Needless to say, I'm glad to have the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers back in my life. So thankful am I that I'm writing an article about a preseason game that was only viewed by about 1,200 in live attendance (give or take).
First, some general musings about last night's game:
- The Detroit Pistons might be one of the only teams in the league that is actually worse than the Cavs.
- Shockingly, Alonzo Gee is still not an NBA-caliber player. If you can't make a wide open three-pointer (twice) in the preseason against the Pistons—about as low pressure as it can get—then you might not belong in the big league.
- Samardo Samuels continues to be unimpressively productive. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually don't think I mind having him as a rotational player. In any regard, he's less embarrassing than Ryan Hollins and Semih Erden.
- It's very nice to have Anderson Varejao back. As I wrote earlier this week, it's so easy to forget about all the great things that Varejao brings to the table with his heart, hustle and defense.
- The veteran lineup of Ramon Sessions, Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison, Varejao and hopefully Casspi instead of Gee is not bad at all. That's a squad that might not be able to win games but will be capable of hanging with most opponents.
- Needless to say, Tristan Thompson had a very tough first half. He looks lost, confused and awkward. Thankfully, he looked like a completely different player in the fourth quarter and showed some flashes of the player that was worthy of the No. 4 pick in the draft.
- Am I crazy to be excited about watching Christian Eyenga's development? He is still very raw (six turnovers), but his added height (grew two inches since last season) makes him look a little more natural as a small forward, which should help to mask his shooting deficiencies. I don't know, maybe it's just that he's crazy athletic, but I can't help but be excited about the potential.
- Kyrie Irving tried to do too much at times as evidenced by his five turnovers. That is to be expected from a young player. He did, however, show a lot of potential. I thought he pushed the ball well and showed very good poise running the offense.
It is so easy to read too much into one game, even when that game is a preseason game.
But I'm going to do it anyways.
I think that there are three themes that will develop throughout the Cavaliers' season.
The first is "veteran leadership." I don't know if there's a single Cavaliers fan who was excited to hear that the team's major offseason transaction was re-signing Anthony Parker. But what Parker does bring is veteran leadership and having him along with Jamison, Varejao and Sessions should add some stability to this young developing team.
The second is "lack of depth." It will be really interesting to see what players are able to work their way into the rotation. Aside from those four veterans and a couple young guys, the cupboard is pretty bare. Frankly, there are a good number of guys on this team that don't really belong in the NBA.
And third is "potential." This might be the pervading theme. In Irving, Thompson and even Eyenga and Samuels, the Cavs have some guys that have potential. Hopefully, Byron Scott and the coaching staff can find a way to turn that potential into ability.
It's probably going to be a long and tough season for Cleveland.
But dang it, I'm still excited about it! Nothing like a Cleveland sports team to get you excited for a let-down.
You can follow Benjamin Flack on Twitter @ClevelandFlack
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