Skip to content

Adding LeBron, Kevin Love makes Cavaliers contenders, but three things can hold them back

Aug 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v San Antonio Spurs Cleveland Cavaliers v San Antonio Spurs

Dan Gilbert — one of the hardline owners in the last CBA negotiations, a guy who wanted an NFL-style franchise tag and taxes that would make it hard to build or maintain a super team team — has gone out and gotten himself a super team.

With the addition of Kevin Love to LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers are contenders. Kevin Love’s outlet passes are going to get LeBron, Irving, Dion Waiters and others some easy transition buckets. LeBron is going to create space for Love he hasn’t seen in years. If they play uptempo and use some smart sets this is a team that is going to score a lot of points.

But they should not be title favorites. Not yet in my book. I can think of three things that could (and I think will) keep them from winning a title next season.

1) Defense. LeBron is an elite defender, Irving is solid, Shawn Marion can still defend multiple positions well, but Love has his flaws and needs to be paired with a rim-protecting big man — Anderson Varejao is not that. Cleveland has some questions about how they plan to protect the paint with this roster, and what style of defense they will play. I don’t think the Cavaliers are going to be a bad defensive team by any means, but can they be elite enough to win a title with what they have? It may take another move or two to shore up this side of the ball.

2) Experience. LeBron has led a team to four straight finals, Marion and Mike Miller both have rings, however neither Love nor Irving have ever even played in a playoff game. To ask these guys to go from their first playoff experience to being key cogs in a team going for a title. Plus guys like Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova are going to be asked to step up into bigger roles, then do that deep into the playoffs.

3) There are some other very good teams out there. There is no easy path for the Cavaliers, even if they are in the softer East. First, I’m in the camp that the Bulls are going to be very good (I’m betting on Derrick Rose’s knees to be healthy for most of the year). The Bulls right now have an identity as a team, something the Cavaliers will be searching for. If the Cavaliers do get to the Finals there are some very good teams waiting? Did you see the San Antonio Spurs dismantle the Heat in the Finals last year? Well they brought everybody back and are the team to beat. Oklahoma City will still have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Clippers will be improved. There are questions.

I think Cleveland is going to win a ring or three over the next five seasons, but it may take them a year to get it all together. Much like as it took LeBron’s Heat teams a full season to really figure out a style that worked for them. I expect something similar in Cleveland.

Latest Posts
  1. Lakers waive Steve Nash

    Apr 2, 2015, 12:05 AM EDT

    Steve Nash AP

    Lakers clear roster spot to sign Jabari Brown to multi-year deal

  2. Bugs Bunny teases the Jordan XXX in interview with Ahmad Rashad (VIDEO)

    Apr 1, 2015, 7:29 PM EDT

    Google ChromeScreenSnapz007

    Jordan Brand keeps with the Space Jam theme in advance of this weekend’s retro releases.

  3. Heat’s Shabazz Napier out for season after sports hernia surgery

    Apr 1, 2015, 5:33 PM EDT

    Sacramento Kings v Miami Heat Getty Images

    He had only played in one of the last dozen Heat games.

  4. Report: Kings to sign Sim Bhullar to 10-day contract, would be first Indian descent in NBA

    Apr 1, 2015, 4:51 PM EDT

    2015 NBA D-Leage Showcase Getty Images

    Seen at Summer League he was project, we’ll see how far along he has come.

  5. Stephen Curry clear betting favorite to win MVP

    Apr 1, 2015, 4:21 PM EDT

    Stephen Curry AP

    Curry is going to win this award. More than that, he’s earned it.

  6. Ryan Anderson to return to Pelicans lineup Wednesday vs. Lakers

    Apr 1, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Orlando Magic Getty Images

    Anderson has missed the last 18 games due to injury, and New Orleans is trying to catch OKC for the final playoff spot in the West.

  7. Russell Westbrook has league-leading 15th technical foul rescinded

    Apr 1, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Russell Westbrook AP

    A 16th during the regular season would mean a one-game suspension.

  8. Lance Stephenson says he doesn’t regret free agent decision to sign with Hornets

    Apr 1, 2015, 1:50 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets Getty Images

    Stephenson didn’t play in his team’s last game as a result of the coach’s decision.

  9. Stephen Curry crosses over Chris Paul a second time (VIDEO)

    Apr 1, 2015, 1:10 PM EDT

    Stephen Curry, Chris Paul AP

    Not as devastating as the one that’s made the rounds, but deadly nonetheless.

  10. Report: LeBron James calls the plays, Cavaliers coach David Blatt repeats them to team

    Apr 1, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    We know it’s LeBron’s world in Cleveland, but this makes Blatt look a bit silly.

  11. Blake Griffin: ‘Home-court advantage is just not there for us’

    Apr 1, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Blake Griffin AP

    This isn’t the first time one of the Clippers has publicly pointed out the obvious.

Featured video

Clippers playoffs? MCW shooting? Your twitter questions answered.
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. H. Whiteside (5822)
  2. K. Durant (5258)
  3. K. Martin (5176)
  4. D. Favors (5102)
  5. K. Lowry (5101)
  1. D. Rose (4940)
  2. G. Monroe (4894)
  3. D. Wade (4877)
  4. P. George (4678)
  5. B. Knight (4678)