Your first Cavalier mailbag! You're probably asking yourself, "What have I gotten myself into with this?" To be fair, I'm asking that same question myself. So what I'm going to do here is list out what's going to happen when I write this every week.
1. First and foremost, I don't want to get fired. I'm willing to answer a whole lot of random things, from old drinking stories to what I think about television right now to how awesome the rapper Future is. However, I won't answer things that will get me fired.
2. This is meant to be a fun look at the Cavs mostly, but we'll try to provide some insight here and there. What we think about what happened this past week with the team, how a player seems to be coexisting, that kind of stuff.
3. Mostly though, the goal here is just to entertain and give you something to look at instead of the work in your cubicle. So the more fun questions that you guys ask, the easier that job will be for me.
4. Please don't get me fired.
So with that out of the way, let's get to the first question!
With the growth Tristan Thompson showed from his first year to his second year and the growth we've seen this preseason, do you think think he could make an all-star team in the next couple of years?
That's actually an interesting question just looking at the depth of the Eastern Conference, as there isn't particularly a young power forward that seems ready to take the reins from the older group such as Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, David West, and Carlos Boozer. Outside of Thompson, the only guys I'm coming up with (before the East gets flooded with guys like Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, and Aaron Gordon next season after the teams all tank) are Thaddeus Young and Greg Monroe, who both could easily be playing elsewhere by the middle of this season. However, there are a ton of young, already All-Star worthy centers who probably end up siphoning spots away from Tristan like Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, and Al Horford, plus young guys like Andre Drummond and Jonas Valanciunas who may or may not hit that level.
Given what we've seen from him recently Thompson still has quite a bit of untapped potential, but I just would be very surprised if he leapfrogs several of these players in order to make a team. It wouldn't surprise me, but I'd put the odds somewhere around 20-25% based upon what we know right now.
What are the chances Karasev ends up getting more minutes than Gee and Clark at the 3 by the end of the year?
Based on what the team has said it looks like he's mostly going to be playing two this year, but I think he's a much better fit for the offense playing the 3 with his ability to shoot the ball. I'm just not sure he's strong or long enough to guard 3s yet because you either have to be strong at 6'7" or have great length, and he doesn't really have either of those things. Given what we know about Mike Brown, I'm not sure he's going to want a small forward that doesn't defend well.
He seems to be a fast learner (coach's son) and he definitely has the basketball sense to make a quick transition, he just might not be physically there yet. So I'd go only like 20% or so again.
If Anthony Bennett has many highlight dunks, and dunks his way to the MVP in the Rising Stars Challenge, would he be a top 30 player going into next season?
- Kendaru Geter
If the Rising Stars Challenge has any effect on the way to the way we evaluate basketball then we have completely failed as a basketball watching community. Other similar analogies:
-Basing the best actors and actresses in the world based upon who wins the Kids' Choice Awards.
-Neilsen basing their television ratings based off of tweets.
-Basing the best major league baseball fielders on their hitting (wait, that still happens with the Gold Gloves. Scratch that one).
So no. I do not think that Anthony Bennett doing anything in that game would matter at all, even though I would expect him to perform well in that setting.
With Tristan Thompson likely to get some center minutes due to the lack of depth in the middle, and the Cavs likely wanting to experiment with playing Kyrie, Dion, and Jack at the same time, how much small-ball do you think we'll see this season, and how effective do you think it will be? I'll hang up and listen.
-Trevor Magnotti, Right Down Euclid
I'm actually not sure how much he's going to play center now. It'll pretty much depend on Andrew Bynum and Tyler Zeller's health. If those guys struggle a little bit to stay healthy -- we really have no reason to think that Zeller won't -- I would be surprised if we saw it too often. However, I'd absolutely love to see it happen more often as I'm a huge believer in small-ball being fun. If the Cavs played a lineup like Irving-Jack-Waiters-Bennett-Thompson, I would probably be ecstatic and not even care about how badly they'd get torched on defense. As with most small-ball looks, I think something like that can be effective in small doses, but ultimately be rough in the long run.
Also, everyone should go check out Right Down Euclid where Trevor writes. Fun website that writes about the Cavs.
Hey fellas. Curious what you make of Jermaine Taylor's performance in preseason. Do you feel he would be a formidable back up G behind Jack and Kyrie? seems more slasher than facilitator but I'm more pleased from what I've seen from him than Dellavedova.
I love Jermaine Taylor. I know Conrad loves Jermaine Taylor. Everyone should love Jermaine Taylor. He's such a fun athlete to watch both in-person and on television that you can't help but notice him when he's on the floor. Seriously, LOOK WHERE HIS HAND PRINT IS AFTER HE SLAPPED THE BACKBOARD IN SUMMER LEAGUE:
See the smudge above the square? That's where Jermaine Taylor just put his hand. pic.twitter.com/34RgfODxIR— Conrad Kaczmarek (@ConradKazNBA) July 15, 2013
I'm just not sure there is enough room for him on the team. Speaking of which...
Who are your picks to survive the final cuts? Delly seems like a lock, at least by looking at the way Coach Brown has been talking about him. I liked Jermaine Taylor, but retaining another guard is redundant and counterproductive. Henry Sims has been great, and I like his chances to be the final frontcourt guy to make it.
