Saturday, December 30, 2006

This 'N That: Cavs

Today begins a periodic column of assorted flotsam and jetsam that can't carry an entire column on its own. The Cavaliers are my test case for the inaugural "This 'N That."

Mike Fratello? You should hope not.
A couple of days ago, I said to prepare yourself for the oncoming onslaught of "Mike Fratello back to the Cavs" rumors.

I still think it's going to happen if Mike Brown keeps following four wins in five games with four losses in five games. I also think the rumors will be rooted in nothing more than senimentality.

We all loved Mikey while he was here. Not necessarily his brand of basketball, but we loved Mikey the man. His charisma, his slicked-back hair, his love of calamari. It made us feel like a cast member of "GoodFellas" was coaching the Cavs.

But Fratello is the last thing the Cavs need right now.

Everything that draws our ire about Brown is everything that cost Fratello his job in Memphis. Fratello never adapted to his personnel. He was maniacally obsessed with defense on a club that was loaded with offensive weapons. The Grizzlies were psychologically crushed by the loss of their star player, and Fratello could do nothing to pull his team up by the bootstraps and get them to at least tread water until Pau Gasol came back.

In short, Fratello wouldn't bring much more to the table than Brown does right now.

Something is amiss between Brown and Scot Pollard.
I have no conclusive evidence, but you have to wonder why an experienced veteran who excels in the frontcourt defense and rebounding the Cavs so desperately need is glued to the bench, inactive for three out of every four games.

Pollard knew he wasn't going to see as much playing time as he did with Sacramento and Indiana, but he told The Plain Dealer last week that even he is confused by his Jay Guidinger status at the very end of the bench.

Brown keeps trying to sell Pollard as an insurance policy should the team lose a member of its frontcourt to injury. But that theory was blown out of the water Friday against Milwaukee, when Anderson Varejao missed the game due to a neck injury and Pollard was left inactive in favor of D-leaguer Dwayne Jones.

Pollard is known as an outspoken, tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy. Perhaps he's uttered a few things during practice that rubbed Brown the wrong way? Time will tell, but it would not surprise me at all if Pollard finishes the season with another team. That would be a shame for the Cavs.

Someone please explain the Central phenomenon.
The Cavs are the anti-Browns and anti-Indians. While Cleveland's football and baseball teams have been notorious for their intradivisional struggles in recent years, the Cavs have handled their divisional rivals quite well. Heading into Saturday's game against the Bulls, the Cavs are 3-2 against the Central Division, including blowout home wins over the Bulls and Pacers.

A 3-2 record might not seem so spectacular, but in the ultra-competitive Central, if the Cavs can finish the season above .500 within the division, it will be a good year.

The following exchange took place Saturday night on WTAM's "SportsLine" show. Chuck Galeti was the host and the caller was an older woman:

Galeti: WTAM

Caller (after a pause): Hello?

Galeti: Hello?

Caller: Is this the Nick Mileti show?

Galeti (taken aback for a second): Do you like Nick Mileti?

Caller: I like him when he does the news on TV.

Galeti: Yep. This is the Nick Mileti show.

Have a happy new year, everyone.

1 comment:

POJO_Risin said...

You know, when the signed Pollard, I saw him getting minutes of some kind. I was wondering the same thing, although I was thinking perhaps an injury or something of that nature.

It's too bad. Not only could Pollard buy some minutes for the big guys...but he'd be fantastic with the media...