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Sports


Terry Pluto on Cavs' Irving, Waiters and the patience of age
Remarks by the Cleveland Browns' Josh Gordon raised questions about the two Cavaliers stars meshing on the court
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert with point guard and 2011-2012 NBA Rookie Of The Year Kyrie Irving.
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With radio, TV and social media, a comment by a celebrity can be anywhere and everywhere at the speed of an electron. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto explains what that meant recently for some local sports figures.

LISTEN: Pluto on spats among young sports stars

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It was an unusual moment in local sports this week when two Cleveland Cavaliers stars went before reporters and cameras to talk about a Cleveland Browns star talking about them.

"Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving wanted to refute reports that they had a rift and they don’t like each other," Terry Pluto says. "So they had a kumbaya press conference and I have to admit... there are times when I feel really old and talking about this story. Because you’ve got a couple early twenties basketball players—Waiters was the number one pick in 2012, Irving in 2011. It almost sounds like junior high stuff. Who doesn’t like who, who’s not passing the ball, and who’s mad at whom. What makes this a little different, it wasn’t another basketball player that brought all this up again."

Browns receiver Josh Gordon's comments
"He was being interviewed by ESPN, I think he mentioned he lived in the same apartment complex as Dion Waiters and they’re buddies," Pluto said. "Which then led to ESPN to ask, over the course of this year-- you can go back to last year-- there was kind of a division between Waiters and Irving. But it’s more about who controls the ball. It’s not about I don’t like this guy or that guy. Because actually these two go back way before they went to the Cavaliers to AAU ball. These younger basketball players, they’ve known the top 25 to 50 players in the country about since the time they were 14 because of all the summer league travel teams. So they all see each other. And frankly, guess what? I don’t care if they like each other."

Can they get along on the court?
"The Cavs have all these stats called catch and shoot," Pluto said. "So I throw the ball to you and you immediately shoot it. What percentage of the shots are you making from different distances? Dion Waiters is much better at that than Kyrie Irving. Which tells you that Dion Waiters can do this moving without the ball catching shooting stuff. But he’s not used to it."

"[Fans] want to see Irving and Waiters play well together and the Cavs make the playoffs," Pluto said. "But both of these guys are used to having the ball in their hands. That doesn’t mean they’re used to taking all the shots, but they’re used to generating offense. And so it’s really hard for them to learn an old school technique which is called moving without the ball. So say when Kyrie Irving has the ball that means Dion Waiters is running around some picks to get open for a shot."

"Dion Waiters is averaging 19 points since the All-Star break," Pluto said. "He played several of those games without Kyrie Irving and it was kind of a revelation because people saw how good Waiters can be when he started playing a game that’s comfortable for him. Irving has had some very big games when Waiters hasn’t played. So the temptation says you need to get rid of one of these. But sometimes that’s how you take the chance at having a really good team and messing it up. As opposed to giving this time to see if these two young guys in their early twenties can play. Meanwhile there’s a Browns receiver has an opinion on this."

Pluto's opinion matches Irving's
"What I’m saying is exactly what Kyrie is saying: Get out of my life and stick with the Browns," Pluto said. "Yes, did Dion Waiters some night when they’re playing pool at the complex spout off about Kyrie Irving handling the ball too much? Yes, I bet he did. Just like there were probably nights when Josh Gordon spouted off on how Brandon Weeden didn’t throw him enough balls. But my guess is Waiters didn’t go on ESPN."

In the end, the ordeal could wind up being a good thing for the Cavaliers, and the relationship between Irving and Waiters. 

"Actually it’ll probably help them because they’ll both be mad at Josh Gordon," Pluto said. 

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