Friday, August 2, 2013

The Greatness of Chris Grant

By: Chase Fitzgerald 
When Chris Grant became GM of the Cavaliers, he started a three year rebuilding plan. Well that's now over and this is the year where the Cavaliers should start showing results. If they don't, well Chris Grant may very well find himself in the unemployment line. Well I'm here to tell you that even if the Cavs don't make the playoffs, Chris Grant should keep his job because he is not only a very good GM, but probably the best in the  league. Here's why
When he got to Cleveland, he literally had no assets. No young players to build around, no draft picks, and just a bunch of old veterans way past their prime with big contracts. Instead of freaking out and signing a bunch of mediocre free agents to huge contracts just so they can barely make the playoffs to try to make the fan base happy, he instead did the hard thing and just let the Cavs tank. He didn't sign any free agents and  just waited and kept working on his master plan. He continued to play the lottery and trade for assets. I mean for God's sake he turned Mo Williams into Kyrie Irving. He collected a vast amount of young players all with huge potential. He has turned the Cavaliers into one of the most promising teams in the league and It is absolutely incredible how quickly he has accomplished that. 

        Even for a young and inexperienced GM, he never freaks out under pressure. If the right deal isn't there, he doesn't do it. He doesn't force anything and you know what they say; second mouse always gets the cheese. Last year when the entire cleveland fan base was wanting Bynum and there was so much pressure on him to make a move, he instead felt that the right deal wasn't there and backed out. Everyone started asking for his head and wanted him gone but Chris Grant knew what was best for the Cavaliers. The sixers then filled the Cavs place and completely lost that trade with Bynum not playing a single game. Now the Cavs have Bynum, without giving up any assets and for a huge discountan. You go Chris Grant.
       Personally, my favorite thing about Chris Grant is that he doesn't give a shit about what anyone thinks. Instead of drafting a highly proclaimed player he instead drafts an undersized power forward barely projected in the lottery. Immediately, everyone saw him as an idiot but he held his ground. He honestly couldn't care less about the criticism. Last year, he drafted at number 4 a shooting guard who didn't even start in college and wasn't projected in the lottery in some drafts. He ended up being named first team all-rookie. This year, all the spot light on Nerlens Noel. Perfect fit for the Cavs. Grant pretty much stuck his middle finger up to the critics and drafted another undersized power forward projected out of the top five at number 1. Each one of these guys has the potential to be a star. What other team in the league has 4 players under 23 all with the potential to be all stars? 

      So to summarize, Chris Grant should not only keep his job but be praised for saving the Cavaliers and bringing them back to relevance. He has made the Cavaliers the most exciting team in the NBA and I think every Cavaliers' fan owes him a big thank you. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Five NBA players that annoy the shit out of me

