Whew, it's been way too long without Cavaliers basketball. Thankfully, it's finally back. The Cavs take on the Charlotte Bobcats tonight in Las Vegas and although they'll be without Kyrie Irving, it should still be a lot of fun. This is our first chance to see Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller in action. Similarly, we'll get a chance to see Tristan Thompson after an offseason of improvement (or so we hope).
Cleveland Cavaliers (0-0) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (1-0)
We're all understandably disappointed with the news that Kyrie will be out for some time with a fractured right hand, but there's still plenty of reasons to be excited about this Summer League team. This past June the Cavs made two big splashes at the NBA Draft by selecting Dion Waiters 4th overall and trading up to grab Tyler Zeller at 17th overall. Tonight, they'll make their professional debuts.
On the other side of the ball, the Bobcats trot out two exciting rookies in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor. Both guys were impressive in their first Summer League game. MKG constantly attacked the rim and penetrated at will. The Cavs are pretty weak at the wing positions, so it will be interesting to see how they managed to stop Charlotte's best prospects.
With Kyrie's injury, we are robbed of an exciting matchup between Irving and Kemba Walker. Instead, we'll get to watch Donald Sloan try to prove himself as a viable backup point guard.
Ultimately, this is just the beginning. No matter what happens, it's important to remember not to overreact. Waiters and Zeller could look like superstars and it wouldn't mean a whole lot. Similarly, they could look like hot garbage -- and that wouldn't matter either. It's the first Summer League game of their careers and they'll have plenty of chances to work out the kinks.
What To Watch For:
I want to see Tristan Thompson be aggressive. He could very well be the best player on the court tonight -- I want him to believe that he is. He'll have an interesting matchup in Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens.
I want Waiters and Zeller to take it one play at a time. Don't try to do too much and don't dwell on plays in the past. If you screw up, move on. If you make a ridiculous layup, go back and play defense to get another possession.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
I'll say the Cavaliers win this one, 82-70. Tristan Thompson has himself a nice night with 18 points and 11 rebounds.