Don't Look Now, But the Cavs Have a Dynamic Young Backcourt

Don't look now, but the Cavs have a dynamic young backcourt

11/6/12 in NBA   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Oct 30, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (left) and shooting guard Dion Waiters (3) celebrate in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIREIt's still early in the season, but the Cleveland Cavaliers - a low functioning speed bump for opponents since LeBron James left - are 2-2. Their wins include a game against the Clippers in Los Angeles, and their losses include a game Kyrie Irving tied with .7 seconds remaining, only to see Brandon Jennings miraculously drain a three point shot to win.

I understand very well that a 2-2 record is nothing to phone home about. In fact, the Cavs started the year 3-2 last season, only to finish 21-45. However, it's not just the Cavs' record that has me impressed - it's how they're competing at a high level with contributions from new, young players.

Rookie Tyler Zeller has been getting more minutes each game this season (less than 15 in the first two games, more than 20 in the past two games), and he has responded well, finishing last night's contest against the Clippers with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Then you have Tristan Thompson, the raw second year forward out of Texas, who has grabbed at least five rebounds in each game this season, and is averaging 7.3 through four games.

There's also Anderson Varejao, who is by no means young at 30 years of age, but missed most of last season with a broken wrist. He has now returned to the Cavs' frontcourt, and is averaging 14 points and 15 rebounds through four games on 65.8% shooting.

The most impressive part of this new-look Cavs team, however, is their backcourt. Everyone had high expectations for 2011 first overall pick Kyrie Irving, but I'm not sure people expected him to be dropping 23.8 points and 6.0 assists per game early in his second year.
Blog Photo - Don't Look Now, But the Cavs Have a Dynamic Young Backcourt
Then there's Dion Waiters - a highly criticized pick (myself included) - who is second on the team with 16.3 points per game. Waiters is lighting it up from behind the arc, shooting 55% from deep through four games. He's been consistent, too, shooting at least 50% from deep in three of four games, and at least 40% in every game. A 36.3% three point shooter in college, Waiters likely spent a lot of time working on his jump shot in the offseason, and it seems to be paying off so far.

Obviously, nothing is certain only four games into the season, but I really like what I'm seeing out of this Cavaliers team so far. I still don't like them to make the playoffs, but they're no longer a team against which you can pencil in a win on your schedule. Their backcourt has the potential to erupt on any given night (Irving and Waiters combined for 52 points and 11 threes Sunday night), and they'll only get more consistent as the season goes on.

As their players improve individually, and the team gains experience together and becomes more cohesive, the Cavs could become a legitimate force in the near future. Likely to secure another high draft pick this year, they are following the same rebuilding process as the Thunder, and they seem to be one good draft pick away from doing so successfully.
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