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TomShoe's Player Profiles: Cleveland Cavaliers

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TomShoe's Player Profiles: Cleveland Cavaliers

So, it turns out "Mr. PER" John Hollinger is putting up his updated player profiles for this year. I know many people want to look at them, but ESPN can be a real B- when they're putting up paywalls and shoving the benefits of insider in your face every other article. So, for sh*ts and giggles, also because I'm pulling my hair out waiting for Oct. 30 (start of the regular season), I might as well post them here, for nbadraft.net and the whole internet to enjoy.

Sorry about the 2-day delay in posting, there's a lot going on in my life right now, but the schedule should be pretty normal from here on out.

On one hand, haven't heard much from Dan Gilbert lately ever since LeBron won the title. On the other hand, his team, the Cavaliers. They're doing a solid job rebuilding through the OKC model. They already have a star player in Irving who's a virtuoso on offense (and suspect on defense, just read the Hollinger, you'll see what I'm getting at), and an NBA-ready big in Tyler Zeller. The Dion Waiters pick was, in my opinion a bit of a reach. I know they took the next SG after the Charlotte deal fell through and Beal was off the board, but his summer league performance gave me some doubts. This team is looking forward to a rise in the Central Division, and could be a playoff contender should the pieces fall into place. The team is still young and inexperienced, however, so it would be much better for them to wait another year.

Anyway, Cavs up, Wizards tomorrow, and the team I'm hoping will move to my home state, the Kings, up Wednesday.

Enjoy.

-TomShoe

PROJECTED STARTERS

KYRIE IRVING, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

26.9
4.7
7.3
23.1

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ High-efficiency point guard who can score, facilitate and drive with either hand.
+ Excels at keeping defenders off balance. Good outside shooter and foul shooter.
+ Good athlete, but not freakish. Big for a point guard. Defense needs serious work.

Analysis
I'm still big on the Irving bandwagon. Who wouldn't be after he ranked fifth among point guards in PER as a 19-year-old rookie?

But I'll say this: When they're replacing you with Ramon Sessions for defensive purposes, that might be a sign you have work to do. As good as Irving was on offense, he was a horrifying, flaming train wreck on defense. Synergy rated him the worst defensive player in the league with at least 300 plays defended, opposing point guards ripped him for a 19.0 PER according to 82games.com, and the Cavs gave up 5.0 points per 100 possessions more with him on the court -- even though his usual replacement, Sessions, was himself among the league's most flammable point guards.

Irving is so young and skilled that one presumes he'll make strong progress, especially after jumping into the NBA after just a handful of college games. Too often he just didn't know what to do or where he was supposed to be, and that's all stuff he'll learn.

Meanwhile, he's a breathtaking offensive talent with an airtight handle and deep shooting ability. Irving made 39.9 percent of his triples as a rookie and shot 60.4 percent at the basket, a nice combo that sums up his inside-outside threat. He also shot 87.2 percent from the line, which is amazing for a teenage rookie.

The one concern is that he played more as a scorer than as a passer, ranking only 58th among point guards in assist rate and 59th in pure point rating. Granted, there weren't a lot of options, but to reach superstardom he'll need to be a better distributor and play less as an undersized 2.

With all that said ... if he's this good at 19, I shudder to think what he'll be at 25.

DION WAITERS, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Powerful combo guard who can get to basket and finish. Good handle.
+ May be able to play point. A bit undersized for 2. Average outside shooter.

Analysis
Why should we be so excited about a guy who came off the bench in college and had some attitude questions leaving high school? Well, Waiters essentially has the statistical profile of a mini-Dwyane Wade or a Tyreke Evans. He's a high scorer who can get to the basket and finish -- shooting 53 percent on 2s as a guard is pretty impressive. But he also has unusually strong assist and turnover numbers for a wing player, as well as enormous rate of steals -- the highest of any draft prospect this year, despite Syracuse's heavy use of zone defense -- and the highest blocked-shot rate of any player 6-4 or shorter.

He's not a great shooter, but it's not like he's terrible, either -- he was 73 percent from the line and 36 percent from 3, and he handles well enough that he might be able to play the point. Wings with profiles this strong virtually never fail; while his size and shooting may prevent him from becoming a big star, I think his worst-case scenario is that he's Marcus Thornton.

