then this happened.
“With the fourth pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select.....”
Cut to me thinking all of the following: we’re nabbing Harrison Barnes about ten spots too high just cause he may or may not be a Brandon Roy type scorer; we’re actually gonna take a flyer on Drummond and his HUGE ceiling; oh my God Thomas Robinson and Andy together would be impressive; holy crap we really are going to draft Jeremy Lamb because after all, he is going to eventually be the best scorer in this Draft; Meyers Leonard?; maybe we’ll even take a...
“....Dion Waiters, from Syracuse”
I didn’t see this coming, even though Adrian Wojnahoweveryouspellhisname from Yahoo! had said it, I still didn't think it would happen. After all, Waiters was a guy who in his freshman year at Syracuse struggled a lot to find a role on the team and didn’t put up impressive numbers by any means. His numbers weren’t exactly eye popping the season just gone, but I can see why he was so appealing to Coach Scott who apparently endorsed this pick STRONGLY.
Waiters has got a terrific ability to get out and run the floor and is very intelligent at picking out teammates on the break. He gets a lot of his offense in transition (28% of his total shots came on the break last season) which is encouraging when you have a guy like Kyrie running your team. Waiters is a deceptively gifted athlete also, and will have no problem twisting and contorting his body at the rim to finish a layup, or going a few feet above the trim to throw down a highlight reel dunk.
Despite talk of him transferring, and the fact he and Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim didn’t really see eye-to-eye that often, he stuck around for a second season. With enhanced minutes came enhanced statistics. His second season numbers jumped up – considerably – across the board. He was a key component of the vaunted Syracuse 2-3 zone, using his length, speed and motor to disrupt any opposing guard while being able to track his man well beyond the arc. While his shooting is prone to bouts of inconsistency, when he’s hot he’s hot. Just look up clips of his effort in a loss to Cincinnati when he racked up 28 points including 7-10 shooting on three’s.
ESPN.com published their predictions yesterday for how each team will finish in the Eastern Conference next season. Their construction of this forecast included a survey of one hundred basketball writers and contributors across a broad spectrum of ESPN affiliated networks. The end result pegged the Cleveland Cavaliers at 33-49 overall, good for a 10th place finish in the Eastern Conference during the 2012-13 season.
In last year's lockout shortened season, the Cavs finished with a winning percentage of .318 (21-45). That win/loss percentage in an 82-game season would calculate out to a record of approximately 26-56. ESPN is projecting then, that Cavaliers will be seven (7) games better this time around, finishing ahead of five teams instead of only two.
Cleveland closed the book on the 2011-12 campaign with better overall records than only the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats out East. ESPN's 10th place prediction in 2012-13 includes better year-end win totals than Washington (12) and Charlotte (15) again, along with the Toronto Raptors (11), Detroit Pistons (13) and Orlando Magic (14). Four wins ahead of the Cavaliers in 9th place were the Milwaukee Bucks. Seven games better, and securing the 8th and final playoff spot, were the Atlanta Hawks.
In summary, ESPN is suggesting, generally, that (Kyrie Irving in his 2nd season + Tristan Thompson in his 2nd season) + (Dion Waiters + Tyler Zeller) - (Antawn Jamison + Anthony Parker) + (CJ Miles) - (Maybe Ramon Sessions) = 7 more wins. A statement I can't really argue with too much. I'm not going to make my win total prediction until the end of training camp, but right now I'd have to admit this sounds pretty fair.
I hope the Cavaliers are a team that competes for a playoff spot this season. I think a 10th place finish would indicate the fact that they did that. In the very least, they would be in the race for a good portion of the year, which I think is important. It also suggests that it's not the craziest thing ever to think the Cavaliers could end up with the 8th seed. Seven more wins (to match the Hawks) than was expected - certainly not the unthinkable leap of Charlotte or Orlando getting in. But looking at the eight projected playoff teams on this list, as well as the Bucks who aren't, playoff basketball in Cleveland will be a challenge.
I think the Brooklyn Nets are extremely over-rated at 5th on this list. After that though, these six teams that ESPN has in the playoffs are definitely playoff teams: Heat, Celtics, Pacers, Bulls, Sixers & Knicks. After that, BK and ATL certainly would be the next two favorites to get in. Then Milwaukee and Cleveland. For right now, I'll take that.
