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Thread: A.V. Club: Playoffs are Varejao's coming out party

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    Administrator stuart's Avatar
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    Default A.V. Club: Playoffs are Varejao's coming out party

    With big names like LeBron, Kobe, Nash... a lot of periphral players have come up big in the 2006 NBA playoffs. I've been meaning to start a thread about previously-players making themselves known during the playoffs; Devin Harris and Jason Terry last night, Andres Nocioni against the Heat, and Anderson Varejao has really turned up his performances with his great defense. Varejao is setting picks, rolling to the hoop, taking charges, visably frustrating Rasheed Wallace, and raising his overall intensity level.

    And of course, there is his hair. The Anderson Varejao Club... or the AV Club for short.

    Found on FoxSports: Link to text

    Playoffs are Varejao's coming out party
    The Cleveland Cavaliers are not going to advance past the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference semis.

    Not this year. I'd bet a pizza that your mom would fully welcome a Mother's Day present of getting her head shaved before we'll see Cleveland at the opening jump-ball of the 2006 Eastern Conference finals.
    However, something's brewing this particular series, and it's far more important to the long-term development of LeBron and the Cavaliers: The emergence of 6-foot-10 forward Anderson Varejao.

    With 16 points against Detroit on Saturday, the wild-haired Varejao looked less like famed Australian yuksmith Yahoo Serious, and more like a serious threat to separate himself from the rest of the James Gang as the team's premier option inside.

    During the Pistons series, the Brazilian big-man is averaging 12.3 points, a nice jump from the 4.6 points he dropped in the regular season. If Anderson Varejao can carry his play from the past month and a half into the 2006-07 season, the Cavaliers may not be known as "LeBron & The James Gang" much longer, but rather "King James & the A.V. Club."

    During most of Varejao's first two years with the Cavaliers, he's been a high-energy guy in extended spots. The rest of the time, he was an injured bystander. He was a seat on the bench, a seat that was good for a handful of rebounds, some garbage points, a few fouls, and a floor burn. He was merely a witness, long before Nikespeak informed us that we all are.

    Now, as we watch LeBron grow up in his very first postseason, Anderson Varejao might just be turning into the second-most important piece in the Cavaliers' puzzle.

    Still only 23 years old, Varejao is developing into a perfect complement to James on the interior. Next season, this will become even more apparent, as he grabs even more minutes, and scores more baby hooks over Ben Wallace.

    So, let's examine exactly why Varejao is such a good complementary player to LeBron. As far as offensive skills are concerned, A.V. will never get mistakenly asked to sign "Dirk Nowitzki" on a souvenir, but he does have good handle. That was evidenced on Saturday by his successfully sick behind-the-back drive from half-court straight to the basket in the first half. When LeBron and the Cavs push tempo, big men sometimes find themselves needing make those kinds of plays, and Varejao can.

    Varejao is also very efficient with clean-up buckets on the inside, while still stepping out to drain the mid-range jumper. He'll probably never average 20 points a game, but playing with LeBron, he'll never need to. Who knows though, LeBron's such a great passer that he just might.

    Either way, as long as he continues to successfully finish off pick-and-rolls with LeBron, score the ball when number 23 draws three defenders, all while providing infectious energy on the glass, he'll be money. For the sake of the Cavaliers, Varejao will need to be, especially as Zydrunas Ilguaskas enters his personal late-Sabonis period.

    Listed at 6-foot-10, Varejao's nowhere close to Z's height, but lengthy arms allow him to play much taller than that. He's active, and runs the floor as hard as some of the more athletic big men in the game. This series alone, chasing down A.V. has been far more taxing for the Wallaces than it has been trying to keep up with the lumbering gait of Iljogskaus.

    In the last month of the regular season, Anderson Varejao gave a small glimpse of what we're seeing now against Detroit. In early April, Varejao's energy and hustle was as apparent as it's always been. However, this time around, that effort started to consistently produce more impressive numbers.

    Varejao averaged 7.9 points and 8.5 rebounds in his last 11 games of the regular season, including a 14-point, 18-rebound outburst against the Hawks in the finale.

    In the playoffs, Varejao has slowly but surely approached high levels of beastliness. In the first round, he had 10 rebounds in 19 minutes during the deciding Game 6 victory over Washington. He's been good for a rebound roughly every three minutes otherwise.

    Plus, in the Pistons series, along with veteran Donyell Marshall, Varejao has helped make teammates Zydrunas Ilguaskas and Drew Gooden look more like afterthoughts, gobbling up the important frontcourt minutes during crunch time.

    Varejao has arrived, and I know that this may not be a young player elevating himself by blowing up in the playoffs. It could be a big-man having the series of his career, that he can't maintain over 82 games. In the NBA playoffs, we see that every year.

    However, I think Anderson Varejao is a big-man who's here to stay. What I didn't expect was to see him firmly holding second seat in LeBron's fiddle section this soon, and that's exactly what happened in Saturday's 86-77 win over Detroit.

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    Administrator stuart's Avatar
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    Some great photos from the Detroit-Cleveland series...

    Stuart
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    Senior Member asdzas's Avatar
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    Anderson has been playing very well in the playoffs. His energy is amazing and his defense improved a lot since he arrived in the NBA. He is helping lebron james with pick and rolls and is scoring inside. When the Cavs play at home they should let Varejão play a lot,because the just crowd loves him and that makes the team play better.
    Very nice to see two brazilians playing well in the playoffs.

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