ALONZO GEE, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

14.2
7.0
2.4
13.0

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Well-built, athletic wing who draws fouls. Mediocre shooter at best.
+ Below average ball skills. Poor decision-maker. Good rebounder.
+ Good strength on defense but average quickness and reactions.

Analysis
A D-League success story, Gee became a full-blown NBA-caliber player last season and took over the starting small forward job, even seeing some action as a defensive stopper. Gee's activity and athleticism are his key skills, as he was sixth among small forwards in free throw rate and ninth in steals.

His forays to the basket aren't always a great idea -- he tends to make his mind up about a 10th of a second into his move and not change it -- and that takes us to his biggest issue, turnovers. Gee had the sixth-worst turnover ratio at his position and landed in the bottom 10 in pure point rating; as a complementary player he can't do that. He also needs to stop the ball less and makes quicker moves.

Gee also still needs work as a shooter. He made 32.1 percent of his 3s and 33.3 percent of his long 2s, which is barely adequate. The free throws were enough to give him respectable numbers overall, but his offensive game still needs a lot of rounding out.

Defensively, he's a solid player who improved with more experience last season. At 6-foot-6 he's a bit short for a 3 and not great laterally, but Gee has good strength and athleticism. Overall he's not a stopper, but he's solid now and will likely get better at this end.

TRISTAN THOMPSON, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

16.0
10.8
0.9
15.5

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Long lefty forward who can finish around basket and hit short hooks.
+ Excellent rebounder with great motor. Poor shooter, especially from line.
+ Limited post game. Gets to basket and draws fouls. Struggles to go up off catch.

Analysis
Thompson's two standout skills as a collegian carried over to his rookie season in the pros: He's a great offensive rebounder and he draws a ton of fouls. Thompson ranked sixth among centers in offensive rebound rate and 15th in free throw rate, although the latter was somewhat diminished by his putrid foul shooting (55.2 percent).

Thompson, however, did little else of significance. His catching skills were a major disappointment -- any time he catches en route to the rim, he has to stop and gather himself before going up, and for that reason he was constantly stripped around the basket. Thompson also needs to improve his post game; he took a third of his shots from 3 to 9 feet but made only 31.7 percent of them. He has some elements to build on here, as he can get his shot off, but the ball needs to go in. As for jump shooting, just forget it dude. Thompson made 11-of-56 from 10 feet and beyond, with form that suggested it was no fluke.

Thompson disappointed in two other areas. First, he had 27 assists the entire season and had one of the worst assist rates in basketball -- you'd like him to show a bit more feel than that. Of greater concern, his defensive rebound rate was among the worst at his position; this was supposed to be a strength of his.

Defensively Thompson took the usual rookie lumps but wasn't bad in the big picture. He blocked shots at a decent rate and unlike many rookies he wasn't particularly foul prone, even though he often played center rather than his natural power forward spot. He'll hold his own at this end; the concern is how well his offense will come around.

ANDERSON VAREJAO, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

12.5
13.7
2.3
17.2

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Mop-topped, high-energy big man who excels in pick-and-roll defense.
+ Injuries a worry. Can handle ball but a poor shooter. Rebounds well.
+ Lacks post game. Moves well without ball and finishes. Pesky post defender.

Analysis
Statistically Varejao was as good as ever before an injury prematurely ended his season, but I'm a little concerned that he may have lost a step defensively. While he did a lot of the usual freaky Varejao things (in a game against Phoenix, for instance, he forced a five-second count on an inbound pass by denying Steve Nash; find me another center who does that), there were too many games where middling opposing bigs had their way with him. For the year opposing centers had a 19.6 PER at his expense according to 82games.com, and Synergy rated him below the league average. It's a small sample, given the injury, but it bears watching going forward.

Varejao rebounded like crazy, however, ranking in the top five among centers in both offensive and defensive rebound rate and finishing fourth in the league overall. He also got more involved offensively, setting a career high in points per minute despite taking nearly all his shots in the basket area.

Varejao's injuries also are getting worrisome; 2011-12 was his third half-season in five years. He turned 30 before training camp, and one wonders if his frenetic style is taking a toll.


