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NBA Season Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers

Dec 15, 2011, 4:00 AM EDT

Kyrie Irving from Duke University smiles before the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark Reuters

Last Season: 19-63

Head Coach: Byron Scott

Key Additions: Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Omri Casspi

Key Departures: Baron Davis, J.J. Hickson

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.

  1. 00maltliquor - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:38 AM

    18-22 wins?? Don’t fool yourself, Mr. Krolik.
    Tim Tebow himself couldn’t make this team win games!
    Oh, sorry, wrong sport.

    They’d be very, VERY lucky to win double digit games with that horrendeous roster.

    PG Irving / Sessions
    SG Parker / Gibson
    SF Casspi / Graham
    PF Thompson / Jamison
    C Varejao / Hollins

    Owner D. Gilbert

    Who you scaring with that lineup? The New York Liberty? LA Sparks? Tulsa 66ers? Idaho Stampede?
    Best case scenario a spirited campaign for a near .500 record… BAAAH!! What are you, a sports writer or a comedian?! LOL

  2. bigtrav425 - Dec 15, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    Sounds about right to me.and kinda hope we get a high lottery pick…Barnes or Sullinger would be great!….But i think Thompson is going to be solid eventually either a solid 4 (if we have a really good 3 or 5) or 6th man.I hope we can trade the overrated and overpaid Anderson at the deadline to

    • kjoh242 - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      Varejao is hardly overpaid or overrated, the opposite is in fact true. Look at how much a defensive player (whose best method of scoring is lobs) got in Tyson Chandler. Varejao is hands down the best PnR defender in the league, and his versatility is a huge asset. He finishes well on offense, and I’m sure there are plenty of contenders that would love to have him for his skillset at the price he’s being paid. I think he should get traded, not because he’s overrated, but because he’s a valuable asset but just a little too old for what will be a super young rebuilding Cavs team.

  3. irishbuckeye - Dec 15, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    The most likely to happen scenario is actually the best case scenario. A team like Cleveland HAS to build through the draft, and Irving isn’t good enough to be what LBJ was. Team him with one or two more high lottery picks and the Cavs start looking like the OKC Thunder 2.0

  4. trbowman - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Should’ve drafted Derrick Williams.

  5. trbowman - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    Free Antawn Jamison. I want to see him on a contender. Miss that dude in DC!

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