Cavaliers vs Bucks thoughts
Just some things I wanted to raise and some questions to discuss:
1. I really think the Cavs should start CJ Miles, I think CJ is a very good offensive player and isn't that bad defensively. With Thompson and Varejao starting - the Cavs need CJ's offense more than Clark's or Gee's defense.
2. Bennett looks nothing like a SF, he's a true undersized PF. I hated the long jumpers he took, he should do all his damage from midrange and the inside. I don't think he'll get any time this year, I like Earl Clark and Zeller more as back up PFs.
3. Antetokounmpo actually looked pretty good with his passing, shooting, length and athlitisism. Had a MASSIVE block. Still very young and often confused on defense, but I really liked what I saw from him.
4. John Henson's offensive game looked great, Sanders looked OK, but i think the Bucks need some muscle and toughness inside, they have enough offense and finesse with Henson and Ilyasova, they need a big body more than Larry's shotblocking and length, maybe get somebody in the draft (Cauley-Stein, Embiid?). Though they've just signed Sanders to a huge deal.
5. The Cavs defense looked really nice, they tried much harder than last year and had some great defensive stops.
What do you people thing about all of this?
I watched the game to see how the rookies would do and found myself much more impressed with Antetokounmpo than Bennett. Bennett was extremely physical fighting for position down low, which was good, but almost every shot he attempted was either short or was rejected, and he was fortunate for some of the fouls called that bailed him out. He seemed frustrated and his effort ran hot and cold.
Antetokounmpo was involved in some miscommunications on defense and struggled a bit fighting through screens, but his athleticism and body control for his size is really impressive. He had three blocks on the game, multiple alley-oops broken up, and had a couple other blocks where he was called for a slight foul. I think all of his blocks stayed in play, too. He also had a nice steal of a pass leading to a fast break. His defense looks like it could be a real plus in a year or two when he adjusts to the NBA game.
Antetokounmpo's passing and ball handling were both very nice and he showed a nice commitment to running the floor and making hard cuts off the ball. I really like his unselfishness on the court. He had a few sloppy TOs, but he does look he has nice potential. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the back-up SF minutes to open the season if Delfino can't return.
Also having good games were Carrick Felix, who showed off the toughness he is known for, and Tristan Thompson, whose new right handed shooting stroke looks good.
I do agree that the Bucks comically long and thin frontcourt had some issues with the superior strength of the Cavs front court, which showed up on the boards, but the Bucks length did often work to their advantage. Sanders, Henson and Antetokounmpo all were often the first to get hands on rebounds due to their extremely high standing reaches, but the Cavs could still move them out of the way. The Bucks did block a ton of shots, though, so I guess we will have to see what ends up mattering more, the lack of strength or the ridiculous reach and athleticism.
I think most of Bennetts struggles last night had to do with the fact hes practiced for about a week
CJ Miles would be better suited as a spark off the bench. Tristan and Andy may not be scorers, but they find success on the offensive end in their own right. I think Tristan has really found his offense after switching to his right hand. The biggest issue with the Cavs last year was never their ability to score, but their lack of defense. I think Brown will be inclined to start whoever will provide the best defense at the 3, while also being able to keep things flowing on the offensive end.
The Cavs org has made it repetitively clear that Bennett is being solely utilized as a PF. As for his offense, this was his very first game outside of intra-squad scrimmages and his nervousness was pretty evident. I definitely expect Bennett to be the backup PF behind TT, you're making a pretty big assumption based on very little observation. I think AB will create a lot of offensive mismatches with his explosiveness against opposing 4s, similar to what Melo does in NY.