Kyrie Irving discussed the evolution of his crossover this past weekend. I wrote about it in a SLAM article where Irving specifically credits Allen Iverson, Kevin Johnson, and Tim Hardaway as being influential in desiging the move he has today. Hardaway's crossover, for example, is forever celebrated by the Utep Two Step nickname, and I suggested Irving's move deserved a similar handle. Since posting the article, I've received a number of suggestions.
Below are a twelve of those nickname suggestions for Kyrie Irving's Crossover in no particular order:
- The Kryptonite - SLAM Commenter Emiel
- The SwIrve - Twitter: @HoopsBosh (h/t @BrandonBombay)
- The Uncle Drew - SLAM Commenter niQ
- The Cleveland Cadaver Creator - Twitter: @Suga_Shane
- Hospital Shoes - SLAM Commenter Meeks
- Kyrie Eleison - Twitter: @TeamRobHogg (Background - Lord Have Mercy)
- Young Blood - Twitter: @JDimerrr
- The Killer Ky - Twitter: @Dayman28
- Don't Reach - SLAM Commenter niQ
- The Hatchet - Twitter: @WayneEmbrysKids
- The Razor - Twitter: @KBMBA2012
- The Ira Newble - Twitter: @RealCavsFans (*)
(*) RealCavsFans was technically refering to Irving's behind the back dribble. I did want to take this opportunity to highlight the instructional video he was referring to though, in the event you hadn't seen it.
Hit me up on Twitter and let us know which name you think we should go with. More later once votes are tallied. Enjoy your Thursday people.
Kyrie Irving spoke about the evolution of his crossover move this past weekend at his second annual ProCamps Basketball Camp in Cleveland.
I was on location with Mr. Irving, and wrote about who he said inspired his deadly cross for SLAMonline. Below is an excerpt:
Kyrie Irving’s crossover left defenders all over the League standing still this past season. His patented move hasn’t been glossed with a handle like the Utep Two-Step yet, but maybe it should be.
While stopping short of putting a name on his unique version of the killer-cross this weekend, the reigning Rookie of the Year did speak on how it was developed.
“When I was younger, I always wanted the AI Crossover,” Irving said from his ProCamp in Cleveland. “In elementary school that was the only move I had, was the Allen Iverson crossover. I probably practiced that crossover a million times.”
From there, the Cavaliers point guard says he reached back into the NBA archives for elements of two other crossovers in the construction of his own.
“I had the Timmy Hardaway too,” Irving told SLAM. “I practiced the Tim Hardaway move over a million times as well, along with the KJ (Kevin Johnson), which was just go by everybody with quickness. Over time, I combined all of them together, and made it into my own move.
“It was fun learning from those guys, and watching CP3 too, all of them,” Kyrie added. “I grew up on all of them, and I’ve incorporated different things from all their games into mine.”
I always liked how Tim Hardaway's famous cross was celebrated by the Utep Two-Step handle myself. Maybe I'm just lame like that. But maybe, Kyrie Irving's crossover should be celebrated in similar fashion.
Since first mentioning this in my SLAM article, I've since gathered a number of suggestions to that end. I'll be selecting ten of those possible names, and posting them tomorrow as a heads up. Maybe we end up deciding on a name that we'll all unanimously refer to his crossover as for the rest of our lives from there.
This morning at Cleveland.com I also wrote about a conversation I had with the great Melvin Levett at Kyrie's Camp. Here's an excerpt of Mel talking about Kyrie Irving from the article that's published here:
I was talking with the legendary Melvin Levett when I first realized that Kyrie Irving was officiating league game action at his ProCamp in Cleveland on Saturday. The Helicopter, who I'll have more on later this week, said he was thrilled to be back in Cleveland working as a coach with Kyrie's Camp.
"This camp is great to be a part of because of how involved Kyrie is with the kids," noted Levett. "Like for example, he's down there now referring games. He doesn't have to do that, but he does, and that's great to see".
