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“Kazmir’s decline from American League strikeout leader (239) in 2007 was predicated more on an inability to stay healthy than a lack of pitching prowess. When he was healthy, Kazmir was a very good pitcher, even if control was never really one of his strong suits. His injury history reads something like this, though: shoulder, shoulder, shoulder, elbow, quad, hamstring, shoulder, back, soul.
I guess you could say it’s a good first draft of the first chapter of a feel-good comeback story. I’m not entirely convinced this ends well, as a Major League pitcher with a broken body faces a difficult task to stay healthy for a full season. Whatever the case, Kazmir enjoyed a reasonably succesfull spring, throwing 13 innings and giving up five earned runs, 13 hits, one walk, one home run, and striking out 13. The bulk of the damage versus Kazmir was delivered by the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, though, when he gave up 13 hits and five runs over five innings.” [Lewis/Getting Blanked]
“Rudy Gay and Kyrie Irving are the respective stars for the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Gay has all the hallmarks of a star – a big contract, lots of shots per game, and the perfect frame for a do-it-all NBA small forward. Irving shares none of those traits, but he was an All-Star at age 21, and definitely played at an All-Star level last season while just a rookie.
Both are hurting, currently, with Gay working through a back injury and Irving taking time off with a shoulder strain. Rudy missed Saturday’s Raptors loss to New York, and rumors abound that the Raptors will shut him down for the rest of the season. Irving has a potentially less serious but certainly just as painful left shoulder contusion, and he hasn’t played since March 10. With both men working for lottery teams, currently, is a return to action worth it for either player?
Yes, and no. And probably not for the players that you’d think.” [Dwyer/Ball Don’t Lie]
The Case for LeBron James to return to Cleveland [Chris Wilson]
“Five players selected by Chris Grant to play for Byron Scott specifically? Five reasons why the excuses for losing should end at the very moment they become completely unnecessary. That was what I decided, at least. That’s what got me through the rest of my day.
Assuming the Cavaliers bring Wayne Ellington and Mo Speights back, they would combine with Irving, Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, Anderson Varejao and whoever the Cavaliers draft this summer to form an eight[ish]-man rotation that should be in the very least competitive.” [Bowers/Stepien Rules]
“This is the first time in 28 years Ohio State has an entire new crop of defensive linemen. When you have guys like Spence that admit they only know what they are doing 50 percent of the time and still appear to be unblockable, it’s easy to see why most think this group will be just fine.
The energy and awareness displayed by Spence and his cohorts harkens back to past decades when the Buckeyes’ defensive line was annually among the nation’s best. That’s the level the players and coaches are after. It’s where John Simon and Johnathan Hankins, arguably the two best defensive players in the conference a season ago, played – endurance and effort paired with speed, size and power.” [Rowland/Eleven Warriors]
“Tyler Zeller, Cleveland Cavaliers- I still believe that Zeller will be a successful pro, but the No. 17 pick is in the midst of a pretty underwhelming season. His capacity to score is largely reliant on mid-range jumpers, but he shoots a disappointing 32.9 percent on those bread-and-butter attempts. His offensive rebounding has been solid, but overall he’s merely decent on the glass — good enough to avoid hurting his team, but not much of a net positive. He does a fine job of slipping screens for quick jumpers and sneaky cuts to the rim, but he’s so accustomed to springing quickly that he doesn’t actually make good contact on his screens. There just isn’t much in Zeller’s offensive game to really like, though he has the potential to refine some aspects and become a more helpful player.
Defensively, the Cavs have Zeller playing back a few steps when defending the pick-and-roll, a reasonable decision given his marginal athleticism. But that positioning makes him especially vulnerable to stretchy, shooting big men. Zeller makes an earnest effort to close out on those kinds of pick-and-pop options, but it’s tough for any big man to cover that kind of ground in a short span. That leaves Zeller in a bit of a middle ground; he’s neither big enough nor an impressive enough rebounder to battle a lot of interior bigs, but he’s just a half-step shy of really being able to defend the more perimeter-oriented options. Offseason training and the natural improvement of his game will help make his work against both types more manageable, but as it stands, Zeller isn’t providing Cleveland much value on either end of the court.” [Point Forward]