RESERVES

OMRI CASSPI, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

14.1
6.9
2.1
11.7

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Speedy combo forward who can run floor. Skinny but likes to bang.
+ Inconsistent shooter with unusual, low release on jumper. Subpar handle.
+ Lacks strength for 4. No post game at all. Good rebounder for perimeter player.

Analysis
Casspi struggled all season as a full-time 3 and eventually lost his starting job, as he just doesn't shoot consistently enough to provide a floor-spacing threat as a wing. Casspi shot just 31.5 percent on 3s and 33.9 percent on long 2s; with more than half his shots coming from the perimeter, this just wasn't good enough. He has a line-drive, low release shot and tends to fall back while he shoots it, and he's not a good foul shooter either (67.6 percent career).

Where Casspi excels is when he can run the floor and score in transition, or get the ball on the move going to the rim. He lacks a great handle but he's long and fast and draws a decent number of fouls. However, he struggles to create his own shot and had a high turnover rate for a low-volume shooter. Sum it up and he was below-average at just about every aspect of offense, but not truly awful at anything. Developing a post game to take advantage of his size might help.

Casspi's strongest area is rebounding, where he ranked in the top third of small forwards. He's not bad defensively either; he's aggressive and fouls too much, but he held opposing small forwards to a 13.1 PER last season according to 82games.com.

Nonetheless, he has to make more shots to be more than a deep rotation player. He's competent in several areas, but has yet to do anything well enough to establish a real niche as a player.

DANIEL GIBSON, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

11.8
4.3
3.5
9.6

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ A 2 in a 1's body. Fairly quick and a good outside shooter off the catch.
+ Horrid finisher at basket and struggles to connect on jumpers off dribble.
+ Size a negative on defense, especially as a 2. Tough and competes.

Analysis
Gibson followed up his best season with his worst, as his play fell off a cliff last season in several categories and rendered him pretty much unplayable. Gibson shot 29.4 percent on 2-pointers last season; let that marinate and sink in for a minute. That was the second-worst mark in basketball of any player to play at least 500 minutes, with only the mummified Mike Bibby faring worse. Included in this was a 12-of-63 performance on jumpers from beyond ten feet, which is amazing given Gibson's alleged specialty of shooting.
Worst 2-point shooting percentage, 2011-12

Player
Team
2-pt FG%

Mike Bibby
NY
20.5

Daniel Gibson
Cle
29.4

DeShawn Stevenson
NJ
29.6

James Jones
Mia
30.6

Chauncey Billups
LAC
34.0

Min. 500 minutes

While Gibson shot well on 3s (39.6 percent) and took more than half his shots from downtown, he was so unbelievably bad inside the arc that it still dragged him down to a bottom-10 TS% among shooting guards. And as a floor-spacing, low-volume sniper, his TS% is his entire reason for being on the floor. Gibson also saw a hike in his turnover rate, which was odd because he was playing almost entirely off the ball. It's not clear why his offensive game melted down so much, but if it doesn't come back he's worthless.

Defensively, at least, Gibson retains some value. He's a tweener, but he competes and he's pretty good against point guards in particular; with Kyrie Irving's size that give them some opportunities to cross-match. The Cavs gave up 3.3 points per 100 possessions less with Gibson on the floor, and his other data was solid as well -- including a surprisingly robust rebound rate for a 6-2 shooting guard.

C.J. MILES, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

17.5
4.3
2.5
12.4

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Smooth, long, left-handed wing who can attack basket. Scorer's mentality.
+ Decent athlete with length to play solid defense. Fouls too often.
+ Takes too many long 2s off dribble. Shot selection, court vision need work.

Analysis
Miles disappointed after seeming to break out a year earlier, as he was plagued by poor decisions on both ends. Offensively, Miles was a high-usage, low-efficiency guy, plagued by a zest for long jumpers and an inability to make them. He shot 29.9 percent on 3s, 28.6 percent on long 2s, and 29.0 percent from 3-to-9 feet. Despite a smooth-looking stroke he apparently stinks at shooting 3s and needs to tone it down; he's now at 32.9 percent for his career but has taken more than a third of his shots from out there.

He's much better at the cup. Miles shot 61.9 percent at the rim and had a high free throw rate, but with only a quarter of his shots coming from there it didn't matter.

