The year following LeBron James’ taking of the talents to South Beach, the Cleveland Cavaliers were neither good nor even entertaining. The rebuilding effort, however, has been relatively fast and pretty successful only two short years later.
Of course, a lot of that has to do with Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, someone Cavs head coach Byron Scott admits is the future of his franchise.
“The kid only had eleven games in college, he had sixty games in the pros and he’s developed into one of the better young point guards in this league,” Scott told HOOPSWORLD while watching his Summer League team in Las Vegas. “People saw what he did with the Olympic team in some of those practices. He can be a very special player. We expect big things from Kyrie Irving, putting a lot of pressure on him to come out there and deliver, and that’s only from within.
“We’re looking at this guy as being one of the premier point guards in the league.”
Of course, he’s not the only egg in the Cavaliers’ basket right now. Cleveland GM Chris Grant wrapped up a long draft process in June, with rookies Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller to show for his troubles.
Scott is understandably excited about coaching these young talents as well, and in Summer League he was able to get a look at his frontcourt of the future—Zeller and second-year forward Tristan Thompson.
“I like the fact that Tyler can play four and five. He can stretch the floor because he can shoot it from about seventeen/eighteen feet,” he said. “Tristan did a heck of a job this summer in getting down there in the post and making some post moves that we wanted him to work on. I really envision those two guys along with Andy Varejao being three guys that you can kind of rotate in and out. They can all play the four and the five so it makes us a little bit more versatile.”
Of course, trade rumors have swirled lately that Cleveland might be looking to move Varejao in a deal that would net the team Lakers center Andrew Bynum, but Scott actually downplayed those rumblings and instead put the focus on the talent they’ve acquired in the last two drafts. That, according to Scott, is the way he’s currently focused on restoring his team to respectability.
“I’m looking at a nice young core of guys,” Scott said. “If we add some guys to that core, more power to us, and if we don’t we’ll go with what we got because I think right now the future of our team is pretty bright.”