Zydrunas Ilgauskas - An oft injured but stronger Rik Smits. Good post moves on the blocks, decent jump shot out to 18', strong and the ability to block some shots. A real talent and the steal of the 1997 draft. He'll need to return to health for the team to be real competitive and could possibly be an All Star. His continuing foot problems may find some relief as the latest surgery has reshaped the navicular bone to create less stress. However the Cavs will enter this years draft as if he will not be on the roster and plan for a future without him.
Chris Mihm - Nice speed for a center, solid post moves although does not use his body well to create space. Uncanny knack for picking up a handful of offensive rebounds but does not box out well defensively. Nice jumper out to 18' and if ever given the opportunity to slide over to power forward will see himself ranked amongst the to 20 at the position.
Robert "Tractor" Traylor - A man of immense talent but a waistline more suited to Sumo wrestling. Aggressive on the boards, strong post moves and despite a heavy appetite for fried chicken and doughnuts able to put the ball on the ground a few times and make moves to the hoop. The tragic part is after the first few minutes on the court his poor conditioning reveals itself, he becomes foul prone and gets distracted by the ice cream vendors in the stand. Currently undergoing a vigorous team sponsored training program, which the Cavs hope brings him into camp at a more manageable 270lbs.
Clarence Weatherspoon (FA) - The only free agent the Cavs have expressed in interest in resigning. An undersized power forward whom rebounds well and stays in front of opponents defensively. Can hit the offensive boards pretty hard and the majority of his points come from bail out shots or his tenacity for putting back up second shots. Could very well end up being renounced and then sign as a free agent with the midlevel exception, which would add some flexibility to the Cavaliers maneuvering under the cap.
Chris Gatling (FA) - A shooter at the power forward slot that can hit the open jumper consistently just inside the three point line. Sometimes thinks he can nail the three, but his 30% success speaks volumes of leaving that shot for someone else. Can put the ball on the ground well for a power forward but if the rest of the league can ever seem to remember he is left handed he wouldn't have quite the same success. The biggest rap against Gatling is his seeming unwillingness to do any board work or even play defense. At one point in the season even his Mom said he needs to be more aggressive hitting the boards. When you don't even listen to your Mom there's little chance that your employer will open up the vault and he will probably be playing elsewhere this coming season.
Lamond Murray - A down year in what's been a career of decent seasons followed by poor ones. Sat in Wittman's doghouse a large portion of the season but certainly capable of keeping all the other successors coming off the bench and doubtful that any rookie would unseat him. A big frame and a reliable jumper from the perimeter. The thing that impresses me most is his ability to play the game almost effortlessly, clearing room for his shots with very polished moves and then getting to the front of the rim with a simple shoulder shrug. If the cycle should continue he should have a good year and return to the leagues top 20 starters at small forward. Perhaps Coach Lucas will get inside of his head and release some of the talent and promise of when he was selected #7 in the '94 draft.
Cedric Henderson - Cedric had a very poor 2000/01. He saw his role further diminished to that of a defensive stopper at shooting guard or small forward. A decent defender on the wing, can get out and finish on the break but has seen no improvement on the open 18 footer which teams will give him all night long. By hitting the open jumper he would be a totally different player but I won't hold my breath.
Wesley Person - Can knock down the long range bomb and plays pretty decent defense for an offensive minded shooter. Doesn't put the ball on the floor much and rarely gets to the charity stripe. Wes is at his best when opposing teams double the post from the 2 spot. Sorely missed the post presence of Ilgauskas and was in a deep funk for most of the season as he was removed from the starting line up. The funny thing is this is verbatim of last year's report, perhaps Lucas will get something more from him. He'll need to as his contract with the Cavaliers makes him untradeable unless he shows some vast improvement.
Matt Harpring - A tough-minded player who hustles for loose balls and gets more bumps and bruises than the rest of the team combined. Not really physically skilled enough to play either small forward or shooting guard he does put the defensive clamps on players and does an excellent job of denying them the ball. The problem starts when the opponent does get the ball and his foot speed is lacking enough that he is best relegated to coming off the bench. Shoots well from 18' but really needs to hit a third of his shots behind the arc to advance his game enough for him to be of starting caliber.
