DETROIT -- Was it just two seasons ago that the Cleveland Cavaliers had a 57-victory season and appeared to be ready to join the NBA's elite? By now, the Cavs -- rather than the Chicago Bulls -- were supposed to be Detroit's primary challenger in the Eastern Conference. But the Cavs are in transition.
One wonders how good they would be with a trimmer Brad Daugherty at center and a healthy Ron Harper at shooting guard.
But general manager Wayne Embry placed the Cavs on this road to uncertainty when he traded Harper and two first-round draft choices to the Los Angeles Clippers for the rights to Danny Ferry.
Nearly one year and $34 million later, Ferry made his professional debut with a resounding "big deal." Ferry shot a collective 5-for-17 from the floor in his first two games, including a six-point effort against the Pistons last Saturday.
Despite Ferry's NBA breeding -- his father, Bob, was Washington's former general manager -- he is going to need plenty of time to learn its nuances and find out how best to mesh his skills with those of his teammates.
But in the interim, he and Embry will be under constant scrutiny because Daugherty finally looks ready to take his place among the league's best centers. However, the Cavs still have a major void at shooting guard.
"I told Danny to just go and play and let me handle the criticism," Embry said. "He's just started. It's impossible to draw any conclusions after just two games -- or even just one season. One season doesn't make a career."
Ferry will be a good pro. He can play all three front-court positions and is an excellent passer for a big man. His reputation was built around brains, but he has already shown isn't timid about using some brawn. That muscle might be needed to fight through the thick wall of pressure he's under this season.
"I try not to think about it at all," Ferry said. "That's probably going to be impossible to do, because everybody's going to be asking about it every place I go."
The Denver Nuggets traded two first-round draft choices to move up and land Chris Jackson because he was supposed to be the t point guard that soon-to-be coach Paul Westhead wanted for his up-tempo style.
Now Westhead is moving Jackson back to shooting guard because he's not comfortable at the point.
"The point is clearly not his strength," Westhead said.
Jackson thinks he's a decent point guard, but doesn't run at the breakneck pace Westhead demands from that position.
"I'd like to say that I bring it upcourt quickly," Jackson said. "But I don't want to be out of control."