Suddenly, Calderon important part of Cavs

Former Cavaliers guard Jose Calderon is on his way to the Pistons.

Everybody wondered why the Cleveland Cavaliers bothered to sign Jose Calderon in the first place.

Now, everybody wonders why it took Cavs coach Tyronn Lue so long to play him.

Everybody can be fickle that way, and the media often leads the charge. As for Calderon, he’s been a consistent, steadying force for a team that has won 16 of 17 heading into Saturday’s home game against the Utah Jazz.

“He doesn’t turn the ball over. That’s great to have at the start of your offense,” Cavs star LeBron James said. “You add that basketball IQ, how well he takes care of the ball and how well he shoots the ball, and he will give up his body.

“He’s a true professional. That’s what we have around here — guys that show up. No matter when their number is called, they’re ready to go. His number has been called for quite a while now. It’s great to have him, that’s for sure.”

Calderon, 36, was the first free-agent signee of the Koby Altman era. Altman took over as Cavs general manager in July. The signing was a head-scratcher at the time, as Calderon was hardly considered a hot commodity.

But today, he’s an important contributor on the East’s hottest team, and that’s all that really matters.

Calderon runs the offense, makes perimeter shots and as James said, takes care of the ball. In the previous four games, Calderon is a combined 12-of-18 on 3-pointers.

He scored 17 points and outplayed hyped Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball during the Cavs’ 121-112 win Thursday.

“He’s always been a safety valve for a team,” said Cavs guard Dwyane Wade. “I used to hate when we played against him because he never turned the ball over, he never made risky passes. As he’s been showing lately, he can knock open shots down.”

It hasn’t always been this way for Calderon and the Cavs (21-8). He rode the bench behind Derrrick Rose (now injured), Wade and Iman Shumpert — as each got a shot at point guard before Calderon. Lue even used James at the spot and kept Calderon in the role of benchwarming towel-waver.

So, what took so long to give Calderon a real shot?

Lue answered by saying he wanted to “play the guys that were here first, who had been here the last three or four years, and we just had to figure it out.”

He added, “I always told (Calderon) to stay ready and that’s what true professionals do.”

Calderon has now played in 20 of the Cavs’ first 29 games, starting 14. All the while, he has made a strong case to be the first point guard off the bench once presumed-starter Isaiah Thomas is ready to play.

Everybody thought that day would never come.

But sometimes, everybody is wrong.

5 Comments on "Suddenly, Calderon important part of Cavs"

  1. I have always respected Calderon. I wasn’t as against the move as a lot of others were. The guy can shoot and I still remember him outplaying Kyrie when he was with the Raptors. He is a pro’s pro.

  2. I was guilty!

  3. Steady, reliable, professional, no scandals… this is why I put him ahead of D Rose on the depth chart. Surround Calderon with great players and this is what you get, a role player who fits in perfectly. He got signed because of the “effin playmaker” fiasco last season, which got the Cavs the shell of Deron Williams.

    The tough call is what to do with the bench line-up once IT comes back to play. Wade runs the 2nd unit, and they don’t want to mess that up. Shump cannot run the point at all. He’s terrible when dribbling the ball. Any time Shump tries to make his own play off the dribble, it’s a catastrophe.

  4. I think Calderon has been miscast his whole career until now. However Calderon is a true professional nonetheless. If you look at the “when healthy” pecking order on the Cavs, I think he is the right guy for the role. Realistically, the “when healthy” pecking order is pretty much Thomas who even if he is still injured is reported to be close, Rose who is injured again, Lebron who even if he is superhuman should not do everything, Wade who wisely benched himself due to redundancy and age, and finally Calderon who really should have at least jumped Wade and Shumpert in that pecking order anyway due to the fact that he is a real point guard who actually can space the floor.

    The Cavs Calderon situation was a clear case in my opinion of, “just because he can doesn’t mean he should.” When I say that, it is more about the failed or awkward experiments than it ever was about Calderon. Lebron does have point guard abilities but, his abilities are better spent off the ball at least initially so he can conserve energy and can create the easy shot for his team. Rose and Thomas are out for now. Wade can play the point as he did his rookie year and a hair in Chicago but, due to his age, abilities, and injury history should not be starting. He is thriving since benching himself as a backup point. Shumpert is a defender and occasional offensive weapon, not a pg. All of these “just because he can doesn’t mean he should” options were tried before Calderon was. That’s on Lue, especially after Rose’s latest injury situation.

    Don’t get me wrong, having that many options is clearly an embarrassment of riches for Lebron and the Cavs. However, the Calderon situation is about using the right option given the overall situation. Maybe due to his reputation Calderon is not the sexy option at the point but, clearly he is the right option given everything going on injury-wise with Rose and Thomas.

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