A quick shoutout to all my Knicks at Night faithful out there who reacted to the trade in the same way as me, sighing deeply with all the wisdom and bitterness you’ve accrued over years of watching this franchise, and saying “It was the right thing to do.” You guys are great!
However, in paying all this attention to our own sorrows and focusing on our slow emancipation from JR’s mutinous hold over the Garden and our terrible financial decisions, WE HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ENOUGH ATTENTION TO THE CAVS!!
I know this is a Knicks website, but this trade essentially does nothing for us. Takes away a few stupid news stories about JR living it up in NY. Shows that we really are just mind numbingly terrible, and not just because “people have been banged up” all season long. Let’s just fast forward to the Summer, to that lovely lottery pick and max contract we’ll throw out there (I saw Kawhi Leonard in the NY Post this morning under a “What’s Next Phil?” headline) and forget about the Orange and Blue trainwreck for a second. Because this guy has a lot of friends in Cleveland.
Chief among them, Mr. Eoin Mullaney who had a few choice things to say about his team’s haul yesterday. Let’s hear the man out:
1.) On Iman Shumpert’s Role with the Knicks: “Ideally Shumpert will be utilized as a bench player who will play hard minutes and provide some defensive intensity. In a nutshell I can see him as a Tony Allen on the ’08 championship Celtics team when he would come into the game for Rondo or Allen and make sure that the Cs didn’t get too sloppy when their main playmakers were on the bench.”
Me: Wow Eoin. It’s hard to say whether Iman will start or play bench minutes. They definitely don’t have another SG who has that same 2 way potential, but David Blatt has been pretty weird about designating starters all season and the Cavs have a ton of vaguely positionless forward/big guard types who can play all over the floor. While I’m sure Shump will get a good amount of secondary playmaking duties (especially if it allows Dellavedova to play-off ball on bench units and spot up) I really want to see him getting some love from one of the best passers in the league today. Shump has never played with someone who averaged more than 5 assists a game and I’d love to see Lebron helping him become a better cutter.
2.) On JR Smith HARPOONING this team: “My main concern with JR is whether he will be able to co-exist with Lebron and Kyrie and not shoot the ball whenever he damn well pleases. I know he will perform well as a three point shooter and help the Cavs establish a presence from “”Behind Euclid Avenue””. Even with the additions of Love and Lebron to Kyrie’s 3 pt. champion belt marksmanship, this team is only 35% from behind the arc, which is a pretty sad 18th in the league. JR will definitely help that rank, but I don’t have a lot of faith in Blatt being able to resolve any locker room issues that could spring up between these guys. And, of course, if things REALLY go South, JR could be a huge factor in Lebron leaving Cleveland yet again.”
Me: Oh my god, Eoin. Did you read my article about that?
JR is a killer catch-and-shoot guy from beyond the arc, and again the Knicks have never really had the passer to set him up consistently. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know that because his ridiculous step-back, falling over, pull-up misses grab a good deal more attention than a simple 3 point make. However, the chemistry thing is definitely cause for concern. On asked today whether JR would be able to learn the Cavalier playbook quickly enough to become a solid contributor, Smith responded “When in doubt, shoot.” YOUR PROBLEM NOW CLEVELAND.
I think its safe to say that even if Lebron has essentially walled himself into a Cleveland corner, there is a very good chance that JR is there to show Kevin Love the door out this summer after a first round playoff exit. Its just really good that the Cavs got rid of Dion before he and JR spent any time together and just sunk this team to the bottom of the ocean.
3.) On the Cavs targeting more guards instead of a big man: “If I’ve taken anything from this trade, it’s this: The Cavs are intent on developing Tristan Thompson into a perennial All-Star candidate. With the Wild Brazilian gone for the season, I was certain the Cavs would use the Dion trade chip to fill the gaping void at the 5. So why didn’t they? Well its simple. Tristan Thompson was a top 5 pick and is slowly becoming what the Cavs always thought he would be. An absolute steak of a player that they can pair down low with Kevin Love and bring in the real Cleveland youth movement.”
Me: Love it, Eoin. I did mention that the pick the Cavs got from the Thunder would be most likely used to net that big man, and this did indeed happen today with the prying of Timofey Mozgov from the Nuggets. Now, I know that the Thunder pick was protected three ways to the weekend, but I’m still not really convinced Mozgov is worth TWO first rounders. Some analyst said that the two trades reek of desperation and I’m sure that everyone in that organization is more than a little concerned about Lebron’s comments and Love’s impending free agency. Still, it does shore up their biggest weakness as a team; Mozgov is a great rebounder and a hell of a body for smaller guards to encounter on their drive to the hoop. And, while I love you using the term “steak” (actual quote) to describe a basketball player, I don’t really think this pickup should impact your perennial All-Star candidate as much as you might think. Tristan is a serious hustle guy and the Cavs are going to want to go small with him at the 5 as much as they possibly can. Mozgov should just give them insurance for when they do ultimately have to go against on of those big Eastern Conference teams in the playoffs and Thompson realizes he’s giving up 4 inches and 40 pounds to the competition.
Until then, I’m really excited to see how Cleveland’s new toys fit in the system. JR debuts tonight; let’s all wish him the best and GOOD RIDDANCE.