Anderson Varejao is playing like an All-Star.
He may not get much attention playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, but the big man with the big hair has been dominating inside and is playing as well as anyone in the first few games of the season.
If he can stay healthy and keep playing like this, Varejao is going to help the Cavs win some games and he will start to receive more national respect.
During his previous eight years in Cleveland,Varejao has gained a reputation as someone who hustles, works hard for rebounds and plays tough defense. He is also known for occasionally falling to the floor when taking a charge. Some may call this flopping, but for the Cavs it has just looked like great defense.
In the PK era (Post-King) of the last two seasons, the Cavs had poor records and Varejao was hurt for the majority of each season.
Nationally, with the team losing and Varejao out of the line-up, he was pretty much forgotten about.
This year, though, he is making a statement, at least in the early going.
In the Cavs opening night victory over the Washington Wizards, Varejao had a monster game and finished the night with 23 rebounds. His rebounding included 12 offensive boards, which gave the Cavs extra possessions all night and was key to the victory.
For much of the game, it looked like Varejao was in position to grab every rebound. He also passed out 9 assists and scored 9 points, while still being a leader on defense.
Varejao drew charges on two straight possessions at one point in the game. Some critics may have wondered if the charges would have really knocked Varejao over as they did, even pushing him back a few feet, but he got the call each time and the Cavs got the ball.
He followed that up with two other solid outings, including pulling down 17 rebounds and scoring 20 points in the Cavs controversial loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Heading into Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Varejao was averaging 13.7 points per game and 15 rebounds a game, which was tied for best in the league for rebounding with Zach Randolph. He was also averaging 3.7 assists per game.
Varejao’s numbers look great, but the numbers don’t even tell the whole story. The big man from Brazil is all over the floor, constantly making the hustle plays his young team needs. He battles for rebounds, makes the right passes, works hard on defense and is serving as a leader.
Big men such as Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum may get most of the national attention in the post, but Varejao is playing better than anyone.
Cavs fans are watching him closely and hoping he will be able to stay healthy. Most of all, though, they’re just enjoying seeing Varejao and his big head of hair flying around the court once again.