Welcome back to Should I Stay or Should I Go. In this series, I will provide Chris Grant and the Cavs my take on which players should remain part of the team's plans and which ones need to hit the road. As I mentioned in part one, every player has a different set of expectations. When I said that Omri Casspi should stay with the team, it wasn't because of how great he is. The reason for his rating is because he has a lot of size, can probably be re-signed for a low cost and can be a good backup if he ever gets his career back on track. On the contrary, Daniel Gibson isn't a bad player or a negative influence in the locker room. The reason that he was a "Go" is because there does not appear to be room on the roster for him and his injury history.
Jon Leuer: When Chris Grant claimed Leuer off of waivers in July, it was an understated personnel move that could potentially be beneficial for the Cavs. Leuer can also amount to a player who isn't very good. Acquiring Jon Leuer is a prudent transaction because it is the sort of low risk and possible high reward decision that rebuilding teams should make. Aaron from the great blog Gothic Ginobili had some great things to say about Leuer:
He was picked up by Cleveland after Houston inexplicably waived him — I thought Leuer was the best piece traded in the Dalembert deal. I realize there are a lot of reasons to be somewhat down on his performance, but the kid averaged per-36 numbers of 14-8-2 on 50%+ shooting. That’s valuable enough to be a first-big-off-the-bench type on a good team, let alone your 4th rotation big.
Jon Leuer might not amount to much for the Cavs, but his skill set is intriguing. For that reason, he should be given plenty of coaching from the Cavs and opportunities. Stay.
C.J. Miles: The Cavs appear to have signed C.J. Miles to a two year $4.5 million contract with the Cavs as a sort of insurance in the event that they cannot retain Alonzo Gee's services. Cleveland fans have not really gotten to know what kind of person Miles is, but the Utah Jazz fans that I follow on Twitter have nothing but great things to say about his character. On the court, Miles might not be a keeper in the traditional sense. He shot a poor 38.1% from the field in his final year with the Jazz and his overall shooting has been declining since the 2007-2008 season. Hopefully teaming him up with an elite point guard can get his shooting north of the Hughes Line. Then again, he played with Deron Williams during a large part of that stretch and that did not help. The Cavs need depth on the wing, so it makes sense to keep Miles as part of the team's future. He is evidently a great guy and is young enough to improve. In addition, his salary is very reasonable for a player of his caliber. Stay.
Jeremy Pargo: The younger brother of veteran Jannero Pargo, the new Cavs backup point guard appeared in 44 games for the Memphis Grizzlies last year. In those games, he shot 33.3% from the field and had an assist to turnover ratio of 1.20. This puts him just north of Boston's Avery Bradley and in the same neighborhood as big men such as Zach Randolph and LaMarcus Aldridge. If Pargo wants to see any floor time for the Cavs, he is going to have to improve his shooting. If not, he will be nothing more than the player who the Grizzlies included in a salary dump so that the Cavs can get another second round pick. Go.
Samardo Samuels: The second year big man is probably the most difficult player to make a decision on. When it is all said and done, Samuels hasn't been very good in his two year NBA career. He fouls a lot, tends to disappear, has a penchant for being in the wrong place at the right time and he doesn't put up big numbers. On the other hand, he came into the Las Vegas Summer League looking like he put in a lot of work in the offseason. It was difficult to recognize Samuels because of how much weight he lost. Samuels might be worth keeping around because he exhibited that he is willing to put in hard work. He also tends to have performances a couple times a year that justify his presence on the team. In his rookie year, he drew a crucial charge against the Knicks that helped them win in Madison Square Garden. He also scored 17 points on 6-8 shooting against the Piston in a win on December 28, 2011. His talent probably doesn't justify keeping him around, but he deserves one last chance with the squad. Stay.
Donald Sloan: The wheels had fallen off the bus for the Cavs late in the season and they were forced to look at the D-League for players. Sloan spent time with the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Hornets before signing a contract with the Cavs on March 16. He averaged 6.6 points and 3.7 assists per game with the Cavs. Things got better with Sloan in April where he scored 8.1 points and dished out 4.6 assists in 16 games with the team. The Cavs need somebody to play backup point guard with the team and Sloan appears to be the better option compared to Jeremy Pargo. Stay.
Tristan Thompson: I have been critical of Tristan Thompson and Chris Grant for making that selection. He is fairly awful on the offensive end of the court. In order to fully understand how bad he is offensively, one must not simply look at how many points per game Thompson scores. Some items of concern are that Thompson had 22% of his close shots blocked. When you move him in a bit to where he is considered "inside," he still had 15% of his shots blocked. His strengths are offensive rebounding and blocking shots and the Cavs actually block the same amount of shots (4% of the opposing team's field goal attempts) with him on the court compared to him being on the bench. The Cavs rebound worse on the defensive end when he plays (68%) compared to when he is not playing (71.0%). His defensive rebounding woes almost cancel out his elite offensive rebounding and the Cavs only rebound at a .05% better clip with him playing than when he is not. In addition, his shot blocking skills do not translate to a net positive for the Cavs because of his issues with having his shot blocked.
In other words, the Cavs used a 4th overall pick to select a guy who is offensively-challenged who makes up for that with his rebounding and shot-blocking, but the team is not better in those areas with him playing. For better or worse, Tristan Thompson is here to stay. For all of his flaws, he is a good locker room guy and is still very young. There are reports that he has great work ethic and the selection can be redeemed. I have my concerns, but it would be silly to give up on him without seeing what kind of upside he has. Young big men tend to take a long time to develop and this may be the case with Thompson. For the sake of the team’s future, I hope it is. The Cavs should dedicate a lot of coaching and let Thompson play through his learning curve so they can maximize his value. He may never improve in the areas where he needs help the most, but he should be given every chance to do so by the team. Stay.
Dion Waiters: The Cavs used the fourth overall pick to select Dion Waiters in the draft despite not seeing him work out. His poor showing in the Las Vegas Summer League has left Cleveland fans a little concerned. Considering that we have not seen him play in the regular season, the best course of action to take is to assume that the front office knew what they were doing and that he will be the perfect complementary piece for Kyrie Irving in the back court for years to come. Prior to the draft, NBA stat nerd John Hollinger of ESPN ranked Waiters as the best perimeter player in the draft. Waiters will probably experience some growing pains and fans might be calling for Chris Grant’s head. Due to the fact that Waiters was selected so high and because of how poor the depth is on the wing for the Cavs, he should be a part of the future. Stay.
Luke Walton: Walton averaged 2.0 points, 1.4 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 21 games with the Cavs. The only reason he is on the etam is because he was part of the trade that netted Cleveland an extra first round pick in the 2012 draft. Walton appears to be finished in the NBA. The only thing keeping him on the team is his $6.1 million contract. The fact that he hasn't scored double figures in a game since November 8, 2009 is not helping. Go.
Tyler Zeller: One of Tyler Zeller’s strengths in college was his ability to get up and down the court quickly. Zeller is legitimately 7 feet tall and has skills that should translate into the NBA. He should be able to score close to the basket and from outside. In addition, he should do a competent job at rebounding. He will not be blocking a lot of shots or scoring a lot of points per game, but he should have a solid career. The question with Zeller is whether or not he is a starter or a backup. Stay.