'We're trying to develop guys and best support the Cavs': Brendon Yu shares his insight so far on this season of Charge basketball

Brendon Yu, general manager of the Cleveland Charge, shares his insight on how the season is gone and what to expect from the team going forward.

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A few days before Christmas, the NBA G League showcase took place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The marquee event was the expanded NBA G League Showcase Cup Tournament, a single-elimination tournament where eight teams will compete for the Showcase Cup Championship. The teams who didn't qualify for the event played two games outside of the Showcase Cup Tournament.

Unfortunately, with an overall record of 6-6, the Cleveland Charge did not qualify for the Showcase Cup Tournament. Those honors went to the Wisconsin Herd, the Motor City Cruise and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the top three teams in the G League's Central Division. Instead, the Charge got the honors of taking on the Salt Lake City Stars, the former Showcase Cup Champions, and the Stockton Kings. Cleveland dropped both contests due to their roster being impacted by so many NBA Call-Ups.

Sure, a difference of two games between the Charge and the Cruise or Herd keeping them out of the Tournament seems a little disappointing. It would have been nice to see first-year coach Dan Geriot continue to build his vision. But, it also isn't as disappointing when looking at the grand scheme of the organization as well.

"I don't know if I would say it was disappointing," said Brendon Yu, general manager of the Cleveland Charge. "Obviously you're always hoping for that, but I think we understand the long-term picture of, we're trying to develop guys and best support the Cavs. That's always our primary goal, even more so than winning.

"Hopefully, those two things kind of line up and the winning comes with it. But, if you told me that the Cleveland Charge could either, win the G League Showcase or develop two or three NBA rotation players. I'm taking the rotation players 10 out of 10 times."

So far, Yu's hopes are already coming to fruition as several key members of their roster have received NBA call-ups in the last few days. Sure, guys like Tacko Fall and R.J. Nembhard, who are both on two-way deals with the Cavaliers, have seen action. But, Norvel Pelle, who has averaged 8.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game this season with the Charge, was recently signed to a 10-day hardship deal with the Boston Celtics. Justin James, one of Cleveland's leading scorers, meanwhile, signed a 10-day hardship deal with the New Orleans Pelicans and could play Tuesday against the Cavaliers.

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Charge general manager Brendon Yu (left) has worked in tandem with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman (right) to make a cohesive and collaborative player-develop product in the NBA G League.

Finally, there's Tre Scott, who recently signed a 10-day hardship deal with the Cavaliers, as well. Scott has been with the main club for two games now but finally got some action in Cleveland's 144-99 blowout win over the Toronto Raptors. The former Cincinnati Bearcat played 9 minutes and scored 6 points on 3-6 shooting and chipped in 2 rebounds, a steal and a block as well. Those 6 points were also the first of Scott's NBA career.

"Like I said, the goal is to find and help develop rotation players or players for the NBA from the Charge," said Yu. "So, when we see so many of our own get called up like that, that's just such an awesome feeling. That's worth 10 wins, or however many wins you want to quantify it as for us. And to see it happen to Tre who's just an unbelievable human being, and he just became a new father like a month ago. I'm super pumped for him."

While there are only a handful of days remaining in Scott's initial 10-day deal, there is a chance he could stick around with the Cavaliers a bit longer. Heading into their Tuesday night tilt against New Orleans, Cleveland still has the opportunity to sign him to another 10-day deal while the roster recovers from COVID-19. But, if Scott continues to play well in limited bursts, nothing is stopping the Cavaliers from signing him for the remainder of the season as well.

"Hopefully, Tre Scott never comes back," jokes Yu. "Hopefully, he stays in the NBA with the Cavs, but if he ends up coming back down, he can continue to refine his game with us so he's ready. Guys like that, that have been grinding and improving day by day, I think that's the goal of the rest of the season, is just continue to help them get better and better and hopefully get their call-ups and stay there."

The fact that the Charge are becoming a player development powerhouse is a shared vision under Yu and through the guidance of Geriot. It also helps that they have the backing and support from the Cavaliers organization as well. Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff says quite often how he was a big advocate for moving the Charge from Canton to Cleveland due to the ability to rehabilitate and give playing time to members of the overall Cleveland basketball hierarchy.

Not only is that already happening, but, Yu shares that he and his staff are in constant communication with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman and his staff to help build not only a G League contender but a consistent player developer too. According to Yu, the Charge are trying to help push players like guard Malik Newman, who has had time in the NBA, into a bonafide bucket getter off the bench so that he can make it in the league permanently.

Newman has been key in victories for the Charge and, according to sources, is getting attention from NBA clubs due to his scoring acumen so his time will likely come soon enough. Cleveland doesn't return to the court until January 7 when they host the Capital City Go-Go. By then, Geriot might have practically a new roster to work with. Although that means the Charge will continue to lose talented players, it's just another step in Yu's overall goal.

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