2014-15 Record: 53-29
Mo Williams, Richard Jefferson, Sasha Kaun
Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, Brendan Heyward, Kendrick Perkins
Projected 2015-16 Lineup
PG Kyrie Irving SG Iman Shumpert SF LeBron James PF Kevin Love C Timofey Mozgov
The Cavs suffered a very disappointing loss in the 2015 NBA Finals, but it’s important to remember just how beaten up this team was. Kevin Love wasn’t playing, Irving was limping around the court, and James put up so many shots that he could hardly lift his arms by the final game.
Now, a year later, they’re ready to fully contend for a championship again. There may be stretches where this team seems more like a reality show than an NBA contender, but that’s alright. They’re not in the business of Spurs-ian basketball, where solid fundamentals trump excitement. They’re in the business of winning the only way their superstars know how.
The reason I have them as anything other than the top team in the East is that they’re injured. We still don’t know when Kyrie Irving is going to be back to playing basketball, and Shumpert could miss some serious time as well. Plus, when looking at the outlook for this team’s season, it’s important to remember that they don’t care about the regular season. They could be the one see or the four seed. The only goal for the Cavs is to win an NBA title.
X-Factor: Kevin Love
Love was under-utilized last year and thus he under-performed. With Irving and Shumpert set to miss some serious time, Love is going to have to step up his game on both ends of the floor. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are long stretches where he leads the team in scoring as James plays point-LeBron. While Love may have been considered a disappointment, he’s still one of the best rebounders in basketball and one of the most versatile big men on offense. Look for him to do some big things this year, and if he does, the Cavs will have no problem getting by until Irving is back.
Most To Prove: LeBron James
This category is LeBron until he brings a title home to Cleveland. Anything less is a disappointment.
Why They’re Worth Watching:
They have one of the best players in the game leading the charge, so that should be more than enough.
Best Case – 64 wins
If they try to really go for it this year, they could be crazy good. I won’t go so far as to say historic good, but
Worst Case 50 wins
Who cares? Rest LeBron for a month. They’ll be fine.