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  1. #1
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    2013-2014 Cleveland Cavaliers Preview

    Team Name: Cleveland Cavaliers
    Last Yearís Record: 24-58 (5th in the Central Division)
    Key Losses: Wayne Ellington, Marreese Speights, Shaun Livingston, Daniel Gibson, Omri Casspi, Luke Walton, Byron Scott (coach)
    Key Additions: Andrew Bynum (free agent signing), Jarrett Jack (free agent signing), Earl Clark (free agent signing), Anthony Bennett (first round draft pick), Sergey Karasev (first round draft pick), Carrick Felix (second round draft pick), Mike Brown (coach)

    1. What significant moves were made in the offseason?

    It was a busy offseason indeed for the Cavaliers. And a very different kind of offseason from what Cavs fans had grown accustomed to seeing. It started with the firing of Byron Scott and the return of a very familiar face, Mike Brown. It was a move that made a lot of sense for the Cavaliers, even if the act of bringing back a coach you fired just 3 years ago is a somewhat unusual one.

    The simple fact of the matter is that for all the talk of Byron Scott bringing in a high energy, fact tempo offense with principles rooted in the Princeton Offense, that never really happened. The Cavaliers played a lot of isolation basketball, they were poor in transition offense, and the tempo was just average. The team never really developed an identity and defensively the team was nothing short of a train wreck.

    Say what you will about Mike Brown, but he flat out coaches defense. Last time he came to the Cavaliers, he inherited a developing LeBron James and helped transform his defense and helped him become a true superstar. Now, heíll try to do similar things with Kyrie Irving.

    On the player side of things, the Cavaliers were busy here as well, both in free agency and in the draft. Andrew Bynum was the big story, but perhaps the player who will have the biggest impact is Jarrett Jack. The Cavaliers have an extremely young backcourt, and bringing in Jack will give strong veteran leadership and guidance to Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. It also adds a little bit of attitude and winning identity to the backcourt.

    Andrew Bynum is the real wildcard. If Bynumís knee recovers in a timely manner and he can get on the court and produce, it has the potential to completely change the Cavaliers. It will change the way teams can defend Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Anthony Bennett. It will give the Cavaliers the kind of post presence the team has been missing since Zydrunas Ilgauskas left.

    Drafting Anthony Bennett gives the Cavaliers another solid scoring presence in the frontcourt. When Marreese Speights first came to Cleveland and was playing lights out basketball, I think it showed the Cavaliers what an extra frontcourt scoring option can do to make things easier for everyone, and thatís why the Cavaliers went with Bennett in the draft. But heís still a rookie and with rookies itís tough to depend on instant production.

    2. What are the Cavaliersí biggest strengths?

    Lineup flexibility and rebounding are a couple areas where the Cavaliers have some advantages. The Cavaliers are loaded with hybrid/combo type players who are capable of playing multiple positions. Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Jarrett Jack can all be used interchangeably. Sergey Karasev should be able to play SG or SG. Same with Alonzo Gee. Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao are both able to play minutes at either C or PF. Anthony Bennett will primarily play PF this season, but he should eventually be able to fill some time at SF as well. The point being, the Cavaliers have built a roster with positional flexibility obviously in mind. This should give Mike Brown plenty of options both on offense and defense.

    Until we see Anthony Bennett play and until Andrew Bynum returns from injury, itís hard to project strengths for the Cavaliers from an Xs and Os point of view, but I would expect them to find some success with the pick and roll offense just based on the personnel. The return of Anderson Varejao will be a huge part of this. And Varejaoís return will also help bolster the rebounding, which should be a big strength of this team with Varejao and Thompson both being pretty good rebounders and the addition of Andrew Bynum should only help.

    3. What are the Cavaliersí biggest weaknesses?

    Well, last year there was no weakness greater than defense. Youíd like to believe that will change instantly with Mike Brown at the helm, but thatís not realistic. Last time Mike Brown came to the Cavaliers, the team actually went from 12th to 14th in Defensive Efficiency in his first season. It wasnít until his 2nd season when the Cavaliers jumped to 4th in the NBA in Defensive Efficiency. It takes time to implement a system and Mike Brownís defensive schemes can take time to learn. It will help that Varejao, Bynum, and Earl Clark all have familiarity with his system, but to expect defense to become a strength in year one might be asking a bit much.

    The Cavaliers will also likely struggle in perimeter shooting. The Cavaliers were already a poor outside shooting team and they let Wayne Ellington and Daniel Gibson go in the offseason. Hopefully Sergey Karasev can provide some outside shooting, but it may be a while before he earns meaningful minutes. Jarrett Jack is an ok shooter, but he has to pick his spots and not become a volume shooter. Kyrie Irving is obviously more than capable of knocking down shots, but as a team and fitting it into an offensive identity, this looks like a team that will struggle shooting from the outside.

