The Cleveland Cavaliers announced their final two roster spots, selecting Matthew Dellavedova and Henry Sims to fill the last openings on the 15-man roster for the 2013-14 season. Players let go were DeSagana Diop, Kenny Kadji, Jermaine Taylor, and Elliot Williams.
It was obvious one of these last spots was reserved for a big man, due to the uncertainty the Cavaliers front court poses. This spot largely fell between Sims and Kadji, with Sims winning for what seemed to be his rebounding ability; he averaged about 6 and 6 this preseason. Kadji showed his potential, but his inconsistent shooting and lack of rebounding kept him off the roster.
The other spot was arguably between Dellavedova and Taylor. I can understand the Cavaliers going to Dellavedova, the former mid-major star. With Kyrie’s history of injuries and Jarrett Jack being the only other “real” point on the team (Dion Waiters has played point in the past; Jack is a combo guard), Matthew Dellavedova is smart and tough enough to provide a capable leader off the bench.
I hated passing up on the prospect of Jermaine Taylor. He is a high-flying shooting guard, who can do just about everything except consistently hit jump shots. So while I think Taylor has a lot of upside, I believe Dellavedova fit the need of the team better.
With the final roster intact, it is time to look ahead to the 2013-14 NBA season, which tips of for the Cavaliers in Cleveland October 30th against the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets arguably have the best starting five in the league this year with new additions Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and are looking to contend with the Heat for the Eastern Conference.
This doesn’t mean the Cavaliers won’t compete with the best in the East. This opener will be one to watch, as these two teams have made key acquisitions in the offseason. The question is how many of these new players will we see on the court.
Andrew Bynum has not been ruled out for the opener, but has also yet to be cleared to play. Newcomer Earl Clark will presumably start at the small forward and Jack will see quite a few minutes playing behind Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
Though Jack only saw action in four preseason matches, we know what we are gonna get from him. Jack has the ability to create is own shot and his leadership and experience give the Cavaliers a veteran court presence they’ve been looking for.
Earl Clark had a very solid preseason on the other hand. Clark is a great defender with a huge wingspan. If his jumper continues to improve, he will prove to be a fantastic move made by Cleveland front office.
We will see also new draft picks Anthony Bennett, Sergey Karasev, and Carrick Felix. All had fairly average preseason performances, with Felix only participating in two games, Karasev battling inconsistent shooting, and Bennett’s questionable conditioning.
In this game, and in the beginnings of this new season, there are some key aspects that Cavaliers fans will be looking for.
The first is the play of Waiters. Waiters has been known as a lazy defender and a poor shot selector. Being the athlete that Waiters is, he as the ability to be a good defender in the league, and coach Mike Brown believes that this young player can be that. Under Brown’s tutelage, I hope we see an improvement on the defensive end. The shot selection problem will only come with experience and maturity, and hopefully this coaching staff will facilitate this.
The injury-plagued front court is another big question. They are deep, and if everyone plays, the question will turn to, “who will actually get minutes?” This will spark some competition in the post for the Cleveland Cavaliers, which should make everyone better, especially the younger guys like Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller. Even Henry Sims could see time, depending how everyone’s health plays out.
Finally, I think everyone is looking to see the impact Bennett will actually have. He was very up-and-down in the preseason, showing some sluggish and inconsistent play, while also showing his potential, like his fourth quarter performance against the Orlando Magic in the preseason. Bennett had 14 in the fourth, showing off his midrange stroke, as well as his explosiveness off the bounce and quickness to get up the court.
This is a very exciting year for Cavaliers fans, and the future can only get brighter in Cleveland.