Wednesday, October 31, 2012
10/31/2012 02:28:00 PM | Posted by Quentin Haynes | Edit Post
Basketball is back! While people prepared to watch Miami and Boston on TNT, The Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards took center-stage. The result was Cleveland defeating Washington in a 94-84 final, and I must say both teams looked decent. Cleveland was active on the boards, and when they needed him most, Kyrie Irving stepped up. Washington on the other hand, looked very poor on the offensive end without John Wall, but the passing from the Wizards was very crisp. Once Washington gets healthy, I envision this to be a decent rivalry. For now, here's six key things I noticed in the Wizards-Cavs game.
Without John Wall and Nene, this Wizards team is something terrible. Outside of Emeka Okafor (10 points, 7 rebounds, 4-10 shooting last night), this team is full of young players and misfits. Wall's replacement, A.J. Price, went 2-13 from the field, and Trevor Ariza went 3-8. Jordan Crawford, who was expected to take a large chunk of the offensive load, scored 11 points on 4-13 shooting. The Wizards are an average team without Wall, but remove Nene and Wall, and you have a pretty terrible team.
Andy Verejao: The Toughest Player To Trade
For the past two seasons, Anderson Verejao has been considered a trade chip. Last night, I think I finally saw why Cleveland is so bearish on moving him: He impacts the game without scoring. Against the Wizards, Vereajo had 9 points, 9 assists, and 23 rebounds (11 of the rebounds? Offensive). With younger guys next to him, Verejao has the ability to adapt to a raw scorer like Tristan Thompson, as well as being more defensive next to an offensive player like Tyler Zeller. While Cleveland will potentially field calls for Verejao, games like last night will continue to make it tough for the Cavaliers to move him, even in this youth movement.
Dion Waiters vs Bradley Beal
The third and fourth overall picks in the 2012 NBA draft went at it, and it was clearly one-sided. Waiters (17 points, 6-14 shooting, 2 rebounds, 2 assists) looked solid. At times, he seemed too focus to shoot the ball, but with some nice plays on the defensive end, as well as deferring to Irving late, Waiters gets it. Beal on the other hand, had some struggles. Beal went 8 points on 2-8 shooting, with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Beal's shot wasn't falling, and his backcourt mates were Crawford or Price, who combined for 26 shots. In the longterm, I think Beal will be better than Waiters, but for tonight, Waiters got the upper hand.
Kyrie Irving Is Good On Offense
Late in the fourth quarter, Irving took over. Finishing with 29 points on 11-20 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, Irving made some dazzling moves to get some offense going. The offense is there for Irving, but the defense still scares. At times last night, Irving looked lazy and completely lost on the defensive end. As Irving takes a step up from a rookie to sophomore, the defense was expected to be improved, but for the first game of the season, the defense looked concerning.
Washington's Front Court Depth
Washington has a boatload of the front-court players. Okafor, Vesely, Booker, Singleton, and Earl Barron all played last night, and Kevin Seraphin and Nene didn't play last night either. The Wizards could use some help in the backcourt, so I would advise a trade of one or two of these guys to get some depth in the backcourt. For now, the Wizards are stocked with young frontcourt players, and so far, the results haven't been pretty.
I Love Tristan Thompson
This is my guy. Tristan Thompson had some good moments last night, finishing with 12 points on 5-8 shooting, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. Thompson looked great on defense, and was very active on the boards. The offense? Still a work in progress. Before Thompson got three dunks in a row in the fourth quarter, he went without a shot attempt for almost 11 minutes. In the offseason, Thompson was pegged as a role player, but I see much more than that. I think Thompson will be an effective starter for Cleveland moving forward.
Next Game: Cleveland vs Chicago (Nov. 2nd); Washington vs Boston (Nov. 3rd)