The Cleveland Cavaliers made a lot of moves this past off-season that have their fans buzzing heading towards the beginning of training camp. They brought in Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack, and a bunch of young talent through the draft. There’s no doubt that there are high expectations for the Cavs, and assuming they are able to stay healthy, those high expectations could become a reality.
Whenever your team is led by a growing superstar like Kyrie Irving, you’re always going to have a chance to compete on any given night. Irving averaged 22.5 points, 5.9 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game last year, and is expected to put up similar, but better numbers this year. Cleveland certainly can be excited about Irving’s growth, and can take comfort that even current NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant recognize Irving as a growing star in the league.
Cleveland’s main issues last year stemmed from their lack of depth at critical positions like point guard. When Irving went down, they had no one that was capable of stepping in and playing at a high level in his place. Jarrett Jack was signed away from the Golden State Warriors during the off-season, and is expected to play a major role off the Cavs’ bench. Jack averaged 12.9 points, 5.6 assists, and 3.1 boards per game last year for the Warriors, and came up clutch multiple times in Golden State’s postseason run.
Andrew Bynum has been a troubled big man throughout his career, and didn’t play a game for the 76ers last season due to injury, but is no doubt a huge pickup for Cleveland if he’s able to stay healthy. In the 2011-12 season, Bynum put up big numbers with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds to go along with 1.9 blocks per game. If he’s able to put up anything close to those numbers in Cleveland, their post numbers will rise big time. That was one area of need for the offense even with Anderson Varejao coming back from injury.
The last player that we’re going to highlight in this article is second-year guard Dion Waiters. Waiters was the 4th overall pick int he 2012 NBA Draft, and had a solid rookie campaign averaging 14.7 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game. He’s going to be counted on as the starting shooting guard to put up great scoring numbers each and every night. A lot is riding on his young shoulders, but he definitely has the talent to play up to the level that they need him at.
The Cavaliers also have a lot of talent throughout the rest of their roster. Players like #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, Alonzo Gee, C.J. Miles, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, and Tyler Zeller will all step up and play minutes this year. The depth issue has been solved without a doubt, and you can expect to see this team turn the depth weakness into a major strength for them.
One other aspect that needs to be mentioned is the new head coach that the Cleveland Cavaliers brought in this past off-season. Mike Brown was the Cavs’ head coach back during the LeBron James era, and is returning to attempt to bring the team back to the postseason. Brown’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers did not end all that well, but the people in Cleveland are excited to have him back, and management believes that he fits very well with the current roster that the Cavaliers have heading into the season. Only time will tell, but Brown does appear to be an upgrade over former head coach Byron Scott.
With all of the improvements that Cleveland has made this off-season, the realistic expectations certainly are high for this team. Making the Playoffs is certainly a possibility as anything between a 6th to 8th seed. They have a lot of young players that will need to play great basketball, but they definitely do have the potential to do that. This team has a very dedicated fan-base that deserves to see their team have a good season once again, and they might be in for a very special year.