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Cavs' youngsters lacking confidence

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06:20 PM ET 01.10 | This season hasn't been an easy one for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Perhaps that was to be expected. On top of the team lacking much firepower to go along with the stellar play of second-year point guard Kyrie Irving, the Cavs saw the emergence of forward Anderson Varejao, who was averaging upwards of 14 rebounds per game to lead the NBA, before he injured his knee on Dec. 18. With a 9-28 record through 37 games, coach Byron Scott is now tasked with keeping the confidence of his young players, especially rookie Tyler Zeller. "Sometimes he's holding [the ball], he turns around, he's looking. Maybe from your guys' standpoint it looks like he panics. Even from my standpoint, at times," Scott told the Akron Beacon Journal. "That's where I tell him he has to be more decisive. I'd rather he'd shoot the ball than turn it over."

Akron Beacon

, Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports
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January 10, 2013  11:55 PM ET

starting 2 rookies and 2 second year players isnt easy- but they are getting valuable experience and developing quickly since they are playing big minutes and being counted on during crunch time

rebuilding isnt with some pain- but on the other side there will be a lot of wins...

the haters better get in their hate this year...because next year when the Cavs are the 4 seed and beat the Knicks in the playoffs (who will be the 5 seed- (if thy are lucky) you will all be crying! lol

January 10, 2013  11:57 PM ET

by the way...

knicks 5-7 in their last 12 huh?

I would take the Heat, Bulls, Pacers, Celtics in a second in a playoff series over the Bricks who have exactly 0 players who play both offense and defense

now that their luck ran out shooting 3's they are screwed

January 11, 2013  12:35 AM ET

In every professional draft, no matter what the sport, there are always players who fly under the radar and are considered to be a steal for whatever team is able to pick them up on draft day. Well, for the 2012 NBA draft, that underrated player just happens to be 22-year-old UNC center, Tyler Zeller.

According to NBADraft.net, Zeller is currently slated to be drafted in the No. 12 slot by the Milwaukee Bucks. However, despite being a projected lottery pick, Zeller is still being underrated by NBA couts and will be the "steal" of the lottery, if such a thing exists. Here's why:



Zeller's Outstanding Athleticism

For a guy who's a legit seven-feet tall and weighs 250 pounds, Zeller possesses terrific athleticism. Coming into the NBA, Zeller will be faster than most centers, and can run up the floor and score in transition as well as any other big man in the draft. He's got excellent leaping ability, which will help him block shots and continue to be an above-average rebounder at the next level.

Zeller's athleticism will help him adjust once he gets into the NBA. Zeller will surprise a lot of people with his ability in the pick-and-roll game, as his superior footwork will allow him to beat opponents to the rim.



His Arsenal of Offensive Weapons

Zeller isn't just a one-trick pony, which is the case for other big men in the draft (Andre Drummond in particular) who don't show the ability to adjust their offensive game to put the ball in the hoop. Zeller doesn't have that problem. He can score off the pick-and-roll, he can post-up down low and score close to the rim, and he can score in transition with the best of them, as previously mentioned.

If Zeller can find success at the next level with his hook, he's going to be a formidable offensive weapon for whatever team he winds up playing for.

On top of all of that, Zeller can also shoot from the outside. When he's given the time to set his feet and square up to the basket, he has very solid range for a guy his size.

Simply put, Zeller is an offensive force who has shown he has numerous ways to score the basketball. He's a threat to score whenever the ball is in his hands on the offensive end, which makes him highly dangerous to play against, and at his best he's a tough matchup for anyone in the league.


The Sky is the Limit For Zeller

If you're an NBA GM and you decide to draft Tyler Zeller, at the absolute worst you're going to get a player who's very intelligent, can score and can give you decent defense. Basically, the minimum you'll get is a big man that can come off the bench, knock down some free throws, give you solid minutes and be a great contributor for many years.

However, the upside with Zeller is enormous. A player with his amount of athleticism and scoring ability, could turn into a terrific player. If Zeller can continue to get stronger and maintain his speed and quickness advantages, he could be scary good. And if he can develop his left hand and add a left hook shot to his offensive arsenal, he'll be a great player for years to come.

The bottom line is that Zeller could turn out to be a great player, and at the worst he'll be a solid one. That is the main reason why he is the most underrated player in the draft. His upside is tremendous, and if he gets coached the right way and is put into the right system, the sky is truly the limit.

January 11, 2013  12:36 AM ET

The bottom line is that Zeller could turn out to be a great player, and at the worst he'll be a solid one. That is the main reason why he is the most underrated player in the draft. His upside is tremendous, and if he gets coached the right way and is put into the right system, the sky is truly the limit.

January 11, 2013  12:44 AM ET

Reason to Believe: The fantastic four first-rounders



OK, so maybe they haven't gone by that name just yet, but they definitely should.

Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller are all first-round picks of the Cavaliers the past two seasons and offer the franchise plenty of promise.

Irving (23.5 points, 5.6 assists) could make the All-Star team in just his second pro season, and backcourt mate Waiters (14.1 points, 3.2 assists) is helping to carry the scoring load as well.

Tristan Thompson is thriving with Anderson Varejao out and is close to averaging a double-double for the season at 9.7 points and 9.1 rebounds a night.

Zeller has worked his way into the starting lineup and continues to develop his game.

The Cavs are way ahead of where they were two seasons ago, even if their record doesn't reflect it yet.

January 11, 2013  01:13 AM ET

In 11 games since Anderson Varejao suffered his quadriceps injury, Thompson has blossomed in his more featured role, averaging 13.1 points and 12.5 rebounds. Even his free-throw shooting -- typically his Achilles' heel -- has been solid in that span, 70.8 percent.

January 11, 2013  10:15 AM ET

You Either Have It Or You Don't, Bros.

 
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