1. Lebron James
I mean honestly who else did you think would top this list? I've gotten over not liking him, he doesn't really build up a hatred in my stomach anymore but my god does he talk too much. Like we get it Lebron, you're the best basketball player in the world and you're the face of the NBA but we don't need your opinion on every fucking topic in sports. The thing I hate most about him is the way he acts on the court. He comes in knowing he's the best and he acts like he's the best. He is just way to cocky about himself. Plus he gets away with an incredible amount of calls because he's Lebron James, and when he does get called for a foul he freaks out even if it's clear that he did commit a foul. So to summarize, his flopping ass just needs to shut up.
2. Ben Hansbrough
Ben is a psycopath. Plain and simple. It seems like every other game he gets into a fight for no reason. In a game against the Cavs two seasons ago, his brother Tyler flopped and Ben got up screaming like the Cavs had just committed the hardest foul in the history of basketball. He then went on to attempt to take on the entire Cavaliers team in a fight. I feel like he just has this violent anger building up inside him and he is just looking for the first chance to let it out. He needs to take a chill pill and see a therapist. But mostly see a therapist. 
3. Dwight Howard
There isn't a more me-first player in the league then Dwight Howard. He doesn't give a shit about a title or his team. All he cares about is himself, and his contract. He absolutely loves the spot light and will do anything to get his name back in the headlines. Come to think of it, I haven't heard his name in a while so expect him to do something stupid soon. He never blames anything on himself because in his eyes he's the most perfect person on earth so how could he mess up? Also he's not that funny. Like straight up he's just annoying way more than he's funny.
4. Kris Humphries
See, I don't have the slightest clue why Kris annoys me. It definitely isn't the whole Kardashian thing. Shit, I applaud him for getting to spend 72 days with her. I bet most of us would kill for just a night. It's just something about the way he presents himself also known as his "swagger". It's just stupid. He acts like he's one of the best players in the game but in reality he's just about average. Also i've heard stories about him dissing reporters and declining interviews with local beat reporters which is just a douchebag thing to do. Also i think his face is stupid. Hard hitting analysis i know but hey my blog my rules.
5. Mike Miller
Another person i have absolutely no idea why he annoys me. Mostly because of the way he looks with his long hair and head band and how every time he makes a shot he flips his hair. Plus he plays for the Heat and everyone on the Heat at least slightly annoys me. He never tries on defense, he thinks way too highly of himself, and you never here stories about him leaving his heart on the court. The thing with him hitting a three with his shoe off was crazy overblown as well. I really just have the strong urge to punch him in the face whenever i see him you know?

So yeah, this is what the website is going to be like now. I'll still probably right a few serious and emotional articles but mostly it's just going to be stuff I have fun writing. If you don't like it, then don't read it and hey, if you like what i'm doing feel free to tweet me @CGrantsHomie or @ChaseOf which is what I'm changing it to second i get access to a change it and ask about possibly writing here. If you're a good writer you can join. Main thing this whole revamp is is just having fun writing what you want. So i hoped you and enjoyed this and expect more of this in the future. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why the Cavaliers can't trade Tristan Thompson

By: Chase Fitzgerald 
With the Cavs drafting Anthony Bennett first overall, there has been a lot of talk about the possibility of trading TT which makes a lot of sense. They both play the same position and Bennett is much more talented than TT but, in my opinion, TT is just way to important to this team to trade. 
At the end of the season last year when the Cavs were playing like crap and a lot of scrutiny was being directed at their head coach, all the Cavaliers players when asked about the future of Byron Scott backed away from the question. Even one saying how the players had quit on Byron Scott. Tristan however stuck his neck out for his coach by saying: "It's up to us to come out and compete and play hard because we're the ones out there. When he was out there playing, he won championships. So it's up to us to come out there and play." It's nice to see a player not putting the blame on someone else and taking full responsibility for the play of his team. It's hard not to respect a guy that isn't afraid to voice his opinion and standing up for coach. 
The Cavaliers have one of the youngest teams in the league with only one player on their current roster over the age of 26. When you have the young of a team, there is going to be some immaturity. Kyrie Irving was a great example of that last year. Let me start out by saying I love Kyrie Irving. I'm not saying he has an attitude problem or that he's a negative influence on the team but, when a 21 year old gets as much attention and fame as he does, his ego is going to come out at times. For example, after a game last year, Kyrie came out and said that he was disinterested in the game. The next game, he went on to have arguably the best performance of his career single handedly beating the Thunder. I would bet all of the money in the world that Tristan had a talk with him because that's what leaders do. They make sure all the guys on their team are focused and always giving 110%. Tristan is the leader the Cavaliers need and I think that is one of the big reasons Chris Grant picked TT 4th overall. He saw the player TT could be and the intangibles he had. Every team needs a player like Tristan. One that is always there to cheer the team up when things get bad. One who generally loves the sport and has fun playing it. One that always leaves his heart and soul on the court and makes sure to give it his all every night. A player like Tristan Thompson is very hard to find and it would hurt the Cavaliers badly to trade TT no matter what type of player they got in return. TT is quickly becoming a fan favorite and i don't think any Cavs fan wants to see him go. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Fan's GM Round Table:Ben McLemore

 Chase Fitzgerald (@CFitzNBA) and Joe Moore (@Joe_m543) sat down and answered some questions about Ben McLemore.

