RAISING THE CADAVALIER - many, many thoughts on the Cleveland Cavaliers by ROBERT ATTENWEILER

NBA Basketball


Anthony Davis: A Cautionary Tale

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Here we are again, viewership, mere days away from a series of decisions (both by our guys and by others) that will determine much of the course of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise for the next several years. That’s right, it’s NBA Draft 2012: where every player’s a winner … until he’s not (or until he’s named Andre Drummond).

There’s plenty of information about the draft out there – player breakdowns, list of team needs, mock draft after glorious, glorious mock draft. But, I thought you could use a break from all of that. Give your brains a sip, sit back and imagine the following:

The New Orleans Hornets, after systematically rejecting the Cavs’s offer of … well, everything for the first pick in the 2012 draft, blink for just a second (possibly, Dell Demps receives the anonymous tip that Davis’s unibrow is actually the demon, Zorn, taken human follicle form and waiting for the concentration of voodoo magic in the Big Easy to wake him from his slumber and … well, you know what happens in these “demons wake to feast on human souls” scenarios…), reconsider and take the Cavs up on their offer.

Cavalier fans choke on their collective tongue, but quickly recover and start predicting that a Kyrie Irving/Anthony Davis team will soon take us to places never before imagined (by which I mean, “imagined as recently as three years ago”). And you know what? They look pretty damn good for much of the season. Davis is a dynamic finisher at the rim, displays a surprisingly smooth jumper from 15 and teams with Anderson Varejao to form one of the best (if unorthodox) defensive frontcourts in the league. No one is getting to the rim with Andy and Anthony guarding it, which allows Kyrie and the rest of the wing players to play an exciting, gambling style of pressure defense and the Cavs, while they still struggle to score consistently when Kyrie has an off night, look to have the pieces and settle into the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.

But, come January, Anderson Varejao suffers his annual season-ending injury (this time a particularly scary fractured skull when he lands on his head after being undercut on layup by a Dwyane Wade who, robbed further of his athleticism by a knee injury he can’t solve, begins patterning his game more off teammate Dexter Pittman and is increasingly involved in a series of hard fouls and opponent injuries) and Davis is moved to center where he splits time with sophomore-slumping Tristan Thompson.

Davis continues to play admirably, but teams start to use their stronger, wider body players to push him away from the action and beat him up on the boards. Then, in a game in late-March against the Lakers, Andrew Bynum steps on the top of Davis’s foot while running back on defense. This breaks several of the small bones in Davis’s skinny foot and shelves him for the rest of the season.

The Cavs still make the playoffs as the East’s 8th seed, where they get swept by the top-seeded Indiana Pacers. Kyrie looks amazing, but the Cavs, missing both Davis and Varejao, get destroyed in the paint and, well, most everywhere else.

Davis reaches a set-back in his rehab in late-summer 2013 and, after that, is only featured in stories titled something to the effect of “Cavs’ Ilgauskus Serves As Constant Reminder To Keep Fighting.”

So, viewership, remember something come draft day: no matter who we end up with at 4 (or wherever we end up picking), we could have the misfortune of getting the best player in this draft.

Whew… dodged that bullet.

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