The Cleveland Cavaliers are expecting a big season, following some very high-profile acquisition during the offseason.
2013-2014 Record: 33-49
Key Player: LeBron James
Offseason Acquisitions: Kevin Love, LeBron James, James Jones, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller
The Cleveland Cavaliers finally have a team that their fans can cheer for this season. In the weaker of the two conferences, Cleveland look set to dominate alongside their division foes, Chicago Bulls. The big offseason story has been the return of the prodigal son, LeBron James, to his home team, whom he led to the NBA finals in 2007 only to dramatically leave to join the “Big Three” in Miami. He now returns to Cleveland after winning two NBA championships with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
New Coach David Blatt now is in control of his own “Big Three”, with James and power forward Kevin Love joining existing point guard Kyrie Irving. Defending against the Cavaliers will be difficult with LeBron and Love both in the Top 5 scorers a year ago and Kyrie’s phenomenal ability to get to the basket. To compliment this star power, Cavs GM Dan Gilbert has invested in outside shooters Mike Miller and James Jones who are sure to see plenty of action once double teams arrive on Love and James.
In order to acquire Kevin Love, Cleveland had to give up the first overall pick in the 2014 Draft, Andrew Wiggins, to the Minnesota Timberwolves. This trade may backfire in the long term but Cleveland are in win now mode. They simply have to win a championship. As long as David Blatt can keep everyone in the locker room happy, namely Dion Waiters, Cleveland could be on their way to the NBA Finals, where LeBron would love to exact revenge for his 2007 and 2014 losses.
The key to this team will be how well they are able to defend. LeBron is one of the best defenders in the league but his defensive workload may be heightened due to the lack of defensive ability among his new team-mates. Shawn Marion has been brought in to strengthen the wing defense but the Cavs still lack the ability to stop opposing front courts.
Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love are average defenders who will struggle against stronger front court players. Cleveland will have to face Chicago’s new-look power forward-center duo of Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol but the Western Conference also holds front courts who can exploit these weaknesses like the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. Kevin Love will need to have some monster rebounding games in order to help the Cavs on the inside.
2014-2015 prediction- A loss in the Eastern Conference Finals will derail their season.