Highest and lowest you could see him being drafted?

Joe: I can see McLemore being picked anywhere from 1 to 5.  I do not think Cleveland would pick him first overall but a trade is possible.  I do not think he would fall past Phoenix at number five.  

Chase: As much as I don’t think McLemore would be a fit in Cleveland, new reports are coming out that the Cavaliers have been heavily considering them. I couldn’t see the Cavaliers actually making that pick though. I also couldn’t see the Bobcats not take him if available but they have done weirder things. I see 2-4 as his range.

Biggest weakness?

Joe: Though it may have been partly a product of the restrictive Kansas offense, McLemore often struggles to create offense.  He is very good at running off-ball screens and curl type plays that can set up a jump shot or driving lane but struggles to initiate offense.  However, his ability to make reads off prescribed pick and roll situations, generally from the side angle rather than the top, suggest potential to improve as a passer and scorer in more improvised offense.

Chase: I agree with Joe. His ability to create offense is just not good which is why I’m very skeptical of him as a top pick. Almost all of his shots are spot up three pointers and he has trouble creating space.

Biggest Strength?

Joe: McLemore's shooting and athleticism are his greatest strengths.  His shooting ability forces defenders to play tight on defense and close out hard on the catch, allowing McLemore to use his athleticism to drive past defenders, opening opportunities for himself and teammates   

Chase: Obviously McLemore is a fantastic shooter and probably the best in the draft but, my favorite part of his game is the energy he has the entire game. He’s always moving around and seems generally excited for every play despite his team being up by 30. He doesn’t seem uninterested in the game and actually loves playing basketball which is one of my favorite traits in a player.

What team would be the best fit?

Joe: Of the teams in McLemore's expected draft range, Charlotte has the clearest opening.  However, for the sake of McLemore's development, Orlando may be the best fit of teams in position to draft him.  An Arron Afflalo is more than possible, especially if Orlando drafts McLemore.  McLemore would be an offensive focus in Orlando without needing to fully carry the load.  

Chase: Orlando is my favorite fit because they are in need of an elite athlete and McLemore fits the bill. The Magic already have a reliable big man in Vucevic and are in need of back court help.

Does he have all star potential?

Joe: He is nowhere near that level yet, but Mclemore's athleticism and skill set give him the base structure of an all star level player.  

Chase: The potential? Of course. Anybody with his athleticism has the chance to be great but, I don’t think he lives up to it. I don’t think he ever makes an All Star team.

How will his game translate to the NBA?

Joe:  I think his game will translate well to the NBA.  Many of the actions he ran at Kansas were stymied by the presence of inferior players.  In the NBA, his proficiency at angled pick and rolls will make him a constant offensive threat, especially as a secondary action when defenses are already off-balance. 
Chase: Every team is in need of a shooter which McLemore is but I don’t he becomes any more than a reliable shooter with a couple crazy plays. I don’t think he lives up to the hype

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ben Mclemore vs. Kansas State Second Half Breakdown

Breakdown by: Colby Smithwick (Twitter: @Cas_NBA)
Video by: Chase Fitzgerald
 What I want you to notice

1: How easily McLemore gets lost on defense
2: How sometimes McLemore is lost on defense, it’s really just his teammates fault for not rotating.
3: How often McLemore makes an early-shot-clock decision that turns into a turnover or a missed shot
4: How often McLemore finds success by being patient on offense.

0:00- 0:05
 K-States guard drives left off of the screen. The ball-handler blows by Young at the free-throw line and has an opening. McLemore jab-steps towards the driving player, and he misses the wide-open layup. 
McLemore didn’t recognize he was the only roadblock in the lane. If McLemore rotates, Young switches to the 3-pointer and we have a perfect defensive stop.
The “defensive awareness” by McLemore is pretty poor. Coaches in the NBA like D’Antoni or George Karl wouldn’t have an issue with this. Gregg Popovich of the Spurs, though, would bench McLemore for the poor rotation. This attention to detail is why Popovich could have 5 rings by the time the finals are over while D’Antoni and Karl haven just been stepping-stones.

