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“There’s a Jewish deli about a mile and a half from my apartment that I can still walk to because the sidewalks are snowless, and the maple tree outside my kitchen window doesn’t quite yet resemble a cluster of black spider legs. It’s too early to worry about Tristan Thompson, but then I divide my activities into two discrete categories: Things I Do While Worrying About Tristan Thompson and Things I Do Before Going Back To Worrying About Tristan Thompson. I was hoping to allocate more time toward the latter category this year, but a mere four games into the season here I am collecting shed cat fur on the bottom of my bare feet as I wander circuitously through my apartment trying to make sense of the lanky Canadian with a broad smile and a flat jumper.
I’m not concerned that Tristan Thompson doesn’t look like a second-season phenom. If developing into a great player is indeed “putting it all together,” TT is is possession of too many disparate talents to assemble them all in one offseason. I didn’t expect him to show up this season with a Rasheed Wallace-like 15-footer and a coach’s understanding of defensive positioning. What concerns me is that it appears he hasn’t added anything but an additional fifteen pounds on his frame. He still rebounds well, defends just okay, and is intermittently painful to watch on the offensive end. There’s not a facet of his game that I can discern as markedly improved.” [McGowan/Cavs the Blog]
“When it’s time for Kyrie to face-off against the guys whose names get thrown around in the “best point guard playing today” conversation, he rises to the challenge and more often than not, walks away the victor. Even when his supporting players are guys the likes of Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker and Ryan Hollins he’s managed to lead his team to victories over teams with guys like Kevin Durant, James Harden, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. And this is all before he can even buy his first alcoholic drink legally.
Kid gets buckets.
Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed a glaring omission to this list of All-Stars that have fallen to Kyrie upon their first encounter. And sadly, it looks like that matchup will have to wait another year because of injuries. But when it finally happens, and Kyrie Irving faces off for the first time against Derrick Rose in his third year in the NBA, we can be guaranteed a show. And maybe, just maybe, by that point in time, Kyrie Irving will be able to call himself an All-Star as well.” [Benedetti/Fear the Sword]
“Finally, two notes. First, the popular opinion is that Weeden regressed yesterday. A case can be made for this argument, but I will again suggest that Weeden is not being put into positions to succeed. The third down play calling was much more regressive than anything Weeden did and the fact that the Browns couldn’t figure out that the Ravens were blitzing is inexcusable.
Once again, Weeden has never been given plays that suit his strengths. To his credit, he has worked hard at trying to become the 1990′s era quarterback that Shurmur is comfortable in coaching. Weeden’s mechanics are fine on most plays and if anything, his mobility and footwork have dramatically improved.” [Kolonich/The OBR]
Looking at some potential head coaches- “Another round of head coaching hires will take place in January. Here’s a mid-season look at the candidates who could and should be preparing for interviews: Bruce Arians, offensive coordinator/interim head coach, Indianapolis Colts — A longtime position coach and coordinator at the NFL level, Arians was thrust into an interim head coaching role when Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. Whether or not the 60-year-old Arians wants to pursue a head coaching career is unknown — he did “retire” from the Pittsburgh Steelers — but the Colts are 4-1 under Arians, who at the midway point of the season has to be in the discussion for Coach of the Year.” [McIntyre/Shutdown Corner]
“The Cavaliers’ exhilarating 108-101 road win against the Clippers on Monday night prompted lots of chatter about Cleveland’s “backcourt of the future,” Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. That label is fine to use for Waiters, who finished with 28 points, including seven three-pointers, the first time in his young career that he’s topped 20 points. The 2012 class’s out-of-nowhere pick still has plenty to prove. With Irving, though, it’s time that the discussion catches up: it’s time to can the “future” talk; his level of play in the present demands it.
Declaring that any player, even a No. 1 overall pick, has “arrived” at the age of 20 is a proposition fraught with downside. So many things can go wrong and so many outside influences can impact a career’s trajectory. But when Irving, who went one-and-done at Duke, finally turns 21 next month, he should toast himself because he is awesome. So awesome, in fact, that he’s got a legitimate claim to the title of best point guard in the Eastern Conference, at least until the Bulls’ Derrick Rose returns to form from his knee injury.” [Golliver/The Point Forward]