The Cleveland Cavaliers are in for another rough season.
The years of 50 plus wins are over now that #6 of the Miami Heat has brought his talents to South Beach. The Cavs suffered through one of the worst seasons it team history, going 19 – 63. To put that in perspective, over a previous three seasons, they only lost 74 games. That’s what happens when your super star that the franchise had been building around for the last seven years bolts town. The period it takes for a a elite team to return to it’s former standing takes a very long time. Take the Orlando Magic. When Shaq left the Magic to join the Los Angles Lakers in 1996, they didn’t win a playoff series until 2007. However, I am still really excited about this season.
The biggest reason I’m excited for this season is the trade that was executed with the Los Angeles Clippers that gave the Cavs point guard Baron Davis and what turned into the number 1 pick in this years draft, Kyrie Irving. Baron turned out to be a reliable scoring option and a leader on the court that the Cavs desperately need. In their only win against Miami last year, it was Baron who came up big, hitting clutch shots in the fourth quarter and leading the team to victory. While Baron’s best days as a player are behind him, having a veteran of his caliber to mentor Irving is huge for the Cavs. I also believe that Tristan Thompson will be a key contributor to this team. While he isn’t known for putting up a ton of points, he is a very good defender and can rebound the ball on both ends of the court, something that the Cavs would fail to do for long stretches last year.
The Cavs had a number of injuries to key players last year. The biggest losses were when Anderson Varejao and Antawn Jamison went down for the year. However, this allowed several rookies to get valuable playing time. One player in particular was Samardo Samuels, who was responsible for drawing a charging foul on Carmelo Anthony in a last second victory in Madison Square Garden. Varejao and Jamison are both healthy now and are ready to play.
Another thing working in the Cavs favor is front office and head coach Byron Scott. If Scott can help Irving develop like into an elite point guard like he did with Chris Paul, the Cavs will have a great piece to build around for awhile. You can’t forget Dan Gilbert in all of this. It’s always good to have an owner with deep pockets but it’s even better to have one that is ticked off at “The Decision” just as much as fans are.
So what do I expect for the Cavs this season? Will all of the things I’ve mentioned lead to the Cavs returning to their former glory as fast as they fell?
The short answer is no. The fact of the matter is that this team is young, lacks elite talent at any position, and will be dealing with a very tough schedule as a result of the shortened season. That being said though, I am looking forward to this season much more than I was last year. If things continue to pan out in the Cavs favor, it might not be too long before they are back in the spotlight.