    4. What are the goals for the Cavaliers?

    Nick Gilbert said it best at the draft lottery. Whatís not to like? Sitting in that lottery room 3 years in a row. Gilbert said he felt the Cavaliers were going to make a playoff run this year, and thatís the goal. Itís by no means a certainty, but thereís no reason this team canít be in the playoff hunt come March.

    But within that goal, there are several smaller goals that this team would love to meet. Getting Andrew Bynum on the floor and contributing is a huge goal. Keeping Anderson Varejao healthy for most if not all of the season is a goal. Improving on defense will be a major goal for sure. Developing the young core of this team (Irving, Thompson, Waiters, Bennett, Karasev) is extremely important. Changing the culture and attitude of the team should be a goal as well. Achieve most of those goals, and this team will be in the playoff picture.

    5. Is Tristan Thompson really going to shoot right handed this season?

    He sure is. I donít recall any player ever completely switching their dominant shooting hand in the middle of their career (particularly not from a 4th overall pick), but thatís what Thompson is doing. Tristan has said that basketball development in Canada is very different than it is in the US, and that when he started shooting a ball, he just chose to do it left handed since he wrote with his left hand. Nobody in Canada noticed his awkward delivery and thought to have him try shooting right handed. After all, he does a lot of things in life right handed. So it might work. It better work. Either way, itís going to be interesting to watch this develop as the season progresses.

    6. Will the Cavaliers possibly be buyers at the trade deadline?

    I doubt it. I donít see the team being in position to give away assets just to get an 8 seed in the playoffs. While making the playoffs is the goal, it shouldnít be achieved out of desperation. The Cavaliers have been rebuilding this entire time with a goal of maintaining maximum flexibility for the 2014 offseason, so I donít see that changing now.

    7. So will they be sellers then?

    In the past thereís been so much talk about trading Anderson Varejao. This could be the year he gets traded. If Bynum never plays and the Cavaliers find themselves falling out of the playoff race, I wouldnít be surprised to see them trade Varejao at the deadline. I hope not, though. If this team stays moderately health and makes it into the playoff hunt, they donít need to be buyers and sellers. Getting into the playoffs and then having a wealth of cap space to spend in the offseason is a pretty good scenario to strive for.

    8. What should we expect from Kyrie Irving this year?

    The sky is the limit for Kyrie. He can be as great as he wants to be in this league. But a couple changes need to happen. First, he needs to get better on defense. And second, he needs to become a better leader. To that 2nd point, he seems to be getting the message. The first thing Mike Brown talked to Kyrie about was leadership. Mike Brown helped LeBron develop leadership skills, and now he wants Kyrie to take control of this team and make it his.

    This offseason Kyrie seems to be more proactively staying in touch with teammates and has been coordinating multiple team workouts to build chemistry, trust, and friendship amongst his teammates. These are positive signs. Now he needs to carry that leadership over to the court as well.

    As for his defense, he doesnít need to be great, but he needs to be better. He needs to show better effort and body language on defense. He needs to be more aware of the pick and roll and he needs to at least slow down the opposing PG at the point of attack. Mike Brownís scheme will help, as it puts a premium on backside rotations and communication, thus covering up for poor PG defense. Mike Brownís teams played great defense with Mo Williams at the point, thereís no reason they canít with Kyrie. Itís just a matter of Kyrie showing better effort there.

    9. Any final bold predictions?

    Iím not much of a predictions guy. I hate putting a number on how many wins the team will have, etc. There are just too many unknown variables. But Iíll leave this preview by saying I expect things to be much better this season. I think 40 wins is achievable, even though an increase of 16 or more wins would be enormous. I just think weíll finally see a basketball team with an identity and sense of purpose. Above all else, I just expect this to be a more fun season. Iím hopeful that Bynum will play. Iím hopeful that Varejao will play more games. Iím hopeful that Waiters will be better in year 2 as many SGs are. Iím hopeful that Kyrie continues his rise to superstardom. Watching young players like Bennett and Karasev develop should be fun. There will surely be frustrations along the way, but when the season is over, I hope we can look back and say it was a fun ride overall. If that happens, this season will be nothing short of a success for me.
    http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/20...eason-preview/


    TIME TO GET ANOTHER ONE. #DALLAS2DALLAS #BALLISLIFE

  2. #2
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    I'm so excited for this season. I can't wait for their pre-season game down here in Columbus. I bought my tickets literally minutes after they went on sale

  3. #3
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    After looking at some of the previews for this year I am really worried about the 3point/perimiter shooting as a big weakness on this team this year. KI and Jack will get theirs but after that there is a large lack of perimeter shooting in Clark, Gee, Dion, Bennett (who after seeing him gased in the scrimmage will play more 4 this with maybe 5 mpg at the 3 if that in the second half of the season when his conditioning is somewhat hopefully better). If Karasev gets minutes he will need to step in this area as well as Miles depending on who gets the minutes out of those two as I only see Brown running a 9 man rotation during the regular season.

