Cavaliers Get Back to Work on the Hardwood
by Joe Gabriele (@CavsJoeG)
9/25/18 | Cavs.com
Yes, the fellas will sleep good tonight.
It’s hard to gauge anything significant from the first day of Training Camp, but one thing was certain: conditioning was an emphasis. The Cavaliers are looking to run this year, capitalizing on their youth and looking to go up-tempo off makes and misses.
As the squad gears up for the Wine & Gold Scrimmage – set for Sunday afternoon in Dayton – and the preseason opener – next Tuesday night in Boston – Tyronn Lue and his staff put them through the paces: a two-and-a-half hour grind to open Camp.
”Everything we do has to be full-speed, game-speed and intensity,” said Lue. “(Today was about) getting in good shape so we can play the style of basketball we want to play.
”I want the pace to be faster; miss or make – getting up the floor quick. We have a lot of guys who can handle the basketball, so when Cedi or Rodney Hood or George Hill rebound the ball those guys can push the break without having to get it out to a point guard necessarily. They can push the ball on the break and that right there makes your transition game faster.”
Last year, despite having arguably the best open-court player in the Association, the Cavaliers finished in the middle of the pack in fast break points – finishing 13th, averaging 12.5 ppg. This year, without Numeral 23’s nightly production, Cleveland will have to get more creative offensively.
”We’re gonna have to rely on each other more this year,” said George Hill after practice. “We don’t have that guy that you can just throw the ball to and let him make things happen, like we had with LeBron last year. So, knowing this year is totally different – where everybody has to have their hand in that jar giving us help – it’s going to take a collective group.”
1 It only takes one practice to see that David Nwaba might be the most athletic guy on the squad. The undrafted swingman out of Cal Poly has improved in each of his first two seasons with Chicago, and he’ll get plenty of opportunity to shine in Cleveland.
And while he might be the most athletic player on the team, he might not be the most athletic player in his family. His older sister, Barbara, competed in the 2016 Olympics in the heptathlon for the U.S.
2 Channing Frye is not the best athlete on the squad, but that doesn’t diminish the 35-year-old’s value to the squad. After being sent to L.A. as part of the deal that brought back Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson at last year’s Deadline, Frye re-signed as a free agent with Cleveland over the summer.
On Tuesday, he worked with both the second team and the young Camp invitees. The franchise’s all-time leading Playoff three-point marksman, Frye is like a coach on the floor, can back up the 4 and the 5 and is an invaluable locker room presence on a team in transition like the Wine & Gold.
3 Starting lineups, first- and second-team jersey colors mean relatively little in the early days of Camp. Only Kevin Love is guaranteed a starting spot, so competition for the other four positions could rage well into October.
But for what it’s worth, on Tuesday, the first team included: George Hill, Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman, Tristan Thompson and Love. The second team consisted of Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Korver, Larry Nance Jr. and Sam Dekker.
JR Smith sat out of Tuesday’s workout, nursing a sore right hip.
4 The Cavaliers will have two practice sessions on Wednesday and Friday before getting Saturday off. On Sunday, it’s the Wine & Gold Scrimmage at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
The preseason tips off on Tuesday night in Boston before the Cavaliers return home for two contests – taking on the Celtics on October 6 and the Pacers on October 8 at The Q.