Originally written January 24, 2013 on Waiting For Next Year:
In the land of repurposed jerseys, Cleveland fans can feel free to dust off those of Jamario Moon, Darius Miles, JJ Hickson and Larry Hughes kits. Ealier this week when Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant somehow managed to turn Jon Leuer into power forward Marreese Speights, shooting guard Wayne Ellington and point guard Josh Selby as well as a first-round pick that, at some point in the future, will be unprotected, he added additional depth, flexibility, and some fresh blood into his team’s locker room. Speights (who will wear No. 15), Ellington (No. 21) and Selby (No. 32), made their way to Cleveland late Tuesday night. Wednesday, the three took their physicals and were given playbooks. Thursday, all three should take to the floor of Cleveland Clinic Courts to meet their new teammates and actually become a part of the team’s plans going forward. Friday, Cleveland fans will get to see their new players in action as opportunities “present themselves.” At least those who Byron Scott plans to insert into the rotation. On Tuesday night heading into the Cavs’ contest wherein they played host to the Boston Celtics, Scott said that he plans on keeping the core unit of the Wine and Gold in tact. If there’s any big, immediate change, it will be the insertion of Speights as the first power forward off of the Cavaliers’ bench. Playing approximately 13 minutes per game with the Grizzlies, Scott all but confirmed that the 6-foot-10-inch Speights will get plenty of opportunity to make himself worth the price Grant paid earlier this week. With the absence of Anderson Varejao, lost for the season due to a blood clot in his lung, it will be Speights who will likely log the frontcourt minutes that have been filled by Luke Walton, allowing the veteran Walton to play more small forward despite coming off of one of his better games as a member of the Cavs. In games when Speights logs between 20-29 minutes through his career, he averages 12 points and seven rebounds per game — production that is much needed from the reseve unit of the Wine and Gold. Byron Scott is a man who is used to new faces in his locker room — the only players who are still with the team who were when he arrived are Varejao and Daniel Gibson. The man has essentially made a living by implementing new bodies into his plan. With Scott, however, defensive terminology will be key in his new acquisition’s respective learning curves. Speights will have to focus on pick and roll defense and what spots he will be expected to fill up when his opponent does not have the ball. Eliington will have a similar curriculum to learn, with additional spacing elements for the wing. “When you come in to a new system, it’s going to take a little while,” said Scott on Wednesday. “But with Wayne [Ellington] and Mo [Speights], they’ve been in the league for a little while so I do not think it will be hard for them to pick up what we’re doing.” Selby, on the other hand, continues to have his name be mentioned more in part with the transaction than it has been with the future plans of the Cavaliers. With Kyrie Irving having a firm grip on minutes at the point, it is Shaun Livingston and Dion Waiters filling in where needed. Selby was a McDonald’s All-American, but has struggled to gain traction since leaving the high school ranks; he was suspended for a chunk of his stay at Kansas and logged a mere 8.5 minutes per game in 2011-12.
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