Summer League Teams in Review: Cleveland Cavaliers

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Both of the Erie BayHawks' NBA affiliates were active in the Las Vegas Summer League last week. Tomorrow I'll get to the Toronto Raptors, but first I'd like to review the team that's been affiliated with the BayHawks for each of Erie's two seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs went 1-4, so it wasn't exactly a party in Las Vegas, at least not on the court. However, there were some bright spots and some intriguing potential that came out of the week's events.

Team MVP: Jawad Williams
It's easy to select the guy who had the highest scoring average as the MVP, but Williams deserves the honor. Despite starting just one game in Vegas, Williams did lead the team in scoring, averaging 14 points per game. He also had the best 3-point percentage (8-16) on the team while attempting more than everyone not named Danny Green. Plus, he was the team's second best rebounder, averaging 5 per game. While defense is not the main aspect on display in Summer League play, Williams also has a reputation as a solid defender to bolster his overall resume. The bottom line is that Williams deserves a spot on an NBA roster, even if that spot isn't in Cleveland next season.

Rookie Watch
The Cavs' first-round pick, Christian Eyenga, had an up-and-down performance. He showed moments of brilliance and moments of not-yet-readiness, as evidinced by his 0.22 assists-to-turnover ratio. Eyenga's best game came against Washington when he shot 7-13 from the field and 3-3 from the line to score 17 points and committed zero turnovers.

The latest news on Eyenga is that he has signed a 3-year deal to play in Spain, so he won't be seen in a Cavs or BayHawks jersey next season. Brian Windhorst of The Plain Dealer reports that Eyenga's contract does have options for him to return to play in the U.S. after each of the three seasons, however.

In other Cavs rookie news, Danny Green took part in Summer League as well. The UNC alum showed some promising flashes, but his overall 5-17 shooting from 3-point range won't cut it if he's going to want to be part of the Cavs' regular rotation this year. He did show his shooting stroke from the line, draining all 12 of his attempts, and he was 7-16 from 2-point range. His turnover number was also high, however, he won't be asked to be much of a playmaker if he sees time for the Cavaliers this season.

Other Notables
You may have noticed I left off Maureece Rice from the list of players I featured in review earlier this week. The lead point guard for the BayHawks this past season, Rice was hoping to use a strong Summer League performance to catapault himself onto an NBA roster for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, Rice played a total of just 36 minutes in 4 games, hardly enough time to show himself off and make an impact.

Darnell Jackson's review can be found here.

Jamont Gordon did some good things as a playmaker. The guard out of Mississippi State led the team with 25 assists (to just 11 turnovers). As a comparison, the second-leading assists man was Rice with 6.

Tarence Kinsey showed that he has a talent for getting to the free throw line. He had one more free throw attempt (39) than field goal attempt (38), and he converted at a solid 84.6 percent clip from the charity stripe.

Someone named Doron Perkins, not originally listed on the Cavs Summer League roster, apparently made one appearance for 2 minutes against Dallas. I'm assuming it's this Doron Perkins from Santa Clara, but as for why he showed up late and played just 2 minutes in 1 game? I have no idea.

Final Thoughts
If there's any takeaway from the Cavs Summer League team, it's that these guys aren't the main concern in Cleveland right now. With Eyenga in Europe, Jackson, Green, and Williams are really the only bona fide candidates to see any whiff of action in Cleveland this season, and even they will find that opportunity tough to come by.

The Cavs are among a small group of elite teams—5 by my count—vying for the 2010 NBA championship (along with the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, and Magic). Still, they aren't going to stop developing players—it's just not on the top of their priority list fo the upcoming season. I wouldn't be surprised to see Green or even Jackson get an assignment with Erie in the D-League next season.

As for the other, non-roster players? Many of them will have to make decisions about whether they want to try their hand at the D-League or chase greener pastures overseas. That's a decision that each individual player has to make on his own.


PALS said...
July 24, 2009 at 11:12 PM  

Cavs will be better if they train harder. Jawad Williams is a good addition to the team.

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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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