Kyrie Irving‘s recent performance is vindication for former Cavaliers GM Chris Grant, argues Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. Grant, who was fired in February of 2014, is widely remembered for his misstep in taking Anthony Bennett with the top selection in the 2013 draft. But Pluto contends Grant deserves more credit than he receives for identifying Irving as the best player in the 2011 draft class, then making a deal with the Clippers to acquire an unprotected pick that turned out to be number one overall.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- This hasn’t been the rookie season he expected, but the Bucks‘ Tyler Ennis is finally getting to display his skills, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The 20-year-old out of Syracuse is getting a chance to play after being shipped to Milwaukee from Phoenix in a three-team deal at the trade deadline. Ennis has moved into the reserve point guard role behind Michael Carter-Williams. “I’m feeling a lot more comfortable, not only with the offense but with the speed of the game,” Ennis said. “I’m getting a lot more experience now and my teammates are telling me to be aggressive. With the second unit I try to go out there and make as many plays as possible. Coach (Jason Kidd) is giving me the freedom to do that.”
- The Bucks‘ Khris Middleton is in elite company when it comes to real plus-minus rating this season, according to Bradford Doolittle of ESPN Insider (subscription required). Middleton currently ranks seventh in the league in that category, behind six players who are the leading candidates for MVP. Middleton, who was a topic of conversation at the recent MIT Sloan Analytics Conference, also leads the Bucks in Wins Above Replacement Player.
- The Pistons don’t expect a long negotiation with newly acquired guard Reggie Jackson, tweets Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Jackson, who came to Detroit from the Thunder in a deadline-day deal, can become a restricted free agent this summer.
- The Pistons will be without forward Shawne Williams for tonight’s game with the Jazz, according to Ellis (Twitter link). Williams and Blazers center Joel Freeland each received a one-game suspension after an altercation in Friday’s game.