I'd go with Dellevadova and Sims right now. Given Jack's injury, Delly seems like a lock. I wrote about him today, meaning I won't go too far into what I've seen from him.
As far as Sims is concerned, he's been the best of the non-roster invites so far. Plus he comes at a position that may or may not be of need depending on what the team gets out of Bynum. I'd love to say that Taylor should make this team because he's great, but in reality I just would be surprised if the team found room for him. Hope he decides to ply his trade in Canton, along with Elliot Williams. My uninformed opinion based on no outside knowledge is that Kenny Kadji goes to France and plays professionally after receiving a lucrative deal. His game is tailor made for European ball, and he may be able to get around any designated player rules in France by claiming citizenship.
What is Scoop Jardine up to?
-Robby Kalland, Hawks.com
I wish I had enough willpower to ignore this, but I don't. After having a Hard-ine time making an NBA roster, Scoop is headed to hoop in Croatia. While there, I hope Scoop brought plenty of Fruit Loops, old Snoop Dogg, and plenty of Chicken Soup.
Okay now I'm done. I'm pretty sure the whole reason Robby got hired at Hawks.com is because of the Scoop Jardine puns, so you should all read his work there.
What's more annoying? Uninformed 2014 Free Agency talk or soggy balls?
Definitely uninformed free agency talk. Just wait until Rudy Gay speculation heats up!
What kind of contract can Kyrie Irving's facemask from last season expect to get in free agency next offseason?
I'd say the face mask is easily worth a solid 2.3 Diops on the open market next offseason. However, I am going to take this moment to explain Kyrie and the Rose Rule. Ever since Paul George got the extension that he did, the obvious next question has been what are the odds Kyrie gets the Rose Rule extension, which is essentially an extra $10 million added onto a max contract. I'm going to guess the odds are pretty low as of right now.
To qualify for the Rose Rule, Kyrie would have to do one of these three things: start two All-Star games, make two All-NBA teams, or win MVP. We can throw #3 out right away while LeBron and Kevin Durant still have a pulse for the next two seasons. Also, we can probably throw out #1. Derrick Rose returning at anything nearing his old self (and from the preseason it looks like he has) will guarantee his spot in that lineup. Rose not only carries the much larger Chicago market, but he also has the backing of China with him because of his shoe deal. He literally just visited China at the beginning of September on a tour for the D-Rose shoes. Given that starting All-Star games is not a meritocracy, I'm going to assume this one is unattainable for Kyrie.
That leaves us with #2. Making two consecutive All-NBA teams is going to be difficult for Kyrie, given the climate of point guards/guards he has been placed into. He would essentially have to be better than at least 5 of these guys with an average team backing: Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Rajon Rondo (next season), Deron Williams, James Harden, Kobe Bryant, Paul George (potentially flipping back to guard this year), Dwyane Wade. And then he'd have to do that for two consecutive seasons. Given that he still hasn't been healthy for a full season yet, I'm going to say the odds of him reaching the Rose Rule and being eligible for a 5 year, $90 million deal are around 30%. Definitely attainable, but it's going to be a rough road.
Here's a question: explain why you mixed Admiral Nelson with chocolate milk that one time?
Every week at the end of the mailbag, I'll try to end with something lighter and most likely embarrassing about myself. And believe me when I say that the twitter handle known as 2Tiez is the most likely person to get me fired from this job.
The events of this story occurred about a year ago, right after I started graduate school -- which means I was much older than I should be willing to admit. I decided to take a trip to Columbus and visit friends during a more relaxed weekend of homework. I normally stay at 2Tiez' house while I'm there because I don't appreciate my body at all and am willing to put it through two nights/mornings of liver damage/death. At one one point, we decided to go to one of his friend's house before going out in downtown Columbus. We happened to bring a half-finished bottle of Admiral Nelson with us.
(For those unfamiliar with the Admiral, Urban Dictionary gives a very good description here. It's essentially your knock-off Captain Morgan, except way cheaper.)
While there, we see that the only thing they have to mix drinks with is chocolate milk. Already being heavily inebriated to prepare for the night out, I decided to pour a full mixed drink of chocolate milk and Admiral. But then a funny thing happened: in my state of intoxication I not only barely tasted the alcohol, but also thought it was pretty tasty. So I decided to pour another. And another.
Without giving too many details on the dreadful beer pong games I played or what I imagine was atrocious game attempting to be spit on girls, the milk finally hit my stomach, which led to me going outside and immediately throwing up in the back yard. And for those that have thrown up chocolate milk before -- or, you know, seen what it looks like -- you know that it was not pretty. While this event did not stop me from going out later that night to a heavenly Columbus attraction called 'Gaswerks' (a place of copious levels of dollar Jaegerbombs), it did end up teaching a life lesson that will never be forgotten:
Do not mix spiced rum and chocolate milk. You will vomit. I promise. It will happen. And it will be gross.
If you've made it this far, I assume that means you either want to see another one of these or that you want to reach the comments to yell angry expletives at me for wasting your time. You can do that, along with hopefully asking more embarrassing and potentially insightful questions into my life or the Cavaliers, by emailing me at mailbagFTS@gmail.com. I read them all, I promise. You can also tweet me questions at my twitter handle, @Sam_Vecenie. Hopefully I'll be back for more next Thursday.