Over the weekend I caught up with FTS from Fear the Sword in anticipation of tonight's match up with Cleveland. Obviously I had to ask about Delonte West. Check out his answers below, vote in the poll, and go to Fear the Sword for my answers to his questions.
Celtics Blog: When Boston and Cleveland met in their first preseason game the Cavs aggressively pushed the ball on several early possessions. On one in particular, Mo Williams zoomed past mid court while a shell-shocked Zydrunas Ilgauskas slowly followed. Do you envision the offense moving beyond the "wait for LeBron to make something happen" stage and will Big Z have a place in it?
Fear the Sword: That is going to be something to watch all season. It is true that the Cavs, with James, Williams and West, will want to push the ball at every opportunity, but I also think it will be “fire with focus”. Mike Brown has sold this team on the fact that defense is what is going to ultimately win in the playoffs. I think the Celtics proved that as well, being one of the League’s top defensive teams last year, even with “the Big 3”. What the Cavaliers will need to avoid is being a running team one night, then a defensive team another. Defense is their identity, and while the running game should benefit them more on certain nights, against certain teams, in order for the Cavaliers to get a high seed in the Eastern Conference they are going to have to commit to defense for 82 games.
Celtics Blog: From a distance it never seemed like Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao got up to speed last season. Was that the case? Do you expect them to make a big difference this season?
Fear the Sword: The hold out that lasted all summer and in to Training Camp really hurt their progress as players. Both came into camp in 2007 out of shape and way behind the rest of the team. From a mental standpoint, a lot of things were said on both sides and I think both players needed some time to “forgive and forget”. Then, just as both players were getting back into a groove, they both missed significant amounts of time due to injury. Both Sasha and Andy were huge parts of the Cavs rotation, and with both off the floor the Cavs bench really struggled. The Cavs could have had a similar situation this season with Boobie Gibson and Delonte West but were able to take care of their contracts before the start of camp. There is a completely different feel to this team heading into 2008 than there was in 2007, even after playing in the Finals.
Celtics Blog: Does Ben Wallace have anything left?
Fear the Sword: Yes, I really think he does, if he is used correctly. He is not going to be the DPOY again, but I don’t think the Cavs need him to be. They want him to be an enforcer, make things difficult for opposing players driving the lane, get rebounds and play with a lot of energy for as long as he can. If the Cavs can get a solid 25-30 minutes out of Ben every night I think they will be thrilled and, from what I have seen of Ben during the pre-season, he can do that. There are certainly concerns about his back, and that is something the Cavs are going to have to watch carefully as the season rolls on. But Ben has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, especially since he feels he let the team down in the Boston series. I think Ben will have a solid season.
Celtics Blog: Delonte West still has plenty of fans from his Boston days and a lot of us were happy to see him rejoin the Cavs. Is he ready to be in the rotation and do Cavs fans realize he's one of the funniest guys in the league?
Fear the Sword: We have really learned to like and appreciate Delonte and know he is exactly the type of player every team should have in their locker room. He can do it all on the floor, whatever it takes, and is a team guy, not concerned with his own numbers or success. The sincerity in his voice when the Cavs signed him to the new deal, talking about “being wanted”, it really meant something to him. He probably could have fought for more money, or additional years, but he knows what the Cavaliers are trying to do and he has bought in to the program. Then, when he came out and talked about battling depression, again, very sincere in his gratefulness to the Cavaliers for their support. It showed me just how tough a man Delonte is. Since coming back he has been a man possessed and has won the starting spot at the 2.