NBA Preview 2013: Cleveland Cavaliers

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Welcome to team number two of the day, as we talk about the NBA, counting down to the regular season start date on October 29th. Earlier today I covered the Denver Nuggets, so make sure you give them a read along with all the other teams covered so far. Today we enter into the playoff teams permanently, and this is a team with some major turnover, but is ready to make a serious run into the playoffs. They had the number one overall pick in the draft, it’s time for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Key Additions: Andrew Bynum (Signed via 76ers) Anthony Bennett (Draft) Jarrett Jack (Signed via Warriors) Earl Clark (Signed via Lakers) Sergey Karasev (Coach) Mike Brown (Coach)

Key Departures: Wayne Ellington (Mavericks) Omri Casspi (Rockets) Daniel Gibson (Free Agent) Luke Walton (Free Agent) Shaun Livingston (Nets) Byron Scott (Fired)

Projected Starters: PG Kyrie Irving, SG Dion Waiters, SF Earl Clark, PF Tristan Thompson, C Andrew Bynum

The Cavaliers had another big time offseason, headlined by the additions of a former all-star center, and another number one pick in the NBA Draft. Let’s start with Bynum, who signed for 2 years, and about $24-25 million, who came over from the 76ers. The big questions with Bynum is obvious: “Is he healthy?” and “Can he play an entire season, or close to it?”. Bynum missed the entire season last year, when many thought that he was healthy to at least start playing towards the end of the year. Fortunately, the Cavs only offered Bynum a very limited contract, and a lot of that money is non-guaranteed, so it’s less of a risk than originally thought. Next came Anthony Bennett, one of the most shocking number one picks in NBA history. Bennett has a great skill set, combining great power, with an ability to run up and down the court at a fast pace, and also has some outside touch. I don’t think he was necessarily the right pick, I felt Oladipo fit better, with Waiters coming off the bench, but I’m very happy for Bennett. Being Canadian, I have an immense amount of pride for not only the first Canadian number pick, but also for Tristan Thompson, the previous highest pick in NBA Draft history. They also added Jarrett Jack to be a big time guard off the bench, and should spell Jack perfectly. Earl Clark was an overhyped player, and I don’t think he will amount too much, and next season the Cavs will have to find a proper starting small forward.

The starting lineup is bursting with potential, and it hinges on Kyrie Irving taking the next step to superstardom. Irving is already a top five point guard in the NBA, in my opinion, and he’s just getting started. He’s a very elite long-range, and mid range shooter, and while he’s only average around the basket, that could be Bynum’s biggest thing he brings, in that he will prevent team’s from simply collapsing on Irving, and making them play him honest, or else death by two-foot dunks. Speaking of Bynum, at one point he was considered the second best center in basketball, and by some the best. He’s got a ton of talent, and should be an amazing addition, but staying healthy is the key, and yes I will now stop banging on about it now. Earl Clark like I said above is not starting material, and is quite limited as a player, but does have Alonzo Gee and CJ Miles behind him, and hopefully they will split time throughout the season. Tristan Thompson is an improving power forward, and really started to coming into his own last season, and having Bynum next to him should be a boon to him. I’m also interested in the first ever all Canadian front court when they play him and Bennett together in small ball lineups. Dion Waiters is a big of an enigma. He’s a very talented scorer, but is the very definition of a streaky scorer. He relies on too many deep jumpers, and hopefully that doesn’t become a problem this season. With more talent on the roster, hopefully things will open up a lot more for him in his second season. Throw in Jack as your sixth man, and you have a very impressive 7-8 man rotation.

While you shouldn’t breathe easy just yet Cleveland, you should have some confidence in this roster, as there is a lot of talent, and you have a potential superstar, which is over half the battle in the NBA. One of those, and you have a shot to win it all. Bynum is a big risk, but potential massive boon. Jack and Clark should be decent additions, more Jack than Clark, but still. Bennett is a very intriguing player, even if he doesn’t start a game this season. I don’t have faith in Mike Brown as a coach, but at least he has a star to work with. And oh look, I managed to go the entire article without mentioning, LEBRON IS COMING BACK NEXT YEAR YOUR GUYS! Don’t get your hopes up Cleveland.

Final Prediction: 44-38, 7th Eastern Conference

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