Jimmy Jackson (FA) - Acquired in a midseason trade for Brevin Knight. More of a salary dumping move than it was to try and retrieve any of what little gas was left in the tank. Once a great post up guard and adequate defender there seems to be little resemblance to the player he once was. Certainly an early summer casualty and will likely be elsewhere next season.
Trajan Langdon - I almost forgot to put him in. The second lackluster year from this undersized shooting guard. Not able to create his own shot, a defensive liability as he often gives up several inches and a player that's smart enough to not look lost but never seems to have a handle on what's going on. To his credit he can bury the three if left alone and stays in front of his counterparts. His ideal role would be that of Steve Kerr's where he could come off the bench and drop a couple bombs with a more than adequate post game. That doesn't seem to be in the cards and it wouldn't come as a surprise if he was outright released.
Andre Miller - Perhaps the only bright spot on the Cavs roster. Hopefully will benefit from an infusion of talent that will see him taking things into his own hands when things get rough. Without surrounding him with more talent his development could stagnate and he could well see his tremendous skills thwarted by not becoming a more complete player. Andre is as strong as any point in the game and looks to draw contact when attacking the rim. His pull-up jumper is money in the bank and if he ever gets proficient behind the arc could be a threat that will make all but a few teams envious. Solid playmaker and even showed the ability to play some minutes at the two guard. Could make a couple of All Star game appearances in his career but the certainly need to add some talent to the roster to get the most from him.
Bimbo Coles - Played extremely well in the early part of the season until he missed a long stint of games due to injury. Solid and steady as a backup point and a great mentor for Andre Miller. Plays solid defense and can distribute the ball well his offense leaves a lot to be desired. The first part of the season he looked to be worth all the dough that Gordon Gund shoveled out but when he returned from injuries and the wheels were already off the team made it look like a bad investment. Such is life in a Cavs uniform.
John Lucas - Agreed to terms in the midst of me writing this report. Obviously not the Cavs first choice but a coach that may be able to come to terms with a few lethargic veterans and get better performances from them. My personal belief is that the Cavs had the whole process backwards and should have been looking for a veteran coach when they hired Wittman and a rookie coach when they hired Lucas. The barometer on how well Lucas is doing is what type of performance he can get out of Wes Person and Lamond Murray. If Lucas gets these guys to play to their potential Paxson made the right move. If the team flounders it wasn't the most lucrative deal for a coach and will once again be paying some one for sitting at home.
Jim Paxson - Paxson has made some bold moves as General Manager and is as hands on as anyone in his position. Pulled the trigger on the biggest deal in Cavs history and cleared the seemingly outlandish contract of Kemp off the books. He has been managing the draft and scouting players for this years draft and even made a trip to Europe. Many have speculated that the trip was in order to get a first hand look at Pau Gasol. Has done well in the draft with the exception of Trajan Langdon and no one seems to know how the Cavs boosted him a half dozen choices above where anyone had him ranked. With the hiring of Lucas and the upcoming draft Paxson will have the laid the groundwork for a long-term management opportunity or a quick trip to being unemployed.
Gordon Gund has always ran a first rate club, but always as a business first. He restored a team that had traded away most of its future and inserted good management and coaches. He is always fiscally responsible but never afraid to spend money on quality turnstiles are clicking. With some cap room becoming available and some lean years ahead we'll need to see what he does to field a formidable team.
Rudy D'Amico - I only mention Rudy as the Cavaliers for a number of years have retained him. He was instrumental in the drafting of Ilgauskas, alerted the team of Vitaly Potapenko before he attended Dayton, had the Cavs heavily considering Jake Tsakalidis in last years draft and obviously planted seeds about a possible Pau Gasol selection at #8 or Vladimir Radmanovic at #20. Needles to say for better or worse he has the Cavs ear and certainly elevates the possibility of the Cavs drafting a foreign player.
The team again is in a state of flux. With 10 players under contract the Cavs desperately need some help from the upcoming draft, as there is little chance that a marquis free agent would come to town. The team's future rests primarily in the hands of a few players that either have sorted injury tales or are simply underachievers. Ilgauskas again missing the majority of the season has the team entering the draft as if he will never return. If Ilgauskas were to remain healthy for a season few would question the viability of the team reaching the playoffs. Without Ilgauskas this is a team in the midst of a serious rebuilding process and a brighter future is years away.