                Here, Kansas is executing a 3-on-4 attack off of a “fast break”. McLemore does a fine job of spacing the floor, but he quickly trumps it by squandering a 3-offensive rebound. Had he cleared the ball out and let the offense get set up, Kansas could have scored. Instead he takes the 4-on-2 contested shot and then fails to get back on defense. Popovich would have a fit over this sequence, but you can’t solely blame McLemore. The whole play was executed horribly, and all the players showed poor “offensive awareness”.  Also, All the shots are taken early in the shot clock. NBA coaches would see this as a negative for “offensive awareness” and “defensive effort”

                Not much here for McLemore. K-State takes a 3-pointer by setting 2 back-screens consecutively. We see a great recovery by McLemore and a poor help by Withy. McLemore and Withy end up both contesting the 3, and this results in an air ball. McLemore shows some effort on the defensive end by ending up in the same spot as Withy even after being screened twice. This is a good sequence for McLemore, but he could improve communication between the players when being screened.

                At this point K-State is down by 22. K-States player catches the ball at the free throw line, where he’s instantly swarmed by the paint defense, but McLemore swarms too and forgets about the ball-handler, who just floats out to the 3-point line for the wide-open shot. We can’t give McLemore the benefit of his teammates messing up this sequence because they did everything right. McLemore shows poor “defensive awareness” by attempting the steal on an already-well-contested recipient of the pass-off, and this leads to an open 3. Had he just stayed in the correct zone, the shot would have been perfectly contested.

                K-State sets one screen for a wide-open jump shot on this possession. McLemore gets held up going the wrong way on this high-post screen. By going right, he leaves his defensive assignment the right half of the court wide-open. If he goes left, Withy would have had the roll man covered and McLemore would’ve recovered fine. Instead we’re shown one dribble into a simple pull-up 2.

                McLemore drives to the hoop, quickly realize he’s got nothing going, and heave the ball to the opposite side for the open 3. It’s not clear whether or not this goes in, but it’s good “offensive awareness” so at least there’s that.
                Withy set a high-post screen for McLemore, who gets the ball and drives headfirst into what’s become a 5-on-1 disadvantage for McLemore. Pause at McLemore picking up his dribble to see K-State has all 5 guys swarming the paint. The rest of Kansas’s offense stares at the swarm, but they should have move without the ball to make the pass out easier for McLemore.

                We don’t see much here except for McLemore getting bailed out by a lucky bounce. There’s 19 seconds left and McLemore just bullets right to the free throw line for a pull up. If McLemore doesn’t get that bounce, and K-State hits that wide-open layup from earlier, K-State comes down with an opportunity to cut the lead to single digits. THIS IS THE STUFF NBA COACHES HATE.

                Notice the pattern here; McLemore has really bad defensive awareness, so do his teammates. K-State can’t take advantage of the defensive lapses. McLemore gets screened and falls down, K-State counters with getting their shot blocked.

                Early in the shot clock, McLemore makes a bad entry pass to the post. This results in an early turnover. It’s hard for me to get on to McLemore for the poor entry pass because there aren’t many NBA players who do this well, but what I can point out is he forced it. It’s early in the shot clock, and this one of those plays NBA coaches really hate to see, too.

                Withy finds McLemore for a wide open 3-pointer but he can’t capitalize. This is another example of an early-shot-clock situation where McLemore is involved, and it ends up impacting negatively.

                This open 3 comes about 13 seconds later in the shot clock than the previous plays. A good drive and dish by the ball-handler leaves McLemore with a wide-open look at the straightaway 3. He hits it, and the defense is forced to play out on him for the next few possessions. Overall good play here.