After Mel gave me the heads up, I strolled down to watch Kyrie work a few games as an official. He missed some calls, probably could've blown his whistle with more authority, but overall he did prevent total chaos from breaking out on the court. Here's a few minutes of video I took while I watched him.
After the game I asked Irving how he would categorize his officiating performance. Irving told me: "It was subpar at best. I'm going to review the tape and learn from the questionable calls though, get better from there."
While addressing the campers as Day One concluded on Saturday, Irving offered the following: "I apologize for my performance today as a ref. If I ruined your guy's game I apologize."
Earlier in the day, Kyrie Irving spoke with the media who attended his ProCamp in Cleveland. Some of that exchange is below...
Dwight Howard is the corniest player in the NBA. Despite his awkwardly loud attempts at humor, he's not funny at all. Stan Van Gundy stripped him of any street cred he had left last season too, and he's unapologetically stolen Shaq's style worse than Nicki Minaj did Lil Kim. But he's still the most dominant big man in the game without question. He might not have developed a post move yet, but he doesn't need one. Playing alongside Kobe, Pau and Nash, Dwight Howard will be an absolute monster. He will have the opportunity to sleep-walk his way to 20-10 double-doubles, and he makes his new squad a pick 'em situation in a potential seven-game series with OKC I think. He'll eventually agree to that extension in LA too.
Andrew Bynum then goes to Philadelphia in this three-team proposed trade. So he can't by extension also come to Cleveland anymore. Those dreams are dead, for now at least. Reportedly Bynum has not agreed to an extension with Philly after this season either, and is expected to still become a free agent at the end of the year. So if you think Bynum is interested in Cleveland, you still have that I guess. I never thought he would actually come here in the first place though. I would've been thrilled to watch him run the floor with Kyrie Irving, but it seemed way too good to be true. Which in the end it was. For the short-term in Philly, adding Bynum makes the Sixers the third best team in the Eastern Conference at worst. Depending on Rose's health, they might even be the second now. They will also start Evan Turner from day one, who'll replace Andre Igoudala, traded himself to Denver.
In response to losing Superman, the Orlando Magic should be applauded for the logical move of replacing him with Skyenga. Alex Kennedy from Hoopsworld is reporting that Christian has been sent to Orlando in this trade, and Magic fans all over the world immediately celebrated the news. He didn't really play much for the Lakers after being dealt from Cleveland last season, but he did average 16 points per 36 minutes during the playoffs. Hashtag production. This move also opens up the possibility of bringing back those old Penny Hardaway muppet commercials and working Skyenga into that franchise rocking his new Magic Blue's. More on all that later though, enjoy the Friday.
President Barack Obama has called on the reigning Rookie of the Year to assist with his re-election effort. The "Obama Classic" will be held on August 22nd in New York City, and the Cavaliers Kyrie Irving is amongst the players scheduled to participate.
Others scheduled to play in the fundraising event include: Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Sheryl Swoopes, Alonzo Mourning, Vince Carter, Jamal Crawford, Penny Hardaway, Juwan Howard, Joe Johnson, Tracy McGrady, Paul Pierce, Austin Rivers, Rajon Rondo, Steve Smith, Dawn Staley and John Wall.
Details on the "Obama Classic" from the USA Today are as follows:
President Obama's campaign is planning a fundraiser with some of the biggest names in his favorite sport, basketball. Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony and Patrick Ewing are among the participants in the upcoming "Obama Classic," the campaign announced in an e-mail that offers donors a shot at an invite. The e-mail asks donors to "imagine shooting hoops" with these and other players.
Says the basketball e-mail: "Pitch in $3 or whatever you can, and you'll be automatically entered for a chance to win. Hit the court with Patrick Ewing and Melo? Trade stories with the President? This is the kind of stuff your kids will tell their kids, and no one will believe it until you show them a photo. Don't worry if suiting up with hoops stars isn't your thing. I know you've got a kid or a friend who would love nothing more than to play with their heroes while you cheer them on from a courtside seat. If you've been waiting for the right moment to chip in and support the President, it's time to get off the bench.
The event is Aug. 22 in New York City. This is the latest in a string of raffles by the campaign, most of them involving dinner or meetings with the president, first lady Michelle Obama, or Vice President Biden.
