In cased you missed it, there was recently a fairly decent debate on which players are the most exciting to watch. It all started when someone admitted they didn't find watching Stephen Curry enjoyable. That's fair to say and neither right nor wrong.
As I sat back and read the debate points on what makes him exciting and whatnot, people started to chime in on which players they enjoyed watching the most. It was a lot of the same players, but it was interesting to see which people found which players the most exciting to watch.
I decided to chime in on this.
My 10 favorite players to watch: Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving Ky
— Jack Zink (@jackson_zink) November 12, 2015
Immediately after I typed this tweet, I did what I normally do when I remember I haven't watched him play basketball in almost five months: I went to YouTube and watched his highlights.
I knew Irving was going to be out for quite some time, which meant that Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavedova would be playing more minutes than they normally would. I wasn't concerned with the former, but the latter -- man, I wasn't sure. The last we saw of Dellavedova was him playing way too many minutes against the most valuable player in the league and, outside of one game, not providing much of anything except a few hustle plays.
So far this season, he's been way better than expected. Most fans would be lying if they said they expected this from him, myself included. Even when Williams has missed games, Dellavedova hasn't missed a beat when his minutes have increased. Dellavedova has essentially turned himself into a quality role player, something that very few would have expected a year or so ago.
There's still no timetable for when Irving will return, which means more YouTube highlights to watch until he is back on the court. And as we wait for his return, we now know that the Cavs have not just one player that can fill in for Irving, but two guys that can make up for Irving's absence this early in the season
With that, welcome to This Week in Small Sample Sizes.
Matthew Dellavedova: "true" point guard
The number: 5.25 assist-to-turnover in the last three games
Small sample size says: "Maybe we should move Kyrie Irving to the bench when he comes back?"
Let's get one thing straight: Irving will be in the starting lineup when he comes back no matter how well Dellavedova. And even when Williams comes back he'll be inserted back into the starting lineup until Irving is healthy.
With that out of the way, how good has Dellavedova been this year? I wrote about him before the season started on how he would excel in a 12-to-15 minute per night role, but he's exceeded that number and has still played better than most expected. He's now a legitimate ball-handler and can actually hit shots inside of the three-point line this year, making 48.9 percent of his two-pointers (compared to 30.2 percent last year).
His defense and ability to limit turnovers have always been his niche as a player, and the latter has been his biggest strength this year. The numbers have been impressive over the last few games, but he currently ranks second in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio for the entire season, and it's a major reason that Cavs' coach David Blatt has no problem playing him the amount of minutes he does when the Cavs are fully healthy.
Between him and Tristan Thompson, they have turned the Cavs' bench into a strength, and have made it legitimately better than it was a year ago. Maybe those plus-minus numbers for Dellavedova aren't so fluky after all?
Sustainability: Somewhat High
The ball movement is on point
The number: 69.1 assist percent in the last two games
Small sample size says: "This is the type of offense we've been waiting to see!"
As soon as everything came together two summers ago, the one thing that most fans (and experts) were excited to see with this Cavs team was the offense. Possessing the two of the best passing forwards in the league to go with a young point guard had all the signs of how lethal this offense could be.
It took some time (and a few trades) to maximize the potential of this offense and they were one of the top offenses in the league over the final three months of the regular season.
Yet for as good as the offense was then, they still never displayed a ball movement seminar similar to the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs. Part of that was Kevin Love never getting in his right spots and part of that was due to Kyrie Irving being one, if not the best player in isolation.
This year, however, the ball has moved at an incredible rate that wasn't seen as much a year ago. Never has the extra pass been more exemplified in Cleveland than the last two games.
The biggest question mark concerning Irving and his return is how he'll fit into the offense, and whether this type of flow can continue. What makes me confidence that there will be little worry is strictly due to Love and his comfortability within the offense. He lacked that last year, and with LeBron James letting him work in his space, Love's offensive game has already looked better than it did last year.
What's helped Love get into his flow has been James playing off the ball. Similar to how James has adopted off the ball this year, it's hard to see Irving not being able to adapt in a similar way.
Lineup alert: the "re-modified" Death Star -- Delly-Mo-LeBron-Love-TT
The number: 71.5 net rating in 32 minutes played together
Small sample size says: "See, I TOLD you we don't need Kyrie Irving!"
Again, let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's OK to bask in the Dellavedova glory, but let's not forget about this:
Anyways, this lineup has the best five-man net rating in the league, ahead of the Warriors small-ball buzzsaw that has taken the league by storm. And if you think for one second that this stat has any sort of meaning, you officially have a case of the disease of small sample sizes.