Unfortunately, Ben Wallace broke his leg last night and the early prognosis is that he might be back in time for the playoffs. Fortunately, the Cavaliers are familiar with the D-League. With this injury, an opening for a big on the Cavs roster becomes available. If the rumors that Joe Smith wants to stay in OKC are true, that leaves one (main) option: The Wonderful D-League. I give you a few options, you pick one, call him up, and the rest, as they say, is history. Thanks for playing, Cleveland.
Behind door number one: A banger. I'm talking about a 6'9", 255 pound bruiser with a nose for rebounds. A late second round pick, but never really got a look in the NBA, thanks to Don Nelson's non-love of young'n's. He is strong as an ox and has a good awareness of what's going on out on the court. Richard Hendrix, a rookie out of Alabama, seems to be the best fit for Cleveland in the D-League right now. He doesn't have ideal size, but he's powerful, with his only downfall being similar to Ben Wallace's: He's only great at rebounding/defending (but only in the post). Granted, he's got a decent back to the basket game, but you take away his right hand and he's lost. Averaging 14 points, 11.6 rebounds, and over a block and a half a game, his best game of the D-League season has been a 30 point, 18 rebound outburst.
Behind door number two: A guy that's been here before. A 6'11", 260 pound finesser. He's familiar with the Cleveland system, he's possibly the smartest player in the D-League (He writes books!), known as a tireless worker and a terrific teammate. Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Lance Allred. Allred spent awhile with the Cavs last season, even making it onto their playoff squad. I can't do this paragraph any justice, however, compared to what our old friend Matt Moore wrote after Allred received his call-up to the Cavs last season, so instead I'll link you to that. Allred is averaging 14 points and nine boards, leading his Idaho Stampede to a 21-13 record.
Behind door number three: Similar to Mr. Allred, this man is also familiar with the Cleveland playbook, having appeared in nine games this season with the Cavs. Although he's not the ideal replacement for Ben Wallace, as he's a combo-forward, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cavs bring him in for another look. Jawad Williams seemed to fit in very well with the Cavs, making the team out of the preseason, and only being cut to bring in Trey Johnson after a myriad of non-bigman injuries. Last night, Williams made his case, as told by Jonah Goldberg of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers:
Down 104-97 with 5:55 left, Jawad Williams hit three-straight baskets for the Vipers, including a pair of three-pointers, to tie the game at 105-105 with 4:11 remaining. Williams had 19 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter while accounting for 52.8% of the Vipers' offense in the frame.
RGV won 122-116. Williams is clutch.
Others that should receive heavy consideration:
Dwayne Jones, a former Cav himself, also warrants a look. I've been very impressed with his game in the D-League, not yet having seen a flaw in his game. Although it is the D-League, he's efficient on offense, excellent on defense, and has been cleaning the glass. He also seems like a great guy on the court. Since coming to the D-League, he's averaging 13 points, 9.6 boards, and 1.4 blocks per game.
Courtney Sims, as usual, is a top priority. Sims is averaging 22 points and 11 boards in the D-League, has already had two call-ups ( both to the Suns), and is shooting 60% from the field. Unfortunately, he seems to have been playing a bit timid as of late. That, along with his Iowa Energy losing five of their last six with Sims in the lineup, pains me to put him ahead of the other three.