The story we all wanted has finally come to fruition. The prodigal son has returned. Vanquishing the demons of 2010, the city of Cleveland rejoiced when the news filtered out that the best player in basketball, LeBron James, was coming home.
Many words were said back in 2010 but all has been forgiven and the King is ‘taking his talents’ to Cleveland. What does LeBron’s return mean for the Cavs? John Cronin discusses.
In 2010 Lebron left for South Beach because he felt the Cavaliers organisation was not providing him with an opportunity to win an NBA Championship. Player like Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison were no match for Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
This time around things are different, however. The Cavs now have another superstar in former No.1 Draft pick Kyrie Irving, a player who can help LeBron carry the offensive load. They also have a physical freak of nature in Andrew Wiggins, a player that possesses the potential to be a perennial all-star.
There are also reports that the Cavs are trying to trade for Kevin Love, This trio of Love, Irving and Wiggins would be a definite upgrade on the tandem of Wade and Bosh. The ‘Big Three’ are gone and a ‘Big Four’ would take over.
The Cavs are full of promise, but are still unproven. As bad as the Eastern conference was, they still failed to finish in one of the top eight spots.
The success of the Cavs in 2014 will hinge on the development of their young core, in particular Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins. On his day Kyrie can be one of the top five players in the league but he lacks consistency and also has trouble staying healthy.
Wiggins is coming in to a very unusual situation for a number one pick in the draft. While most number one picks are brought in to save a franchise and hope to compete for a championship in years to come, Wiggins will now be looking to become a solid contributor on a title contending team.
This may suit Wiggins; during his time in Kansas he was quite passive, but now he will be able to deflect the pressure onto Kyrie and LeBron, thus aiding his development. While Wiggins will be able to help the Cavs (especially on defence), do not expect a Magic-Johnson-1980-Finals performance.
The Cavs must also remember that James is no longer a young man. He has played a lot of basketball in in his eleven-year career, and can no longer be playing the type of minutes he played with the Heat.
The Cavs should adopt a system similar to the Spurs to ensure that James’ minutes are managed so he is fresh when it comes to the playoffs. Free agency is far from over and with LeBron you can attract high calibre free agents such as Mike Miller and future Hall of Famer Ray Allen who have expressed their desire of joining up with Lebron once more to make another run at a championship.
By default, the Cavs are this year’s favourites to come out of the East but can this line up best the Clippers, Thunder or the defending champions Spurs? It remains to be seen, but it’s going to be a fun ride. Welcome home King James!
John Cronin, Pundit Arena.