Dec 15, 2011, 4:00 AM EST
Last Season: 19-63
Head Coach: Byron Scott
Best case scenario: A spirited campaign for a near-.500 record and a slim chance at grabbing the 8th playoff spot in the East.
For that to happen: Kyrie Irving comes on strong, the team’s offense runs through him, and the team gets a sense of identity as a slashing, run-and-gun offensive team. Anderson Varejao comes back healthy with energy and, just maybe, a passable yet ugly mid-range jumper, which would allow him to share the floor with Tristan Thompson. Thompson’s energy and shot-blocking completely transforms the Cavaliers’ mentality on defense, and combines with Varejao to give the Cavaliers a high-quality defensive frontcourt. Antawn Jamison starts pretending to care about defense, gets traded, or gets hit by a sudden burst of inspiration in the middle of the night and quits basketball in order to direct a doomed film adaptation of The Crying of Lot 49.
More likely scenario: Irving goes through some growing pains offensively and struggles to balance looking for his own shot with setting up his teammates. Thompson’s offensive game and poor defensive rebounding make Cavalier fans wish they were waiting for Jonas Valanciunas. Antawn Jamison continues to make the Cavaliers play 4-on-5 defensively.
Prediction: 18-22 wins and a high lottery pick.
- Kevin Hart to write, star in movie with LeBron James 0
- The Extra Pass: A Google goggle revolution dream, plus Wednesday’s recaps 3
- Wednesday night NBA Grades: LaMarcus Aldridge is a flat out stud 7
- Arena evacuated after fire, Spurs-Timberwolves game in Mexico City postponed 14
- Milwaukee police release video, cite Larry Sanders for bar fight 12
- LeBron says Wade is “getting that Kobe deal” in next contract. Should he? (63)
- Report: Dion Waiters accused Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson of playing “buddy ball.” (53)
- The Extra Pass: Our awards at the quarter pole, plus Monday recaps (42)
- Michael Beasley finding a role, groove in Miami (41)
- With game in balance, Jason Kidd tells player to “hit me,” spills drink, gets psuedo timeout to draw up play (40)