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All-Star Break Grades for Each Cleveland Cavaliers Player

Greg SwartzCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterNovember 4, 2016

All-Star Break Grades for Each Cleveland Cavaliers Player

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    It's almost All-Star break time in the NBA, and with it, a time of reflection on the season's first half.

    For the Cleveland Cavaliers, they sit with a record of 16-37 overall as of February 13th.  While this is nowhere near contending for a playoff spot, the additions of some new players and strong play of others has helped guide them to a 7-6 record over their past 13 games.

    While the team itself definitely doesn't deserve an "A", which players do?

    Here are grades for every Cavs regular as we hit All-Star Weekend.

     

    Note: Players must have appeared in at least 20 of team's games to be included and graded in this list.

Omri Casspi, SF

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats : 4.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 11.03 PER, 11.4 minutes

    Grade: F

    Casspi has been just terrible in the rare time he's gotten to see the court.

    Only receiving seven total minutes in the past eight team games, it's clear Casspi and the Cavs will be parting ways this offseason, if not sooner.

    His shooting percentage from the field (36.7 percent) and free-throw line (55.6 percent) are career lows, as are his scoring, rebounding and assist numbers.

    With newcomers Wayne Ellington and Marreese Speights seeing strong minutes off the bench, it's unlikely Casspi will work his way back into the rotation anytime this season.

    Expect the Cavs to let Casspi walk this offseason or move him at the trade deadline, accepting any sort of compensation imaginable for the struggling small forward.

Alonzo Gee, SF

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 10.63 PER, 31.7 minutes

    Grade: B

    Gee has been solid for the Cavs all season, displaying an improved offensive and defensive game.

    Often asked to guard the opponent's best player on the wing, Gee is a tireless worker with a great motor that every team could use.

    That being said, Gee still has an overall skill set that screams role player and nothing more.

    He'd be above average as a member of a starting five, but he would be a great talent to have on a second unit.

    His defensive intensity and versatility is enough to keep him as a starter for now, but don't be surprised to see the Cavs look to improve their small forward situation this summer via free agency or the draft.

Shaun Livingston, PG

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats 5.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 15.1 PER, 19.2 minutes

    Grade: B-

    Livingston joined the Cavaliers organization on Christmas Day after being claimed off waivers from the Washington Wizards.

    His impact as Kyrie Irving's backup has been crucial to the team's strong play the past 12 games, as Livingston brings seven-plus years of NBA experience to the table.

    His stats won't jump off the page at you, but it's clear the second unit has been much improved under his guidance and leadership.

    Livingston knows the game, and at 6'7" is a good defender who can play either guard position.

    It's not impossible to think the Cavs would try to re-sign him for next season if he continues his strong play.

Daniel Gibson, SG

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 6.6 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 8.98 PER, 21.4 minutes

    Grade: D+

    Gibson's time with the Cavaliers could also quickly be coming to an end.

    With an expiring contract and already-expired playing time, Gibson just hasn't made the impact the Cavs hoped for since his breakout season in 2010-11.  Multiple injuries have kept the sharpshooter off the court for years now, and it doesn't appear he'll be on his way back anytime soon.

    Wayne Ellington essentially brings the same skill set as Gibson and has taken much of the former Texas Longhorn's minutes.

    Gibson is shooting just 36.1 percent from the field overall this season, a pathetically low number considering shooting is the best part of his game.

    Some contender may have a need for him down the stretch, and the Cavs should have no problem moving Gibson before the trade deadline.

Tyler Zeller, C

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 11.06 PER, 27.6 minutes

    Grade: C

    Zeller was being brought along carefully until the injury to Anderson Varejao.

    Now finding himself starting on a nightly basis, Zeller has struggled at times to find his niche in the NBA.

    At times he looks like an elite talent at center, stepping back and hitting an 18-footer or pump-faking a defender into the air before going by him for an easy dunk.

    Other times Zeller looks like he doesn't know where to be on the court and gets pushed around by some of the bigger centers in the league.

    A very intelligent player, Zeller should turn himself into a regular, consistent starter in the NBA, if not more.

    This season we expected to see some struggles, even though Zeller does present enough upside to be counted on as part of the Cavs future for years to come.