Meanwhile, his rebound rate mysteriously dissolved -- only three small forwards fared worse -- and his defense failed to make up for his shooting woes. Miles had the sixth-highest foul rate at his position, just like he does every year, but has failed to translate that aggression into meaningful results. He's not a bad defender, but he's nobody's idea of a stopper and makes some crazy decisions going for blocks that he has no chance of getting.

TYLER ZELLER, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Mobile, efficient 7-footer who runs floor well and has soft touch out to 18 feet.
+ Could use more strength. Lacks a single standout skill. Makes free throws.

Analysis
It's nice to have a 7-footer who shoots 81 percent from the line, and Zeller will likely be efficient enough to have a solid career as a backup 5. Whether he can be anything more than that is an open question. He's old for a rookie, turning 23 in January, and he didn't have any real standout numbers in college other than his shooting efficiency.

That's the reason he fell in the draft -- other centers like Meyers Leonard and Andre Drummond weren't as good in college but offered a lot more upside. The benefit for Cleveland is that Zeller can play immediately as a backup 5, and his ability to run should mesh well with their preferred playing style.

JON LEUER, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.8
8.4
2.0
14.9

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Long pick-and-pop threat who can also finish at rim. Rarely turns it over.
+ Capable finisher but doesn't draw fouls. Very poor rebounder for size.
+ Must add strength. Competes on defense but fouls too much.

Analysis
Leuer had an awfully productive rookie season for a guy who was included as a throw-in and then summarily waived. Despite no apparent rhyme or reason to his appearances in Milwaukee, where he was an occasional starter and occasional 12th man, Leuer was one of the league's most productive rookies. He scored at a very solid clip for a secondary player (15.1 points per 40 minutes) and made 41.9 percent of his long 2s.

Leuer also converted a surprising 73.3 percent in the basket area, and had the sixth-lowest turnover rate at his position. However, the other metrics weren't as inspiring -- he was 50th in rebound rate, had the 10th highest foul rate, and never got to the line.

The worst part, however, is what those numbers portend. High-efficiency rookies like Leuer tend to regress in their second season, especially when it's built on 2-point shooting percentage, as much of the time that efficiency turns out to be an outlier. You can ask Patrick Patterson or Ed Davis if you don't believe me.

Nonetheless, even if Leuer regresses this season he's still likely to be a useful player, and one that Cleveland snagged very cheaply after two other clubs cast him aside.

SAMARDO SAMUELS, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

14.6
9.1
1.0
11.8

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Brutish power forward who can get deep post position and make short hooks.
+ Game is all power. Lacks elevation and athleticism. Left hand needs work.
+ Solid, physical defender who defends post. Fouls like crazy. Awful ball handler.

Analysis
After two years as a rotation player, the only fair conclusion about Samuels is that he's not quite good enough to be a rotation player. Samuels has one elite skill: an ability to draw fouls around the basket. Last season he was fifth among power forwards in free throw rate and made a respectable 70.1 percent from the stripe.

But he was below average in every other metric. All of them. Not dramatically so in most cases, but consistently below the norm for his position at everything. His ballhandling skill, or lack thereof, merits special mention however: Samuels had the second-worst pure point rating among power forwards last season and one of the worst in basketball (see Timofey Mozgov comment).

Samuels lacks great mobility on defense and responds with over physicality. He was fourth among power forwards in foul rate, but if you allow for that he was effective defensively. Cleveland gave up a whopping 10.2 points per 100 possessions less with him on the court, which sounds awesome until you remember he usually replaced Antawn Jamison, but Synergy's stats graded him well and his opponent PERs were respectable. That and the free throws make him a nice fifth big man, but that seems to be the limit.

LUKE HARANGODY, F

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Undersized, powerfully built forward who can rebound. Doesn't draw fouls.
+ Likes line-drive outside jumper. Has low release point. Poor finisher.
+ Strong, but an awful defender who can't move or jump. Can't create own shot.

Analysis
Harangody played 21 games late season and shot 35.4 percent; somehow, the Cavs gave him a qualifying offer anyway. He's trying to establish himself as a floor-spacing big man, which would work better if he could shoot -- he's at 24.1 percent on 3s for his career and 35.4 percent overall.

Harangody did play 16 games in the D-League and shot more respectably at that level, hitting 41.3 percent of his 3s, but even with his jumper finding the net more regularly he wasn't a notably effective player overall. Between his defensive limitations and his non-functioning pick-and-pop game, it's hard to see him sticking in the league for long.

