So why did John Hammond of the Milwaukee Bucks get the EOY trophy instead of Ferry this season? Two big factors: One, Cleveland is blessed with Dan Gilbert, an owner who has plenty of cash and doesn’t care if he pays the luxury tax every year. He’s into winning. That makes it a tad easier for Danny Ferry to take a fat veteran contract off another team or sign a free agent without flinching. Two, Cleveland is blessed with LeBron. Who wouldn’t want to play on his team?
Hammond, on the other hand, is hamstrung attracting free agents to a small-market, cold-weather city, with a salary cap that includes Michael Redd, who is being paid $17 million to rehab yet another season-ending injury and Andrew Bogut, who is a relative bargain at $10 million. But Hammond snagged underrated coach Scott Skiles, then traded for key role players like Villanueva and Delfino. Finally, he picked the best point guard in the draft, Brandon Jennings, who delivered immediately. I know Tyreke Evans is incredible, but he’s really a combo or two guard. While we’re talking great picks, remember all that pre-draft buzz about Ricky Rubio? Heh heh.
Back to Ferry and his GM chops, though. Coming into this season, his clear goals for a playoff run were to get bigger and badder in the post, get bigger wing defenders, and a find good-shooting big man who could spread the floor for LeBron and the guards. Check, check and check. Now that Cavs are rounding into playoff form, you’re starting to see the dividends. Shaq started slow in the Bulls series, but in the last game against Chicago, he tagged fouls on Brad Miller and the other bigs quicker than Joe Tait can say, “DiGiorno!” Then in the first Boston game, we saw him ring up Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis just as easily. Plus, the Cavs have three other post players in Andy, Z and JJ, who can spell O’Neal.
Speaking of our other post players, Let me insert a note here for Mike Brown and his staff, as I know they look to my blog constantly for guidance. When you go small against Boston, why not use a big backcourt tandem? Think about this lineup: C, JJ Hickson; PF, Andy V; SF, Jamison; SG, Jamario Moon and PG, LeBron. Without 7-foot center, you would still have a rebounding, shot-blocking defensive nightmare for the Celtics, and plenty of scoring. You can thank me when it works — but first make sure you thank Danny Ferry for that roster.
- The open door the Cavs provided for Deng, Rose and others in the lane. The Bulls attacked the basket by heading fearlessly down the middle of the Cavs’ defense and often were rewarded with an easy deuce or three-point play.
- The lack of response to the Bulls fast break. This is one of the Bulls’ prime offensive weapons, and the Cavs didn’t get back into any organized defense to stop it. At one point I thought the Cavs should burn a couple fouls and knock down a ballhandler on the break, just to stop the Chicago momentum on offense.
- The lack of minutes for J.J. Hickson. Shaq and Z were getting outworked by Chicago’s smaller, quicker front line. When those two were not in the Cleveland’s lineup this spring, the Cavs went with a smaller, quicker guy with hops at center. He did a good job, what was his name? Oh yeah, J.J. Hickson. Mike Brown could only find a few seconds of court time for him last night? Andy and J.J. on the court at the same time could have changed the pace of the game.
- Mo Williams on Derrick Rose. This is one player (of many) Mo has no effect on whatsoever at the defensive end. To shut down Rose, the Cavs need to pin Delonte West or Jamario Moon to his jersey. Rose reminds me so much of Dwayne Wade, I wonder why people think Chicago is going to go after Wade in free agency.
- No offensive plan for zone defense. Zone is the only chance many teams, Chicago included, have to stop LeBron. So why do the Cavs offensive sets always stall and waste clock when opponents throw the zone at them? Brown and his staff need to come up with some reliable zone-breaker plays. It’s no problem when LeBron and Jamario sink a barrage of three-pointers. This strategy works great when the treys are falling in, but let’s be realistic here — even the best shooting teams can’t bank on this every game. Not to mention one of our best three-point shooters, Daniel Gibson, can’t get off the bench. Or that our other high-percentage three-point shooter, Anthony Parker, has been in a five-month shooting slump.
- Too much Anthony Parker. I think Parker seems like a great guy, a good team player. As a good team player, he shouldn’t have any problem going to the bench. Local sportswriters always complement his defense, but he’s getting burned constantly by younger, faster guards. I commented earlier in the season that AP is a good defender if his man is stationary on the outside and Parker gets set in front of him. But what usually happens is the opposition runs AP’s man through screens and double-screens and Parker gets picked off and loses his player. Or he simply gets lost in a weave through the lane and is arm’s length behind the guy he’s supposed to be guarding.
© Daniel Goldberg
Read the shoddy post at the link below…
…and you will learn that Frank Isola believes the following: Brian Windhorst wants Isola’s job with the NY Daily News; hates Cleveland; only wants to cover LeBron in New York; can’t wait to leave Ohio. Anything else, Frank? Any further insights you want to add to your, um, sports blog?
