The Cavaliers kick off their potential Las Vegas Summer League Championship run today against the NBA Finalist San Antonio Spurs. I don't know about you, but I DEFINITELY think the LVSL title is more important than getting to the Finals. It shows such promise and potential for the future. I mean, have you SEEN how old the Spurs are????
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (2-1) vs. San Antonio Spurs (2-1)
When? 4:00 PM Eastern
Where? Cox Pavilion -- Las Vegas, NV
Where on my eyeballs? NBATV / Summer League Pass
Tickets? If you fly out to Vegas in the next couple hours, I'm sure you can find them.
Enemy/brother blog? Pounding the Rock
Wiz Khalifa - Work Hard Play Hard [Music Video] ... (via dmvdewteam)
How have the Cavaliers performed so far? Umm, I think the less that is said about the Cavaliers' first three games, the better. The first two were among the worst basketball games ever competitively played, and then of course they lost to the Pelicans. Dion Waiters has shot 29% from the field, even though he hasn't been as terrible as that number seems. On the plus side, Tyler Zeller is averaging 13.7 points and 9.7 rebounds, Jermaine Taylor has had two great games off the bench, and Carrick Felix's hustle has proved invaluable.
Why has Waiters performed so "poorly" statistically so far? Basically, he just hasn't been able to finish at the rim. Its a mild concern because he struggled with this last season, but Waiters also doesn't have has game legs yet so it's not surprising. If this continues into the season, then we can think of it as a cause for concern. But right now, just be happy that he's not in game shape yet and he's still getting to the rim at will against whoever he faces off with.
What do the Spurs have going for them? Well, Deshaun Thomas has played really well for the Spurs, and he's in the top-10 in LVSL scoring. This setting is pretty much perfect for him, so I don't think we can really look at this as indicative of future possibilities. Cory Joseph has been pretty good setting the table for the Spurs offense, averaging 13.7 points and 5 assists per game, and the big Aussie Aron Baynes is averaging a double-double at 11.7 points and 10.7 rebounds.
Key Matchup? I'm actually kind of looking forward to seeing Thomas vs. Felix, as I assume that's the matchup the Cavaliers will employ. Felix's energy, athleticism and toughness potentially present problems for the all-around offensive game of Thomas. Felix is definitely an NBA-level defender, so Thomas will receive a real test. Whoever gets the better of that matchup probably wins the game.
Any fun, random players on the Spurs roster? Actually, not really. Durand Scott was Kenny Kadji's teammate at Miami and he can potentially have an excellent career making a lot of money in Europe. Amath M'Baye is an athletic forward out of Oklahoma. Dexter Pittman is one of about 45 people who have been traded for "the rights to Ricky Sanchez" in his career.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
Because my only clear rule for picking summer league winners is which team has the more fun random, undrafted players, the Cavaliers are my pick. The Aussie battle of Matthew Dellavedova versus Baynes will obviously garner the headlines, and I know the battle of high-scoring, high-usage bench guards in Taylor and Denmon will rivet everyone involved. But overall, the power of Josh Heytvelt, Kadji, and Justin Harper will prove too powerful for the Spurs to overcome.
Cavaliers win 71-64. Game MVP Dion Waiters, who goes 5-17 from the field to score 21 points after Baynes nearly decapitates him on six different fouls at the rim.