C.J. Miles, SG

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 10.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 12.9 PER, 21.6 minutes

    Grade: C+

    There are nights when Miles looks like Ray Allen, and others when he looks like Allan Ray. 

    As a starter, Miles has been great, averaging 15.2 points on 37.4 percent shooting from deep.

    In a reserve role, these numbers drop down to 9.1 points on 36.7 percent shooting.

    A little more consistency would be nice from the seven-year veteran, as the Cavs desperately need Miles' scoring in whatever role they choose to use him in.

    The lanky left-hander does have a pretty shot, one that he's still working on using on a regular basis.  The Cavs go to a new level when Miles is on.  Unfortunately, this isn't as often as the Cavs, or Miles, would like.

Luke Walton, SF

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 3.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 10.45 PER, 15.5 minutes

    Grade: D

    If you're an NBA team looking for a veteran to set hard screens, pass the basketball and dish out some wicked high-fives, then Luke Walton is your man.

    If you prefer someone who actually makes a significant impact on the offensive side of the ball, steer clear.

    Look, there was a time Walton was a contributing member to a good team.

    That time was 2006.

    At this point, Walton carries his value in the form of an expiring contract, one that the Cavaliers could very well move at this year's trade deadline.

    Due to age, poor production and various back injuries throughout his career, expect this to be Walton's final season in the NBA.

Anderson Varejao, C

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 14.1 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 21.8 PER, 36.0 minutes 

    Grade: A+ (prior to injury)

    Varejao was the NBA's best rebounder before losing the rest of his season to a split leg muscle and blood clot.

    He would have almost certainly made his first All-Star team and was collecting nearly twice the amount of rebounds per game as the Eastern Conference's starting center, Kevin Garnett.

    There's literally nothing bad you can say about Andy other than the fact he's becoming injury-prone.

    He hustles like a teenager, knows the game like a 40-year-old and shows the enthusiasm and skill level of someone in between.

    It's a shame we won't see Varejao again until next season, as he never got to play with new Cavs like Shaun Livingston, Marreese Speights or Wayne Ellington.

    All together, they certainly would have helped the Cavs enjoy a much better second half of the season than the first.

Tristan Thompson, PF

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 11.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 16.34 PER, 31.5 minutes

    Grade: B+

    Thompson's play since Anderson Varejao's injury may single-handedly get general manager Chris Grant a new contract extension.

    Still a question mark after a rocky first season, Thompson has shown he can score and rebound at an All-Star level the past two months.

    In 14 January games, Thompson put up averages of 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game while shooting 52.6 percent from the field.

    He's developed a nice touch around the basket and can score with either hand, especially with a baby hook.

    Thompson was a huge question mark when drafted, but he has come on strong as of late and should be the starting power forward for a long time in Cleveland.

Dion Waiters, SG

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 14.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 12.75 PER, 29.5 minutes 

    Grade: C+

    Don't look now, but Waiters is shooting 50.7 percent from the field in the month of February.

    This is a tremendous sign for the Cavaliers, as Waiters has struggled with his shot all season despite his immense offensive potential.

    While he's back in the starting lineup for now, it's clear Waiters has been at his best when coming off the bench.

    Scoring 17.1 points as a reserve compared to just 13.4 as a starter, Waiters also shoots better from the field, three-point line and free-throw line when coming off the bench.

    The Cavs need Waiters to turn into a reliable 16-20 point-per-game scorer to help take pressure off Kyrie Irving and put a charge into their oftentimes stagnant offense.

    We've seen flashes, but working on his consistency and establishing a solid role will be key for Waiters in the season's second half.

Kyrie Irving, PG

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    2012-13 Per Game Stats: 23.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 22.39 PER, 35.3 minutes

    Grade: A

    What else is there to say about Kyrie Irving at this point?

    Those who were proponents of drafting Derrick Williams over Irving should have their basketball-watching rights revoked immediately.

    Irving is set to have a busy weekend, as he'll be playing in the Rising Stars Challenge, three-point contest and Sunday's All-Star Game.

    At just 20 years of age, Irving is having an incredible season despite the Cavs' struggles.  His scoring is sixth overall in the NBA, behind only Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, James Harden and Carmelo Anthony.

    The only thing keeping Irving from a perfect A+ right now is his defense and low number of assists for a star point guard.

    While his assists numbers will go up as the level of talent around him rises, a solid A rating for now should suffice.

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