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Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

Discussion in 'Cavs Talk' started by wuck, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. wuck

    wuck Hustling on the inside Staff Member

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    Former Cleveland Cavalier Zydrunas Ilgauskas tutors big men Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller
    Jodie Valade, The Plain Dealer By Jodie Valade, The Plain Dealer
    on January 10, 2013 at 9:06 PM,

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Anyone associated with the Cavaliers will tell you that Zydrunas Ilgauskas, beloved alum and fan favorite, is more than just a guy who works with the current big men on occasion.

    Ilgauskas' official title with the Cavaliers is special assistant to general manager. He travels to scout college players. He evaluates talent in the league. He helps General Manager Chris Grant plot and plan and construct the roster.

    But he's also 7-3, has two All-Star appearances and 13 seasons of experience on his resume.

    When Ilgauskas gives Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller, the Cavaliers' two young big men, advice on how to execute and finish, you had better believe they listen.

    So while Thompson and Zeller have credited both Ilgauskas and assistant coach Jamahl Mosley -- who has worked, at length, with Thompson in particular -- with improvements in recent weeks, ears perk up at the mention of Ilgauskas.

    "You can't teach 7-3," Zeller said. "He's still got quick hands. And he's just got the height. He jumps about this high [fingers held 1 inch apart], but somehow, he still blocks shots."

    In recent weeks, Thompson and Zeller have learned from Ilgauskas some valuable tips on how to finish around the basket. But even more beneficial might be that both young, big men have had the opportunity to try to score on Ilgauskas as they learn.

    "It's a little different when you've got somebody 7-3, with his wingspan, guarding you," said Cavaliers coach Byron Scott. "You have to learn how to get it [the shot] up quicker. You have to learn how to be able to maneuver around a guy like that."

    The bulk of the day-to-day drills still comes from Mosley, who coaches the big men and has worked closely with Thompson during his two seasons in the NBA. 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.

    "We knew that if we continued to work with his offensive game and if he continued to put the work in that, he would continue to get better," Scott said. "Right now, I think he has a comfort level down there and he's having success, so right now, he's just playing at a very high level. It's affected his whole game."

    Zeller has been solid in starting 11 games in place of Varejao, averaging 10.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 34.5 minutes. In recent weeks, he has learned a lot from Ilgauskas -- a player he aspires to emulate.

    Ilgauskas wasn't available to speak to the media Thursday.

    "Obviously, he's done it and he's been very good at it," Zeller said. "He's definitely a great asset for us, and we enjoy working with him."

    Not only learning from Ilgauskas, but learning against him has also been valuable, Thompson said.

    "You don't get that luxury very often in the NBA. There aren't a lot of coaches who are 7-3," Thompson said. "And if they are, they're probably retired or playing golf somewhere.

    "He can still play, if he wanted to."

    The Cavaliers have an open roster spot, in case anyone is wondering.


    http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2013/01/former_cleveland_cavalier_zydr.html
     
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  2. RealKingsFan

    RealKingsFan New Member

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    I don't think any other team has the benefit that these two young bigs have in Big Z, they have a veteran of the game teaching them and a great human being to learn from as well. Kudos to Big Z taking time to iron out the kinks in the young big men.
     
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  3. ice cream man

    ice cream man New Member

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    Z could probably come out of retirement if he wanted to. Not that he'd be in basketball shape right this second. I'm sure there a few teams that would offer him a contract (BOS, GS, MIA, LA....)

    EDIT: Just saw the last couple lines of the article. He'd probably still be the 2nd best big on our team.
     
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  4. Len

    Len Well-Known Member

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    All part of that master plan. 2014 he will be ready to rejoin Lebron.


    Seriously though: I think big Z is helping more than Coach Mo. Loving the impact of Big Z, and can't wait for his number to be retired.
     
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  5. Pyro

    Pyro Banned

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    So about that jersey retirement... we gonna get to that anytime soon?
     
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  6. Giambiwannabe7

    Giambiwannabe7 New Member

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    Does Big Z have the plaque for Employee of the Month on permanent lockdown or what? Holy shit does this guy do work. I mean, I guess I knew all the hats he's wearing, but to see it all on paper kind of gives some perspective to how invaluable he is making himself in the organization.

    It's a little more than a coincidence what we're seeing out of TT lately. Yes, Andy going down may give him a couple extra boards a night, but it sure as hell doesn't explain the newfound confidence and swag he's been struttin around with. It doesn't justify how much better his post game looks, either.

    It's honestly why I have very little concern with little Z right now. As long as big Z is around to help the rook out, I really have little doubt he becomes a very viable rotational big.

