Cavaliers (3-12) at Hawks (9-4)
Danny Ferry took some grief for his time in Cleveland (mostly from uneducated fans), but it wasn’t because Ferry failed to do his job.
Ferry was the Cavaliers’ GM from 2005-10, also known as the era of You Know Who. And LeBron James was clearly the biggest reason the Cavs made their lone Finals appearance in 2007 — but Ferry had a little something to do with it, too.
Don’t ignore that.
While this isn’t the place to retrace some of Ferry’s best transactions, just know he did all he could to build around James. And aside from the playoff disappointments (which James also suffered in his first year in Miami with a stacked team), Ferry seemed to have the pieces in place.
Otherwise, the Cavs wouldn’t have finished with the NBA’s best record (and 60-plus wins) in back-to-back seasons.
Today, Ferry is the man in charge of the Atlanta Hawks. He took the job this past summer and immediately made an impact — trading resident standout Joe Johnson to New Jersey and small forward Marvin Williams to Utah. In return, the Hawks got received a bunch of expiring contracts, and that’s always a major plus in today’s NBA.
As for the actual players … well, no one was sure they would really help. Everyone loves Lou Williams, who came from Philadelphia, but other newcomers like Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow and Devin Harris have experienced mostly up-and-down careers.
Yet all the new Hawks, coupled with holdovers Al Horford and Josh Smith, have been a hit so far.
Early in the season, it looks as if Ferry has already assembled the type of team most fans covet — good today, and equipped for the future with movable assets.
“We can and will get better,” Ferry told me a few weeks back.
With the way Ferry has built the Hawks so far, and what he did with the Cavs before that, you really can’t do anything but believe him.
Philips Arena, Atlanta
7:30 p.m. EST
FOX Sports Ohio HD (Cavaliers Live pre-game show begins at 7 p.m.)
Cleveland – WTAM-1100 AM (broadcast begins at 7 p.m.)
C – Anderson Varejao; PF – Tristan Thompson; SF – Alonzo Gee; SG – Dion Waiters; PG – Jeremy Pargo. Coach: Byron Scott.
C – Al Horford; PF – Josh Smith; SF – DeShawn Stevenson; SG – Devin Harris; PG – Jeff Teague. Coach: Larry Drew.
Kyle Korver (back spasms) is out for the Hawks. … Daniel Gibson (elbow) is a game-time decision for the Cavs. … The Hawks own the NBA’s longest winning streak at six. … This if the first game of the fifth back-to-back (already) for the Cavs of the young season. Ridiculous. … Varejao has posted six double-doubles this season. … Horford is the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week. … The Hawks lead all-time, 109-93, and have won seven straight in the series. … Drew and Scott were teammates with the Lakers. Drew assisted Scott when Scott was the head coach of the New Jersey Nets. … Cavs GM Chris Grant was assistant GM in Atlanta. Grant worked for the Hawks in various capacities for nine years. … Current Hawks assistant GM Wes Wilcox spent nine years in the Cavs’ front office. This is his first year with the Hawks. … First-year Hawks VP of public relations Garan Narain worked in the Cavs’ communications department from 2003-12.