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Section 109: Ferry Shows His EOY Skills in the Playoffs

May 2, 2010
© 2010 Daniel Goldberg
The Cavs/Bulls series showed us some good and bad things about the Cavs. The bad — when they slack off on defense and stop protecting the lane. The good — when defenders key on LeBron and Antawn Jamison casually drops in 20+ points. The Cavs offensive options must be dizzying for opposing coaches. You double down on LeBron or Shaq, Mo Williams or Jamison are waiting to burn you. Jamison has smoothly integrated his game into the Cavs starting lineup, and as a result the bench is even deeper.
Danny Ferry deserves the Exec of the Year just for the Jamison deal. Passing on Amare Stoudamire might have been tough, but not as tough as giving up JJ Hickson would have been. Abandoning  Amare simply meant making a great deal for Jamison, who has enhanced the offensive balance for the Cavs as much as Stoudamire would have. Plus Jamison is more versatile and a better defender than Amare. He might not get the rebounds Stoudamire does, but we have plenty of rebounding. Then you look at what JJ has done since the beginning of the year when they put him in the starting lineup, and especially how he handled the post when Shaq and Z weren’t around, Ferry was way smart not to give Hickson up. Oh yeah, and Ferry traded nothing for Shaq, and got Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker in the middle of a very active free agent market, too.

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.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 3, 2010 4:33 pm

    Wow, that would be an interesting lineup. Who guards Rondo and Allen?

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