NBA Roundtable

2010/11 Cleveland Cavaliers

In General NBA on October 25, 2010 at 11:52 am

The Roster

  • PG – Mo Williams, Ramon Sessions and Daniel Gibson
  • SG – Anthony Parker, Manny Harris, Christina Eyenga
  • SF – Jamario Moon, Joey Graham, Jawad Williams
  • PF – Antawn Jamison, JJ Hickson, Leon Powe
  • C – Anderson Varejao, Ryan Hollins

Strengths

  • Quality players at the point with Mo Williams (scorer) and Ramon Sessions (playmaker)
  • Best player is Anderson Varejao. Provides a defensive anchor and solid rebounder. Solid passer with a limited skill-set as a scorer but a very effective finisher off pick and rolls and around the rim.
  • Antawn Jamison gives the Cavs a solid go-to scorer. Not the most efficient in the world but he can points on the board in a variety of ways and takes good care of the basketball.

Weaknesses

  • Wing rotation is likely the worst in the league (Raptors wing rotation from two years ago)
  • Depth is a serious problem, they are a 7-8 man team and then a bunch of question marks
  • Lack of defensive quality outside of Varejao + a couple of major liabilities defensively in Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison
  • Quality at the point makes small backcourts a good option but that also brings matchup problems on the other end of the court.

Notes

Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams

Cleveland is going to have a tough time defensively if they start Mo Williams and Jamison together. The Cavs lack of talent on the wings makes this an increasingly large issue.

Cleveland would get lit up by every top perimeter player in the league if they started Mo and Jamison. They have no lockdown defensive wing + Mo is very weak defensively + throw in Jamison’s pathetic defense and weak PnR defense = suddenly Cleveland can’t stop any team’s top offensive threats on the perimeter. Plus Jamison can’t contain his own man. In total, Cleveland would be getting lit up at four different positions (1-4) on a regular basis.

Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams will be much more effective for them coming off the bench where they’ll be able to spend a good portion of their court time (not all but a sizable amount) matched up against less talented opponents.

Both players would be very effective as spark-plug scorers off the bench, game changers, matchup problems, who offer a whole other dimension to the game.

It would also let Cleveland set more of a defensive tone to start games off (still weak defensively but not one of the worst in the league weak) + it would allow Sessions to start the game who is a superior passer and playmaker who’ll do a superior job of involving his teammates offensively than Mo Williams would.

Cleveland’s starters would have some trouble scoring but their bench would be the highest scoring in the league and Jamison + Mo would be playing some of their time alongside the starters later in the game. Just not at the start of each half.

Backup Center

Ryan Hollins is a weak and highly undependable basketball player. Not a rotation worthy player.

The Cavs should use JJ Hickson or Leon Powe as their backup center and keep Hollins as a third string center.

JJ Hickson

Most improved player candidate in large part due to the expected (if Scott doesn’t do a nutty) increases in minutes, touches and shot attempts.

JJ Hickson could put up around 18 points and 8 rebounds this season while playing serviceable to mediocre defense. His efficiency will likely drop due to his still developing offensive skill-set + the large amount of defensive attention that he’ll draw.

Season Projection

If the Cavs start Mo Williams and Jamison, I think they’ll have a very difficult time maintaining the high level of teamwork and effort that their talent deprived roster demands. Their weakness defensively + their self-orientated offensive play would be difficult to handle while regularly losing games. I think that Cavs team finishes somewhere in the 20s win wise, likely low to mid twenties.

If the Cavs start Sessions and Hickson, I think they can be a scrappy insurgent team that is often overlooked by the opposition … winning somewhere in the low thirties.

It would be a magnificent coaching job + performance from Varejao and likely Sessions if the Cavs managed to challenge (not even get, just challenge) for a playoff spot. This is a possibility if everyone buys into their role and stays healthy during the year.

Of course, due to their lack of depth, injuries will have a very harsh impact on the Cavs season. None more so than Varejao, if they lose Varejao this team would have a tough time winning at more than a 18-20 win season pace.

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