The first game out of the break for the Rockets is against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is also know as win number 9 of 10 in a row. Dave and I did a little Q&A with Carolyn aka Q Town Mayor over at the And One blog for Cleveland.com.
Check out our answers to Carolyn's questions here
1. What was the worse free agent decision in the summer of 2005 - Larry Hughes (a bad contract to go with bad shot selection), re-signing Z (even though LeBron wants to run and Z can't run), or Donyell Marshall (who I am still mad at for ruining my NCAA tournament bracket when he was at UConn and lost in round 2)? I think it's gotta be Hughes, but...
Answer: I love my guys and like to think everyone brings their own set of skills to the table. The problem is whether those elements mesh into a cohesive team. I'm worried Larry isn't happy with his situation and that is never productive but I'm not willing to criticize any of them. Also, Larry Hughes may have just needed more time; he's been playing well lately.
2. What is the most important thing the Cavaliers need to do to get back to the NBA Finals (i.e., acquire a player, fire a coach, fire a GM, etc.)?
Answer: Stop falling, tripping, twisting and breaking body parts. What players should be acquired/traded? As opposed to acquiring a new player, I would like to see the Cavs cultivate someone like Devin Brown or Cedric Simmons. Positive criticism, mentoring, a general feeling of belonging go a long way to creating confidence which is the key to success on the court.
3. What do the Cavs need to do to make sure that LeBron doesn't go play for Jay-Z and New Jersey when he's a free agent in 2 years?
Answer: Drop off his mom, Gloria, at Exit 13 on the NJ Turnpike for a day or two. Maybe free tickets to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and one of Akron's famous Hummers would entice The Kidd to Ohio. Also, see my Open Letter to LeBron (http://blog.cleveland.com/andone/2008/02/an_open_letter_to_lebron_james.html).
4. Who is your favorite Cavalier of all time? I've read your background on your injury and getting into the playoffs that year, but did you have a history with the team?
Answer: At the moment, it's Austin Carr. As a former player and now as a commentator, it's clear he cares about the Cavs - their history, their reputation, their future, their health – almost as much as I do. I personally have no history with the Cavs. Grew up in NJ and came to Ohio by way of Iowa, Western New York and Hotlanta. As a kid, I watched a lot of baseball and played soccer and basketball with my older brother. As an adult, I became somewhat sedentary; first due to work obligations and then due to medical complications. Discovering the NBA world and LeBron and the Cavs has done more for my well being than any surgery I've had.
5. I'm a firm believer that LeBron should average 10 assists a game. No player in the league gets more triple teams and no player in the league is allowed to travel more to get through those triple teams. That should lead to more assists. He's averaging over 7 the last time I looked, and that's great, but why isn't he at 10? I know Larry Hughes can't shoot, but Jones and Gibson can.
Answer: Again, I agree with the basic premise. 10 assists per game from a player of LeBron's caliber is not an unreasonable goal. I've seen LB's game evolve over the past two years and I'm sure there is more to come. Additionally, passing the ball depends on the active players at any given moment. There's definitely chemistry between LeBron and Boobie (Gibson) which works when Boobie is on the floor and open for a pass. Our injury rate has painfully reduced passing options which is part of the "healthy team as a necessity for success" argument. My guess is that we'll see more assists per game in the playoffs and future seasons.
6. What's your hope for the rest of the season? I think you need to get healthy as a team and need to have Larry Hughes have more 40 point games like he did before he got there.
Answer: A healthy team is a necessity. One or two injured players is a minor aggravation; five or six makes you want to default or call a do-over. If our injured guys can heal during the All Star break, we have the ability to win 50 games for the third season in a row and be ready to rock the Playoffs.
7. What's your final season prediction?
1. Detroit Pistons
2. Boston Celtics
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
4. Orlando Magic
5. Toronto Raptors
6. Atlanta Hawks
7. New Jersey Nets
8. Washington Wizards
1. Phoenix Suns
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. Dallas Mavericks
4. San Antonio Spurs
5. New Orleans Hornets
6. Utah Jazz
7. Denver Nuggets
8. Houston Rockets
That ends the Q&A, thanks again Carolyn!!