Cavs Takeaways From All-Star Weekend

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a very busy week, recently firing Chris Grant, then coming off a 4 game winning streak before the All-Star break. Having 2 participants in 3 competitions during All-Star Weekend (Dion Waiters, Rising Stars Challenge, & Kyrie Irving, 3-Point Contest & All-Star Game), there were a ton of takeaways from All-Star Weekend pertaining to the Wine & Gold:

Cavs Takeaways From All-Star Weekend

1. Ball Hard Dion Waiters: Everyone on a national consensus now know that Dion Waiters can play. Going head-to-head with another rising star, Tim Hardaway Jr., the two were the highlight of the night. Scoring 31 points, Dion showed his true athleticism and versatility between knocking down pull-up jumpers/threes and taking it aggressively to the hole. If anything, the past week has showed the Cavs organization not to trade Dion Waiters before the trade deadline in three days (February 20th). Whether they trade him or not remains to be seen, but Dion has sure made his case for staying. His main problem before was his attitude on the court and supposed “jealousy” of Irving and alleged altercations with him that were merely speculated. But after video of him widely cheering when Irving hit a big-time three against the Pistons, and his elevated play with Irving, Cleveland has hope that this dynamic duo can workout. They also have been outspoken of each other recently, praising one another’s abilities and congratulating each other on their performances All-Star weekend, as well as saying they have a good friendship publicly and on Twitter. Waiters was meant to be the sidekick for Irving, and we are now seeing why Chris Grant drafted Dion Waiters with the #4 pick in 2012.

2. Uncle Drew is not Overrated: So many people tweeted and proclaimed their shock and disbelief when Kyrie Irving was voted starting PG for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game. Many tweets included how John Wall deserved the starting role more, how Irving only got it because Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and Deron Williams were injured, and that he is “overrated”. Can you eat your words now people? Irving went off in the 4th quarter, and led the star-packed Eastern Conference to a comeback win over the Western Conference, scoring 31 points, getting five rebounds & 14 assists as well. He’s the first player to ever record 30+ points and have 14 assists in All-Star game history, and he became the second-youngest player in NBA history to win the All-Star Game MVP (another cool statistic, he’s only the second youngest Cavs All-Star Game MVP as well, because LeBron was the youngest, so that’s a pretty awesome stat the Cavs own). He showcased his play-making abilities, shooting, and especially his ball handling skills that are the cream of the crop, possibly being the best dribbler in the NBA. A few of his many highlights included making Dwight Howard look like a fool on an isolation play, and he had a near-impossible up-and-under reverse layup. The dynamic duo of Irving and Waiters will pay benefit for the future of the Cavs if they can keep them happy long-term. Also, if Kyrie can put up numbers like he did in the 2nd half (24 of his 31 points, seven assists) against the top players in the Western Conference, Mr. fourth Quarter will be able to dominate the fourth quarter at will for the rest of the regular season.

3. Kyrie and LeBron Played Well With Each Other: Cavs fans may have witnessed (no pun intended) the future of the organization Sunday, or at least as close as it’ll ever be for Kyrie Irving and LeBron James to be on the same team. Irving penetrated and found James cutting on multiple occasions, and James found Irving swerving on the fast-break. It was an exciting occurrence to watch, and with Irving winning the All-Star Game MVP, Waiters coming in 2nd behind Andre Drummond for the Rising Stars MVP, and the Cavs coming off of a four game winning streak, the Come Home LeBron campaign definitely just became even more of a possibility. (It was nice to see LeBron in a different jersey than a Heat jersey, being less mocking to Cavs fans. Personally, it was cool to see LeBron and Kyrie wearing the same uniform.) LeBron had this to say post-game on Uncle Drew:

“Kyrie’s special. It’s just that simple. Very special basketball player, very smart basketball player — his ability to shoot the ball, get into the lane, make shots around the rim. He has the total package. I’ve always known that, always witnessed that ever since he was in high school. I’m extremely happy for him, extremely proud for him to win this award.”

That’s a remark that LeBron didn’t have to say, but being the humble person he is (usually), he said that in regards to Kyrie. With the Browns supposedly drafting former Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel (who is good friends with LeBron), and this building friendship between King James and Uncle Drew, we could definitely see James in a Cavaliers uniform next season. No question.

4. Cavs Future is Brighter Than LeBron’s ForeheadAside from the horrible pun, the Cavaliers actually look pretty good right now, especially after the showcase of Waiters and Irving. They were so close to being the first duo in NBA history to be from the same team and win Rising Stars and All-Star MVP collectively. This also shows that maybe Chris Grant got it right with the draft. Regardless, if the Cavs are smart in these next few days before the trade deadline (maybe the smartest move would be to do nothing), they will solidify a potentially successful playoff run, and a solid team long-term. Keeping Irving at shooting guard and bringing Dion off the bench has boasted well for both of their games, and Dion plays during the end of the game anyways, so it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t start. Luring LeBron back to Cleveland is a greater possibility, and might keep Deng in Cleveland as well. A rising backcourt came to life with the more consistent play of Tristan Thompson (25 points, 15 rebounds vs. Detroit last Wednesday) and a healthy Anderson Varejao keeps the team more consistent. If Anthony Bennett plays the way he has been recently, this could be a scary good Cleveland Cavaliers team, the same Cavs team that was predicted to succeed before the season, and make the NBA Playoffs. The Cavs can keep this winning streak going and increasing it to six games with a game at Philadelphia tomorrow and one home against Orlando on Wednesday.

 

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