It took Marreese Speights 10 hours to decide he wanted to play for the Cavaliers. It took 10 minutes for coach Byron Scott to be glad he did.
Speights has been fantastic since his trade to the Cavs, averaging 15.4 points and 6.8 rebounds while providing some much-needed depth in the frontcourt over the last four games. He has surprised even Scott with both his play and his fiery approach to the game.
When the Cavs were dragging through a lackluster loss at Detroit on Friday, it was Speights who tried igniting them with a powerful dunk and a jumper on consecutive possessions, then turned and roared toward the bench, pleading with anyone else to join him.
Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he scored eight consecutive points for the Cavs and 10-of-13 during a huge stretch midway through the fourth quarter. Speights kept the Cavs in the game long enough for Kyrie Irving to close it out over the final five minutes.
When the Cavs first obtained him, Scott considered Speights to be simply a spot-up jump shooter because that's what he primarily was with the Philadelphia 76ers. But Speights is proving to be a gritty defender and a great communicator, something Scott has been searching for all season. Speights finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds Saturday, falling one point shy of his season high.
"I didn't know he was that fiery," Scott said. "I didn't know he played this style of basketball. From what I saw in Philly, he was a guy who was primarily a catch-and-shoot guy, a perimeter big guy, who could stretch the floor. The first game we had him here, I saw he was much more than that."
Before the Cavaliers could trade Jon Leuer to the Memphis Grizzlies for Speights, Wayne Ellington and a first-round pick, Speights had to agree to the deal. It took him 10 hours to say yes.
Speights had to waive his Bird rights in order for the Grizzlies to deal him. Since the Cavs are under the salary cap, the only real value for Speights was it essentially gave him veto power over the deal.
Speights didn't take long to decide he wanted to play for Cavs
Akron Beacon Journal | Feb 4