I've never run for political office. If I did though, I would certainly try to align myself with Kyrie Irving too. Well played in that respect, Mr. President. Keep your hands up at all times out there on the 22nd, if you're open he will find you.
Last week, Scott at WFNY referenced a Sole Collector report that detailed plans for the Cavaliers to wear their Electric Blue Throwback uniforms at some point during the 2012-13 season. This is great news, and good on everybody for making it happen. Not to be lost in the celebration, however, is an opportunity to honor the player who put these very jerseys on the cover of Sports Illustrated. His name is Thomas Terrell Brandon.
Back in October, I made the claim that Terrell Brandon is the most under-rated Cavaliers player of All-Time. I suggested then that we should take an opportunity to honor Terrell by holding a Terrell Brandon Appreciation Night. After revisiting this concept with Ben Cox, Cleveland Jackson, and others last week upon reports of the Electric Blues, the feverish momentum towards an actual Terrell Brandon Appreciation Night has never been more apparent.
We are looking to engage Cavaliers Nation on ways to get involved with this grass roots movement below. First, a reminder of why Terrell Brandon Appreciation Night is so important:
The Terrell Brandon chapter is often forgotten when paging through the history of Cavaliers lore even though he was awesome. He wasn't really part of those Mark Price teams (even though he was a solid back-up) and he wasn't part of the LeBron James years either. In fact, when Brandon was playing for the Cavaliers, LeBron came to his basketball camp as a 7th grader. If the galaxies could have realigned somehow, and Brandon could've replaced Jeff McInnis, Eric Snow, Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, or even Mo Williams for one season or even two with James...oh well.
The truth is, I'm as guilty as anybody else of actually forgetting how good Brandon was as a member of the Cavaliers too. I didn't really start thinking about it again until I interviewed Chauncey Billups for an article I wrote for SLAM Online a few weeks ago. In a conversation about the Knicks 17th pick overall this past June, Iman Shumpert, Billups told me this about the type of pro that Terrell Brandon was:
The Cavaliers have reportedly come to terms on a two-year deal with 6'6" free agent swingman CJ Miles. From as best I can tell, CJ is not on Twitter. A Twitter search for CJ Miles I conducted earlier this afternoon yielded results that were not him.
I did later find out that CJ Miles was the second player in the history of Dallas' Skyline High to have his jersey retired by the school. The first player was Larry Johnson. Larry later starred as Grandmama in a series of critically acclaimed television commercials wearing a dress. That's where the comparions to Johnson and CJ end. To his credit, CJ has never been in a commercial wearing a dress.
He didn't go to college either. In 2005, CJ Miles was drafted directly out of high school. He was considered to be a first rounder coming out as McDonald's All American, but wasn't drafted until the second. He was selected 34th overall, just after Brandon Bass, and two picks before Ersan Ilyasova. Ilyasova just got paid this summer btw. The contract value of Miles' reported deal with the Cavaliers hasn't been announced yet.
In that 2005 Draft, the Cavs swapped two second round picks with Orlando in order to attain the services of Martynas Andriuskevicius. He would go on to play 6 games for the Cavs. His friends call him Marty. CJ was reportedly going to attend Texas even after he was drafted that year too. I read that somewhere, not sure how that's possible, but I'm guessing he didn't sign with an agent maybe. Whatever the case, Utah ended up locking Miles into a 2-year guarunteed rookie deal soon after the Draft, and he'd become the youngest player in the NBA that first season.
In his second year, Coach Jerry Sloan dropped a "diapers blast" on CJ which is always unfortunate. Sloan said in a postgame interview of Miles: "He came out kind of soft. I mean, I don't care if he's 19 or 30. If he's going to be on the floor in the NBA, he's got to be able to step up and get after it. We can't put diapers on him one night, and a jockstrap the next night. It's just the way it is."
From there CJ grinded his way through some D-League games, and eventually proved his worth as an NBA player. From 2005-2012, he played in 389 NBA games which is a lot for a guy who's only 25 years old right now. He's averaged 8.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on his career. His best season was in 2010-11 where he averaged 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Last year he averaged 9, 2, and 1.