Before game two tips in Cleveland I was lucky enough to do a little back and fourth Q&A with Todd Dery (the brother of Matt Dery) over at the Cleveland Blog Waiting For Next Year (where they are counting down to a title). Todd was nice enough to answer a few question for me on the series while I answered a few of his over at WFNY.
N4S: As a Cavs fan, before the DET/CLE matchup was decided who was your ideal team to face in the first round?
Todd Dery: To be quite honest, I was hoping for Philly. Yes, they beat the Cavs on the last game of the season, but they did it without Lebron, Z, Mo Williams, and Joe Smith. Delonte West and Anderson Varejao only played a half, yet the Sixers needed OT to beat the Cavs third unit. I was actually scared of the Pistons. Thought they would take too much out of the Cavs for a first round series.
N4S: Who needs to play well (other than LeBron) to make things difficult for Detroit?
Todd Dery: It’s simple – the outside shooters have to hit their shots when the defense collapses on Lebron. Mo WIlliams, Wally Szczerbiak, Daniel Gibson, and Delonte West must keep shooting the ball they way they have over the last month or so. Gibson’s re-emergence has been a major key. His early and mid-season slumps pushed him out of the rotation for a while, but he has played his way back in by simply hitting shots. Also, Joe Smith has got to hit his mid-range shots. That gives the Cavs an extra-dynamic off the bench they didnt have when they had J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao as the bigs off the bench.
N4S: What do you make of the Tayshaun Prince/LeBron matchup, in that Prince is considered one of the premier defenders in the league? Do you think he does a good job on LeBron or does he need help like everyone else when it comes to stopping him?
Todd Dery: I honestly think Tayshaun is hurt. He has always done a nice job defending Lebron, but nobody can stop him one on one. Its the help defense that is the key. You must double Lebron and make everyone else beat you. The thing about Tayshaun is that Lebron has gotten stronger and quicker, while Tayshaun is starting to show signs of slowing down.
N4S: Who do you see as the biggest threat on the Pistons?
Todd Dery: Rip Hamilton is the biggest threat. No doubt about it. But Sheed always kills us. Time and time again he hits big threes late in games against the Cavaliers. He also seems to lose his cool the most against the Cavs as well.
N4S: Going into the series everyone (media and fans) seemed to look right past Detroit, do you think the team themselves are?
Todd Dery: Not a chance. This is a completely focused Cavaliers team. Lebron is on a mission. Look at the final regular season game. They had a chance to tie for the all-time best home record at 40-1 but had clinched the home court advantage already. Realistically, the game meant nothing, so the Cavs regulars all sat. When asked about why they did it, Lebron and coach Mike Brown echoed the same sentiment – the real goal is the NBA Title and everything else is meaningless.
N4S: Lastly, do you see LeBron staying in Cleveland once his contract is up and does the decision hinge on whether he wins a Championship or not?
Todd Dery: I’m from Cleveland, born and raised, so my initial response has always been to say he is gone win or lose in two years. But Lebron is a different cat. While he wants to be a “global icon,” which he already is, the thing he wants most is to win. If Cleveland is the place that gives him the best shot come next summer, then he will stay here. My gut tells me they will get a ring in the next two years and he will stay here, but on another three to four-year deal, which would give him another chance to go elsewhere at a relatively young age. When he signs his next deal, Lebron will be 25. Keep that in mind.
Thanks again go out to Todd and Waiting For Next Year for taking the time out to answer a few quiestions as well as getting a little Pistons point of view for Cavs fans.