CLEVELAND — Random dribbles on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ following their 109-93 preseason loss to the visiting Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
1. I looked out on the court and it dawned on me: Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose were actually wearing a Cavs uniform. So was Jae Crowder. And Jeff Green. And even Isaiah Thomas was wearing Cavs sweats on the sidelines. Wait a minute, I thought. All these guys really are on the same team?
2. Granted, these aren’t the Wade or Rose of two or three years ago. But they’re not far off. Wade started his preseason with the Cavs by stealing the ball from a Hawks dribbler, then immediately finding Kevin Love in the corner for a 3-pointer. This might work out well, I thought.
3. Both Wade and Rose remain athletic and highly skilled — way more than I gave them credit for, at least. Wade seemed to be going at half speed, and still managed to embarrass the Hawks on a couple of occasions. And it’s amazing to watch how Rose still just blows right past guys.
4. People forget that Wade averaged 18.3 points and 4.5 rebounds with the Chicago Bulls last season. Same goes for Rose — who averaged 18.0 points with 4.4 assists. Both of these men are very accomplished players. As is the case with everyone, the key will be keeping them healthy and making sure they know their roles. But man, they can play.
5. One member of the Cavs’ front office told me he expects that Green will be the team’s secret weapon. Or at least a guy everyone is overlooking after all the talk about Wade, Rose, Love moving to center, Tristan Thompson off the bench … and so on and so on. Green had a career-worst season with Orlando last year, but coach Tyronn Lue and his staff have been impressed so far.
6. Green can play any of the three frontcourt spots in reserve. He is athletic enough to score in bushels and be a pest defensively. On paper, the Cavs have not had a deeper team during either LeBron era, and players such as Green are reasons why.
7. The Cavs have to like what they saw from Love (12 points in 15 minutes) — who looked like a natural center in an offense that will be built on spacing.
8. Also, Crowder was every bit as aggressive and annoying to the opponent as I remembered. Cavs fans are gonna love the guy. He is physical and plays with an edge.
9. It was strange not seeing Kyrie Irving anywhere in the building. I did see and talk to former Cavs GM Chris Grant at the game. Grant’s the man who selected Irving over Derrick Williams with the first overall pick in 2011. It brought back a lot of memories of covering the team during some very dark days. But Irving always made sure they were fun days.
10. I also spoke with Quinn Cook, the former Canton Charge guard who is battling for a spot on the Hawks. We talked about Irving, who Cook knows well. Cook told me he recently saw Irving sporting the Boston Celtics green. “It’s just weird, man,” Cook said, laughing and shaking his head. “Really, really weird.”
11. You can read my complete conversation with Cook here.
12. No word on if LeBron James (ankle) will play Friday vs. the Indiana Pacers. If I had to guess, he will sit again.
13. Finally, Cavs shooting guard Iman Shumpert landed awkwardly on his foot and had to leave in the second quarter. He will undergo exams Thursday to determine the severity of the injury.
14. Go Tribe.