Sure, I’m not a big shot New York sports commentator, but I did go to a respected journalism school and I worked for print media outlets for years. Here’s something I think I learned in, oh, about my sophomore year in college:
The reporter is not the story.
The well-trained and professional writers who report on sports and comment on sports stay objective, and keep their eyes on the playing field, the athletes and the coaches. Isola’s belief that Windhorst hates Cleveland and is supposedly too close to LeBron? Unsupported opinions — not a story, not even worthy of being labeled commentary. He doesn’t even attempt to dredge up an “unnamed source” to support his personal bias.
It doesn’t matter what Isola has determined Brian Windhorst is thinking about his next career move. Although I’m impressed with Isola’s power’s of telepathy — reading Windhorst’s mind from several states away — it’s not a sports story. Does the average sports fan who scours the Daily News, Plain Dealer, The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, or any other respectable print or digital outlet care about Isola’s opinions of people he doesn’t respect? I doubt it. They turn to the sports section to read about, you guessed it, sports. It is a disservice to his readers to waste their attention on his subjective views of Windhorst’s motives.
So why does Isola believe his low opinion of Windhorst matters to anyone but Frank himself? Here’s one thought – Frank would like to write something new about LeBron, but he doesn’t have a story. He has nothing to say about LeBron’s impending free agency, and Windhorst does. So instead of trying to maybe pick up a phone and scrape up a some facts from reliable sources, he simply attacks a competing writer. That is classless, low and just plain lazy.
According to the News-Herald, Derek Anderson seems to think he was owed more than the money and the chances he got from the Browns. Quotes from an email he sent to the New-Herald’s Jeff Schudel include these three:
“The fans are ruthless and don’t deserve a winner, I will never forget getting cheered when I was injured..”
“I know at times I wasn’t great. I hope and pray I’m playing when my team comes to town and (we) roll them.”
“I never heard from anyone until today,” Anderson said of the end of the 09-10 season. “Nobody ever tried to reach out to me, which is fine.”
Wahhhh. Screw you, Anderson. You think Browns fans are ruthless? I hope you get to play in New York or Chicago. See how much love your game earns you there. Or Philadelphia, where they boo Donovan McNabb, a tough, proven starting quarterback.
BTW, Derek, My take is the fans weren’t cheering your injury in 2008. They were cheering because that blow forced the coaching staff to put in another quarterback. Crennel and Company didn’t seem to be in a hurry to sub for you before that injury. But you weren’t getting it done, and the fans were tired of watching you.
Nobody contacted you? What did you expect, a testimonial dinner hosted by Randy Lerner? How about a video showing highlights of your one good season and your four undistinguished ones? Probably one reason you didn’t hear from the team was you left town long before Holmgren and Reckert unpacked the trophies in their new offices. You said at the time you didn’t think that the Browns would pay your upcoming roster bonus. You were right, but you didn’t act like a guy that wanted to have a conversation with someone from the Browns. Maybe Holmgren should have called you a month ago and said, “Derek, we’re going to release you in a month, but I wanted to call you and thank you for your years of service.” Was there a more appropriate time for them to make a comment about your career in Cleveland than when your release was made official?
Derek Anderson was caught in a bad situation for the last couple years here, I’ll admit that. He played under two coaching staffs that didn’t have full confidence in him as a starter. Whether that assessment was fair, or whether Anderson’s success was sabotaged by a weak running game, or a dodgy offensive line, he didn’t get much of a chance to disprove the coaches’ assessment once Quinn arrived. That must have been frustrating. When he did get a chance, the result was OK, but not overwhelming.
Being a backup NFL quarterback is a frustrating position. The modern NFL team is structured around a particular quarterback, and the backup has to wait and wait for a slim chance to prove what he can do. If the second-stringer gets in a game, it usually means things aren’t going well already. As the focal point of the offense, the QB gets the blame even though the fault may actually lie with the offensive game plan, a weak line, subpar running backs, inexperienced receivers, or other factors. In the case of the Browns, the turnover in coaching, lack of quality players, indecision in quarterback assignments had to add to the frustration. However, it seems clear that if Anderson performed head and shoulders above his rivals, the Browns coaches wouldn’t have hesitated to hand him the ball. What did they have to lose?
If Anderson is frustrated, he should be able to relate to the frustration of the Browns fans, who he claims cheered his injury. The fans have put up with mediocre ownership in the Modell years, the loss of the team, and more years of futility since the Browns have returned to Cleveland. They weren’t cheering you getting hurt; they were cheering an end to a plan that wasn’t working. They were cheering a chance to move on and try something new. Instead of hurling insults, maybe that’s what you should be doing now, too, Derek.