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- NBA Rank: 14
Conference Rank: 6
- Cleveland Cavaliers
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.Albert Einstein
Last season the Cavs were bad. Kyrie and Varejao couldn't stay on the court. The rebuilding process has been arduous for Cleveland. Despite a mediocre draft, we think the Cavs are on their way to being a threat again. Expect them to make the playoffs this year -- and in a few years, this core could make some noise.
Despite Dan Gilbert's promises to the contrary, since the loss of LeBron the Cavs have not, in-fact, won a title. Rather, they have struggled to win 25 games. In spite of winning the draft lottery twice, the Cavs still haven't found the same glory as when they had their old number one pick. Let's examine the wreckage of last season.
|Shaun Livingston ||1135||28||.141||4.3|
|Wayne Ellington ||985||26||.118||4.1|
|Marreese Speights ||721||26||.027||.7|
|Omri Casspi ||503||25||.145||1.5|
|Jeremy Pargo ||447||27||-.083||-.8|
|Donald Sloan ||257||26||.017||.1|
|Jon Leuer ||91||24||.010||0|
Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.
Let's start with a bright spot -- Tristan Thompson had a really good season last year. The sad part was the rest of the team was either a) bad or b) not on the court! Varejao continued to show his greatness, but also his inability to stay healthy. All in all, it was a pretty disappointing season for a young team with some good pieces. Has the offseason been friendlier?
|Jarrett Jack ||1.7||2397||30||.086||4.3|
|Earl Clark ||3.8||1880||26||.050||2.0|
|Andrew Bynum ||5.0||1622||26||.241||8.1|
|Anthony Bennett ||4.0||1013||20||.070||1.5|
|Sergey Karasev ||3.0||541||20||-.044||-.5|
|Carrick Felix ||2.0||408||23||.080||.7|
|DeSagana Diop ||1.0||226||31||.011||.1|
|Henry Sims ||1.0||5||23||.244||0|
Indicates that the player is new to the team.
We won't lie, the Bennett pick stumped us. We're not expecting a major impact out of him. We are expecting Tristan Thompson to stay great. We're also expecting Kyrie to step it up a bit. Finally, between Varejao and Bynum, there's one really good center! If the two of them can just be marginally healthy, the Cavs look good. When the dust settles we think the Cavs could easily hit 45 wins. In his fourth year, LeBron's led the Cavs to the finals. Will Kyrie even be able to make the playoffs by then?
This team is a lot of fun. I find myself wondering whether we're being too pessimistic about the team or too optimistic. If Varejao or Bynum comes back fully, this team could be even stronger. If Irving learns to stop turning the ball over, he could be great. That said, the past numbers say we should temper our expectations. Cleveland fans should be happy though, they may very well get a chance to try to take LeBron down in the finals! Good luck with that.
The Second Opinion Arturo is uncertain
The Cavs are the wild card in this whole exercise. If you told me they were a lottery team I'd believe you. If you said Conference Finals, I'd buy it too. It comes down to the fact that Varejao and Bynum are really good bigs surrounded by a young, talented core but they're also Anderson Varejao and Andrew Bynum. Will either of them crack 1000 minutes played this season? Who knows.
If both are healthy to the tune of 2000 minutes each? This team will duel Chicago for the Division and be a spoiler come playoff time. I'd love to see that.