Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm back baby

In the words of the immortal Frank Costanza, "I'm back babyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" But what could rouse me from my self-imposed Cleveland sports silence? Summer '09 has been somewhat like a purgatory for me... major happenings like Eric Wedge getting the axe, Braylon Edwards heading to NYC, Brady Quinn putting his house up for sale, Delonte West going all Desperado on us... even the LeBron corn maze... none of them could bring me to post here. I was in a waiting period. Stuck between the sickeningly empty feeling of letdown in June and filling the time watching (or trying not to watch) the mess that is/was this year's version of the Browns and Indians. Just waiting for the NBA season to start and our beloved Cavaliers to get their revenge on the Magic and the rest of the league. And finally the wait is almost over. Only 12 more days until Game #1 and there's an excitement in the air.

So did anyone else out there catch last night's preseason game vs. the Wizards? To my delight, I was able to watch it even though it wasn't on FSN. NBAHD (recently added to my cable lineup) had the game in crystal clear HD.... only problem was that it was the Comcast Washington broadcast. So instead of my favorite Cavaliers homers calling the game I was stuck with the Wizards' awful version - Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier. Words cannot describe how awful this duo is. Buckhantz acted like it was a playoff game and neglected to point out that in the 2nd half the Wizards starters were mostly going against a lineup of which 80% won't even make the final Cavs roster (I'm talking about you Andre Barrett, Russell Robinson, Rob Kurz, and Luke Nevill). And at one point Chenier actually said that we gave up a lot of vital pieces to obtain Shaq. He uttered something about us now missing Sasha, Big Ben, Lorenzen Wright, and Joe Smith, all of whom were starters and huge contributors(???). Wow. And these guys are paid to do this.

All I can say is that the regular season can't get here fast enough. Watching DeShawn Stevenson do the ridiculous hand wave in front of his face got me fired up and ready to blog again. Watching Gilbert Arenas hobble around on one leg has me already excited for another first round sweep. And watching Brendan Haywood injured on the Wizards' bench just made me feel good. The Wiz are to the Cavs what the Browns probably are to the Steelers. An annoying "rival" that makes a meaningless mid-season beatdown seem a little more fun because of the endless yapping from them, despite the utter domination you have over them. Can't wait to play these guys again on November 3rd. I only wish I had the Comcast Washington feed for that one.

My impressions from the bit I saw of the Cavs regular rotational players:

  • Shaq looks really good. Having a true low-post big man is such a sight for sore eyes. He will put up the same solid numbers and strong play that he did for Phoenix, but for us as Cavs fans it will seem like so much more because we haven't seen it in so long.
  • And forget about this popular notion that seems to be coming from everywhere that Shaq will "clog the lane" for LeBron. Not sure where that started but all Shaq will do is command a double-team and open things up a little for LeBron and a lot for our perimeter shooters.
  • Andy is going to get a lot of easy baskets this year, even more so than in the past. Shaq will find him cutting under the hoop for many easy hoops. You can etch that one in stone.
  • Anthony Parker is a player. We're gonna love watching this guy shoot that corner three this year. And I like how he approaches things on the defensive side. He's not afraid to body anyone up.
  • Jamario Moon is a streaky shooter but can hit from the outside. I just don't want him falling in love with that shot, because he will get a lot of easy looks inside - especially in transition - when playing with LBJ.
  • Z is Z. I'm so happy for him that he's finally a father. And I'm happy he is accepting his role off the bench. He should be fresher this season and will be his same consistent self. He and Shaq will both provide each other with lots of rest. Forget all the talk about them both being older players... both will be consistent major contributors.
  • Boobie still looks like Boobie to me... an uncomfortable 2-guard being forced to play point guard in Mo and Delonte's absence. I'm starting to really agree with Brian Windhorst's uneasy feelings about our point guard depth. Although that won't really derail anything during the regular season, if unresolved it could present some problems come playoff-time.
  • J.J. Hickson still seems wildly inconsistent to me. Maybe I just caught him on a bad night, but he looked out of control when he was in there. Not that it isn't to be expected given his age and lack of experience... but I think a lot of people have outrageously high hopes for him this year. I'm curbing my enthusiasm a bit.
  • Finally, Jawad Williams will definitely make the team. His 21 points last night sealed the deal. And I'm secretly pulling for Coby Karl to get that final spot, unless a veteran PG is signed. And these guys will get some playing time this year because I'm anticipating a lot of lopsided Cavalier wins. More to come as we get closer to 10/27... in the meantime, try not to look directly at the carnage on Sunday when the Browns pay a visit to Pittsburgh. It probably won't be pretty.