JEREMY PARGO, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Erratic point guard with scorer's mindset. Struggles as a secondary role player.
+ Poor outside shooter. Lack of size makes him defensive liability. Turnover-prone.

Analysis
A periodic contributor to Memphis' rotating disaster at backup point guard, Pargo had solid translated European stats but shot bricks with the Grizzlies, making 33.3 percent. Given that they brought him in as a scorer, that was a wee bit of a problem.

Pargo had other issues too, like a phenomenally high turnover rate and an inability to draw fouls, but the crux of the issue was that he couldn't shoot. As a finisher, he was solid, making 60.7 percent at the rim, but outside the restricted area he shot an unfathomably bad 24-of-102. That figure includes 3s, but he was actually even worse on the 2s.

Given his limited burn one must assume Pargo isn't quite this bad, but he'd have to be considerably better just to merit consideration for playing time. Also, he permitted an 18.9 opponent PER according to 82games.com, among other generally unimpressive defensive stats, and will have to improve that area as well. All told, he has an uphill battle to regain the minutes bestowed on him in 2011-12.

KELENNA AZUBUIKE, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Scoring-minded wing who has hardly played since serious 2009 knee injury.
+ At peak, a capable finisher who can also make 3s. Middling at best defensively.

Analysis
Azubuike played 18 minutes for Dallas last season, and in a burst of optimism the Mavs also guaranteed his contract for this season. He's since been shipped off to Cleveland, where he's likely to serve as cap ballast. He's only 28 but basically he hasn't played in three years, and at this point it would be an upset if he makes the roster, let alone earns meaningful playing time.

DONALD SLOAN, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

11.3
4.0
6.2
9.8

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Pass-first point guard with good size. Midrange shooter but never makes 3s.
+ Low-energy defender who struggles to stay in front of quick guards.

Analysis
Sloan played extremely well in nine D-League games for Reno, but couldn't back it up at the NBA level for Atlanta, New Orleans and, mostly, Cleveland. Of particular concern is his inability to space the floor, as he made just two 3-pointers at the NBA level in 25 tries. Sloan shot better on long 2s (37.3 percent), but even this was short of where he needs to be.

Defensively, Sloan was a turnstile and needs to get better. Opposing point guards had a 21.3 PER against him according to 82games.com, his Synergy rating was among the league's worst, and the Cavs gave up 8.3 points per 100 possessions more with him on the court. Sloan also had the second-worst steals rate among point guards.

Sloan's passing was his best asset, averaging 6.3 assists per 40 minutes, but his turnover rate was too high -- a common malady for rookies. The major concerns, however, are that he doesn't space the floor and doesn't defend. Those two weaknesses likely consign his career to 10-day increments going forward.

LUKE WALTON, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Combo forward with great court vision but serious back problems.
+ Can't move anymore. At all. Painful to watch last season.
+ Handles ball well but an average outside shooter.

Analysis
Cleveland played Walton regularly after acquiring him from the Lakers, and it could not have been a more transparent tanking strategy. The guy can't move anymore and one suspects he'll be waived or bought out at some point this season by the rebuilding Cavs. I'm reluctant to hammer the guy -- he got out there and played when he could have just cashed checks -- but his past two seasons have been far below the standard of a roster spot, let alone a rotation player.


frogman
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Am i misreading this or does

Am i misreading this or does he think Kyrie Irving will be putting up 27 ppg? He will be challenging for the scoring title with that kind of output. I think he is over-estimating every single players ability to score the ball by the look of these numbers.

jmarg25
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These are all for per 40

These are all for per 40 minutes.

Lebron's Hairline
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OMG will people stop trying

OMG will people stop trying to compare waiters and DWade in any way they can? @frogman I think Irving has the talent to score that high but do you really want your point guard scoring that much? He's not estimating its all based off of per 40 min averages, not to say that they will of given 40 min

A Lil English
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Stats

You are not reading well at all - it says "Stats are per 40 minutes" underneath every player that played 500+ minutes last year

diddlebunk
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TomShoe is the MAN... a

TomShoe is the MAN... a total ace & a gem to boot.

Thank you again, GoodSir!

cornegg
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Azbuike and Walton

Will be waived

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