Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League Preview

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Cleveland Cavaliers will field one of the 22 teams at the 2009 Las Vegas Summer League, which begins today and runs through July 17 at the Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The Cavs, heading into their second year as an NBA affiliate of the Erie BayHawks, will be participating in the Vegas Summer League for the sixth straight year. The Summer League action in Vegas tips off today, but the Cavs don't play their first game until tomorrow at 6 p.m. Eastern against the Summer League roster of the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers.

No, you won't see LeBron and Kobe, but it's possible that you could see their future teammates doing battle on the court in Sin City tomorrow evening. According to the official roster posted on the Summer League home page, the Cavs team features just nine players***, which as a commenter pointed out, does not constitue the typical Summer League roster. So stay tuned to see if additional names are added. In the meantime, here's a preview of the players confirmed on the Cavs' Summer League roster.

Cleveland Cavaliers 2009 Summer League Roster

Christian Eyenga, 6'5", G/F, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Eyenga, Cleveland's first-round pick in June's NBA Draft, will be one of the most interesting players to watch in Summer League action, if only because so few people have seen him play in person. Is he ready for the NBA? How he fares against NBA-level competition this week could very well answer that question. If not, he may be a key development player for the BayHawks this season. For more on Eyenga, check out my "Better Know a Draft Pick" post from last week.

Jamont Gordon, 6'4", G, Mississippi State
Gordon is incorrectly listed from Grand Valley State on the roster. The former Bulldog went undrafted in last year's draft. He then played in last year's Summer League as part of the Philadelphia 76ers squad before signing on with Fortitudo Bologna of the Eurocup basketball league in Bologna, Italy.

Danny Green, 6'6", G/F, North Carolina
The Cavaliers' second-round pick probably has the most heralded backstory of anyone on the roster coming fresh off of a national championship at UNC. Green will be another closely monitored participant in Summer League action as the maturity in his game—and his 3-point shooting—suggest that he may be well-suited as a perimeter complement to LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal. For more on Green, check out my "Better Know a Draft Pick" post from last week.

David Harrison, 7'0", C, Colorado
Harrison was taken 29th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. In four years with Indiana, he averaged 5 points and 2.9 rebounds in just 14.2 minutes per game. Harrison's contract was not renewed with the Pacers following the 2007-08 season, and this was the review of his final season issued by Pacers blog Indy Cornrows.

Darnell Jackson, 6'9", PF, Kansas
One of three Cavalier Summer League players who won a national championship in college, Jackson is also one of the few who saw some NBA minutes last season. Heading into his second season, Jackson has a great opportunity this week in Las Vegas. With last year's other rookie, J.J. Hickson, sidelined by injury, Jackson has a chance to show why he and not Hickson should be the 4-man of the future for the Cavs to develop. Jackson also saw two stints in Erie last season with the BayHawks. For more, check out this review of Jackson that I wrote following the end of the BayHawks' season.

Tarence Kinsey, 6'6", G, South Carolina
Kinsey saw limited minutes in 50 games for the Cavaliers last season. He also played sparingly for the Memphis Grizzlies for two seasons before that. I could try to tell you more about him, but you're better off reading about Kinsey from Cavs diehard fan John Krolik over at Cavs the Blog.

Leo Lyons, 6'9", F, Missouri
Lyons improved in each of his four years at Missouri. He was an important player for their Elite Eight run in the NCAA Tournament this season, including his 15-point, 12-rebound performance to upset Memphis in the Sweet 16. It's tough to see him leapfrogging the likes of Hickson and Jackson to find playing time in Cleveland, but a strong showing this week could potentially open up an opportunity elsewhere.

Maureece Rice, 6'1", PG, George Washington
The point guard that made the BayHawks go last season, Rice is a cannonball in the back court with a low center of gravity that helps him get to the hole and score in traffic. With Erie BayHawks coach John Treloar firmly behind him, expect Rice to see some solid minutes as he tries to make the jump from the D-League to an NBA roster this season. For more on Rice, check out his profile here at Blog Talk BayHawk as well as over at Ridiculous Upside.

Jawad Williams, 6'9", F, North Carolina
A member of the 2005 national champions at UNC, Williams made his NBA debut last season, appearing in 10 games for the Cavs. He's also played for three different D-League teams the past three years. For more on Williams, I'll once again refer you to the wonderful work done over at Ridiculous Upside.

If the Cavaliers announce any additional names to add to the current 9-man roster, I'll be sure to profile them as well. But until then, here's the Summer League schedule for all of you diehards out there looking to watch all the games.

Cleveland 2009 Summer League Schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET)
Saturday, July 11 L.A. Lakers 6:00 p.m. (ET)
Sunday, July 12
10:oo p.m.
Tuesday, July 14 Washington 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 16 Dallas 10:00 p.m.
Friday, July 17 Detroit 4:00 p.m.

All games can be watched online here.

***Robert Hite has been added to the roster.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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