Cavaliers (2-2) at Warriors (2-2) - Game #5
NOV 07, 2012 2:39a ET
A lot of folks figured Harrison Barnes would be The Man for the Cavaliers on draft night. And why not?
The Cavs owned the No. 4 overall pick. They needed a silky smooth outside shooter. Barnes fit the bill after two years at North Carolina, and was expected to still be around when the Cavs selected. And he was -- but the Cavs took a pass.
Instead, they surprised the basketball community by instead going with Dion Waiters, a 6-foot-4 guard who didn’t even start in his two seasons at Syracuse. Unlike Barnes, who stands 6-8, Waiters wasn’t exactly known for his prowess from the perimeter. Waiters was more or less a mystery.
But one week into the season, the Cavs’ decision is looking fairly promising. Waiters is coming off a 28-point night in a road win vs. the Clippers. He is the Cavs’ second-leading scorer (behind Kyrie Irving) at 16.3 points per game.
Oh, and Waiters just happened to do most of his damage in LA from behind the three-point arc, hitting 7 of 11 treys. Those are the type of numbers some Cavs fans figured only Barnes could provide. Or at least, have a much better chance to provide than Waiters.
But that hasn’t been Barnes so far. In four games, Barnes has scored a total of 30 points. That averages out to 7.5 per game, or less than half of Waiters’ average. Barnes is also just 2-for-8 on three-pointers for the season.
Granted, it’s very early -- and Barnes plays for a Warriors team that already possesses some deadeye shooters in guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. So Barnes is still finding his way, and that’s OK. Waiters, on the other hand, is needed right now.
Clearly, this game comes down to more than Waiters vs. Barnes. Much more. The point, however, is that Waiters is living up to expectations. And for Cavs fans who wanted Barnes on draft night, Waiters is exceeding them.
Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.
10:30 p.m. EST
FOX Sports Ohio HD (Cavaliers Live pre-game show begins at 10 p.m.)
Cleveland - WTAM-1100 AM; San Francisco - KNBR-680 AM
C – Anderson Varejao; PF – Tristan Thompson; SF – Alonzo Gee; SG – Dion Waiters; PG – Kyrie Irving. Coach: Byron Scott.
C – Andrew Bogut; PF – David Lee; SF – Harrison Barnes; SG – Klay Thompson; PG – Stephen Curry. Coach: Mark Jackson.
The Cavs are tied for fifth in the NBA in offensive rebounds (14.0 per game). … Irving’s 24-point, 10-assist game vs. the Clippers was the second double-double of his career. … Irving is averaging 23.8 points (sixth in the NBA) and 6.0 assists. … Warriors forward Carl Landry has been an outstanding addition off the bench, with averages of 16.5 points and 7.1 rebounds. He is also shooting 64 percent from the floor. … The Warriors have alternated wins and losses in the first four games. … Their last one was a loss, Monday at Sacramento. … Barnes and Cavs rookie center Tyler Zeller were college teammates at North Carolina (2010-12). … Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone was an assistant with the Cavs from 2005-10. … The Warriors have won three straight over the Cavs and lead the all-time series, 50-49.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
+ SHOW COMMENTS +