                McLemore gets a way-over-his-head pass and makes the athletic save to pass it while still in the air. This is an example of his athleticism as well as an example of quick, correct decision making on McLemore’s part.

                This is a “look what I found” play on defense for McLemore, who just takes off down the court. He draws the foul on the missed layup and almost gets the and-1. While drawing the foul was great, he could’ve passed it off to the lead man for a simpler layup.

                McLemore comes off a screen at the top of the key for a swift pull-up 3, which is the same spot he hit his last. We’re seeing here he’s a streaky shooter, but a confident one. He knows his spots, too.

                Early shot clock 3-pointer. We aren’t even two seconds into the possession and he jacks up the transition 3. This is another example of his poor decision making in early shot clock moments, but at least his teams up by 20.


                We see great execution by McLemore and the roll-man. After a high arch double-pick, McLemore receives the ball off a screen and threads the needle to the roller. He botches the layup but this is a possession that has 11 seconds left on the shot clock when the shot goes up (another example of McLemore making better decisions the longer he takes to execute) 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ben McLemore vs. Kansas State First Half Breakdown

Video by: Chase Fitzgerald
Game Breakdown by: Joe Moore
0:00    This defensive breakdown in transition by Kansas begins when McLemore takes a step towards the Kansas State ball handler, as if to defend him, then continues to run towards his man. Had McLemore picked up the ball-handler, the defensive big man would not have been forced to and could run to defend the basket.  This would have left a player open on the left wing but would likely have prevented the easy layup.

0:08    Out of control, McLemore throws a bad pass, leading to a turnover.  An extra dribble in the lane would allow him to further draw the help defender and have a better passing angle to the man in the high post.  Also, McLemore may have been able to make a pass to the big man under the basket had he not gone at such a lateral angle on his gather. 

0:15    This time McLemore gets all the way to the rim on a nice drive that includes a faked change of direction to force the defensive big man to commit to a bad defensive angle.

0:22    McLemore appears to keep his head down while dribbling, causing him to miss the big man on the open role and get caught off guard by the aggressive defender, leading to a turnover.

0:28    The on-ball defender gets caught on a screen and McLemore helps to prevent a drive, leaving his man open from three one pass away.  Possibly due to a teammate’s presence, McLemore does not recover aggressively on the close-out. 

0:40    Though he commits a foul, McLemore’s speed in recovering defensively is impressive. 

0:43    At least McLemore won’t be intimidated by the NBA 3-point line.

0:49    McLemore does a good job running in transition, resulting in an open lane and a free throw opportunity.  He also showcases his athleticism with the explosion to the rim.

0:58    McLemore attempts to anticipate the screen and loses his man off-ball, but recovers before the offense can take advantage and plays impressive on-ball defense.  McLemore should not have taken his eyes completely off his man after seeing him move towards the original down screen.  It varies by team, but most NBA defenses avoid attempting to overplay off-ball screens, choosing instead to have defenders follow as tightly as possible with the assistance of off-ball hedges by big man to prevent easy asses when the offensive player gains space. 

1:08    McLemore again launches from deep, this time for a better result.  He appeared to be perfectly on-balance, landing in the exact spot from which he jumped. 

1:12    Another nice jump shot.  Teams will be more than respectful of McLemore’s shooting, giving him the opportunity to attack close outs. 

1:21    McLemore closes out effectively, acknowledging that an open corner three is a far more damaging result than an open mid-range jumper, and has the athleticism to recover and prevent an opportunity in the lane. 

1:29    McLemore anticipates a telegraphed pass and finishes in transition with a euro-step. 

1:35    McLemore gathers the defensive rebound off a nice effort and comfortably pushes in transition. McLemore appears comfortable dribbling at high speeds and finishing in transition, a skill often absent in young players and shooters of his caliber. 

1:46    Though he could have held the box –out longer, McLemore is in position and grabs a rebound. 