    Now, can we get Ron Harper in here for Dion or what??:chuckles:
     
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  7. apolo29

    apolo29 New Member

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    I love how you average close to a double double in your second year and you're still projected as a rotational big..
     
  8. PosterTime

    PosterTime you wot m8?

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    The SmknJoe was referring to Zeller.
     
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  9. mcfly

    mcfly Well-Known Member

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    I like Z as much as the next Cleveland fan, but is the production we are seeing out of Thompson more a result of the teachers ability to teach, or the students ability to learn and work hard?
     
  10. Hydroponic3385

    Hydroponic3385 Snitches get stitches

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    It's not either/or, it's both/and.
     
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  11. Sumac13

    Sumac13 Heretic

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    I would add Clifford Ray of your Sac Kings, too. Glad to see Z still an integral part of the Cavaliers. Seems a bit strange not to have any (am I missing someone) former Cavaliers from the late 80's/early 90s not involved more with the team in some respect.
     
  12. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Guardian of the Cavaliers

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    I like it..They had to use Z to mentor these young guys..before he got hurt he had some above average foot skills.
     
  13. Jon

    Jon ~

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    Are the Cavs really that fast on damage control that they got Valade to mention Mosely twice in the article?
     
  14. stycool24

    stycool24 Stycool

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    Really Jon? Can we just keep this dicussion in the other thread? :)
     
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  15. Jon

    Jon ~

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    Feel free?
     
  16. Cavatt

    Cavatt Well-Known Member

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    Mosely is the guy that says Tristsns potential is sky high. At the very least you have to credit mosely with improving TT's ft%. Coaching is great, but having a vet who was the 2nd tallest guy in the league and is just removed from playing means he can execute at nba speed
     
  17. Jon

    Jon ~

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    I thought Byron got the credit for asking Tristan to take a step to the side when shooting them?

    It's very hard as fans to judge assistant coaches. We can only judge them by results & the actions of the organization. If Tristan and Tyler were progressing like we hoped, would Z have been involved? Was he called in to be the cherry on top? Or was he called in because CG was disappointed with the way things were going?

    Something that's always had me scratching my head as a fan is that there are clearly people who understand how to teach specific skills very well. Why aren't they brought in or hired when needed? Heck, there are some guys who are so good at what they do, they hold off-season camps that all the players serious about improving their games attend. Given there's no salary cap on coaches, why don't we bring those type of guys in?

    Instead we just let our head coaches continue to use the guys they're comfortable with. I don't get it.

    So, yeah, I'm glad to see Z involved and making an impact, but why now?
     
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  18. Giambiwannabe7

    Giambiwannabe7 New Member

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    I may not coach basketball, but as a baseball coach and someone who has played all kinds of sports for years, I think it's a combination of things that make Z effective. First, he's fresh out of the league. He's got cred. Also, his height his undeniable and something nearly impossible for another coach to replicate. One of the other things, though, is that sometimes 2 guys will explain/show things in completely different ways. It's not that guy #1 was some horrible coach, but sometimes guy #2's approach/delievery makes more sense. Two guys can preach the same message, but with different words, and it can affect the same people completely different. As coaches, we often attend clinics from HS and College coaches to try and gain perspective and innovative/new ways to teach. It's a very important aspect of coaching. It doesn't necessarily make Mosely or BS bad at what they do that Z can seemingly make a "breakthrough" difference. It just means that sometimes a new voice can deliver the same message in a much more effective way.

    Just my 2 cents
     
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  19. KB

    KB Well-Known Member

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    I bet part of it's the accent.

    Seriously

    When you speak with some who has a different accent you tend to listen more actively because you're not use to the tone.

    If you do sales over the phone give yourself a fake accent you'd be surprised to see how much more attention people will pay to you, it's weird.
     
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  20. Jon

    Jon ~

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    This isn't about whether Scott or Mosley are incompetent, it's about whether we're doing everything we can possibly do to get the most out of our players ... and doing it ... yesterday.

    If we had drafted Andre Drummond, I would have been screaming that the Cavs needed to hire somebody to babysit him, help him tie his shoes, make his food, show him how to train ... and somebody (perhaps the same person) to show him the ropes in the NBA, how to play as a big, and use his abilities. Given the millions invested in players, there's simply no reason not to go all out.

    The risks aren't the same with Tristan, Tyler, Dion and Kyrie as they would be with Andre, but none of our young players are going to reach their ceilings as quick as they might unless they're given the best possible instruction and environment. Why not invest in this?
     
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