1:53    Wary of the post-up, McLemore helps off his man in the corner.  He closes out and gets a hand up but does not really discourage a shot attempt.  Though a week of seeing Paul George and Kawhi Leonard close out on Heat shooters may have given me unfair expectations, McLemore should look to be more aggressive on his close outs. 

1:57    McLemore takes longer getting around a screen that he should, forcing the hedging big men to remain on the perimeter long enough for the offensive big man to roll into the lane. 

2:03    Though he deflects the pass, this is bad transition defense by McLemore, who allows the offensive player to get ahead of him on the break. 

2:13    Another nice jump shot off an action he will likely go through many times in his career.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ben Mclemore vs. Iowa State Second Half/OT Breakdown

Video edited by: Chase Fitzgerald
Analysis by: Joe Moore
0:00    McLemore jumps off his man to attempt to cover for a teammates defensive confusion.  He is momentarily out of position, but only due to a teammate’s mistake, and does a good job recovering to his man while denying a pass.  In some NBA defensive systems, over-helping, especially one pass off the ball, is discourage, however HIs ability to recognize an immediate threat and then instantly recover when his teammate is back in position shows a defensive focus not generally attributed to McLemore

0:08    Though it is semi-contested and early in the shot clock, this is a good shot from McLemore.  The drawn foul creates a beneficial result, but more importantly, McLemore, a good three point shooter often criticized for being too passive takes advantage of an opportunity.  Generally, decent looks from the corner three are very efficient shots.   The back screen to free up a corner three point shooter is often used in the NBA during out of bounds plays and for weak side shooters.  McLemore does a good job squaring to the basket, but is fading slightly to the side.  With consistent footwork and continued practice reps, McLemore should be able to improve his already strong off-ball game. 

0:12    McLemore makes a nice pass to the roll man.  However, he appeared to pick up his dribble before finding the open man, and had to scramble to eventually made the right play.  Compared to most NBA defensive possessions, Iowa State’s pick and roll defense was flawed, leaving an easy pass to a scorer in a high-efficiency position.  The pick and roll will be key to McLemore’s development as a scorer. 

0:20    Here, McLemore gets into the lane off a pick and roll and makes a nice push shot over the defensive big man.  McLemore’s original defender was taken out of the play by a likely illegal screen.  On most possession, McLemore’s defender will be recovering to harass him as he makes the hesitation move at the free throw line.   Though he made the shot, he should try to get all the way to the rim when he has the defender baking up in a similar situation. 

0:26    Though it likely went unacknowledged as the shot was made, McLemore’s box out is significant.  McLemore keeps his man on his back, preventing any offensive rebound possibility.  The rebounder gets all the credit, but teammate box outs often allow the eventual rebounder to gain possession. 

0:30    Though he is relatively open.  This is not very good shot selection.  He takes a long two when he could have curled into the lane after receiving the pass, and set up a better shot for himself or teammates.  Also, McLemore’s exaggerated backpedal after the release indicates an off-balance shot. 

0:38    McLemore gets caught on the screen, then recovers at a bad angle.  He should have cut parallel to the free throw line to cut off the driving lane while remaining able to contest the jump shot but instead moves diagonally towards the ball handler, allowing the ball handler to blow by the recovery. 

0:44    McLemore gets caught ball watching and is caught off-guard by the kick out to his man in the corner. 

0:50    McLemore completely turns his head away from his man, a signal for any offensive player to cut.   Again, McLemore was caught ball watching on defense.

0:56    This is a bad foul, but these mistakes happen to every young player. 

1:06    This good effort play was preceded by another example of attentive defensive rebounding positioning from McLemore

1:12    McLemore was right not to force a shot and instead pass to a teammate.  However, he could have created a better chance at a shot attempt for himself had he rubbed directly off the screen and not taken a hesitation dribble as his defender recovered.  A timely example of what McLemore could have done is given by the San Antonio Spurs, who often have Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker run looping routes to receive a pass and continue their curl into the paint in one motion.