    Also very worried about the ball movement on offense. Last year it seemed that the Cavs O' could only get truly going when Walton or Livingston were running things and creating passes for their teammates. KI and Jack will need to control their volume shooting this year IMO and try getting everyone involved more in a full team offense. They are going to rely heavily IMO on the pick and roll game with KI, Jack, Dion and then Bennett/AV.


    TIME TO GET ANOTHER ONE. #DALLAS2DALLAS #BALLISLIFE

  4. #4
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    Anyone else like Sims and Kadji to be the two guys that make the roster? That would be my picks If I had to pick two before preseason begins.


    Didn't even have to use my AK.

  5. #5
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    2013-2014 Cleveland Cavaliers Preview

    Really liking what im seeing from Kadji tonight. I was a big fan of his game when he played for Miami(FL) and hoped someone in the nba would give him a shot. Im glad that team was us, dude can play idc how old he is lol

  6. #6
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    Ya its got to be him and Sims, especially with Bynum unsure of return, and no other PFs on the roster. If there was a better small forward on the roster Id go with them, but looks like we are saving that seat for the chosen ones return lol


    Didn't even have to use my AK.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlessyen View Post
    Ya its got to be him and Sims, especially with Bynum unsure of return, and no other PFs on the roster. If there was a better small forward on the roster Id go with them, but looks like we are saving that seat for the chosen ones return lol
    They're not going to bring both Sims and Kadji... It will only be one of them, with Diop in the mix too. So far I'd give the edge to Kadji.

  8. #8
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    @JasonLloydABJ: Not sure it's worth much but it's interesting Henry Sims entered before Diop. Ideally #Cavs would like to keep 1 big from Sims, Diop & Kadji
    There you go!

  9. #9
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    Is Bill Simmons trying to compete with Skip Bayless as the #1 troll of ESPN? I love (sarcastic) his and Jalen's degrading analysis of not only the Cavs but Cleveland in general.
    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...ington-wizards

  10. #10
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    @JohnKrolik: "If you can't get LeBron, go get Rudy Gay." I don't even..."If you can't get Jennifer Lawrence, go kidnap your neighbor's ferret."
    @JohnKrolik: I mean, I've really got nothing here. That is just a flat-out spellbinding thing a human being said. http://t.co/6B3FRbh04s
    Yep... Disgraceful.... Can't believe he has them ranked 21.

  11. #11
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    2013-2014 Cleveland Cavaliers Preview

    Bill Simmons is a joke. He tries too hard to be entertaining and makes himself look stupid.

    Can't wait for the Cavs to play the Celtics so i'll know he's watching and see how wrong he was about this team.

  12. #12
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    The Cavs have injury question marks all over their rotation, with Bynum joined by Irving, Varejao and Waiters. Let's assume for a moment that all of these players are able to produce at or near their expected levels and all will be available for at least 70 to 75 games.

    Such a rosy scenario gives Brown a center tandem of Bynum and Varejao, with the latter being capable of sliding to the 4 in some lineups. Zeller backs them both up and provides a talented option for games in which either or both can't go. Up front, Brown has Thompson, Bennett, Clark, Gee, Miles and Karasev, a group that when mixed and matched offers rebounding, defense and shooting. Even though Thompson is limited to 4, perhaps a little 5 now again, all of these players can be used in tandem, giving Brown a great deal of lineup versatility. Meanwhile, the foundation of the team will be the talented backcourt of Irving, Waiters and Jack. It's a potentially deep roster.

    In terms of team age weighted by projected minutes, only two rosters are younger than the one in Cleveland. SCHOENE, recognizing the potential availability issues of Cleveland's top players, has the Cavaliers for 37 wins and in a three-team scrum for the last two playoff spots in the East. However, included in that forecast is a prediction for a No. 23 finish on the defensive end. That'd be better than the past three years, but of the six teams Brown has coached for a full season, the lowest defensive finish has been 14th.

    Which brings us to our list of ifs: If Brown can coax a defensive leap, and if the Cavs can enjoy better luck on the health front, even without Bynum, 37 wins has to be looked at as a low-ball forecast. If Bynum is Bynum, then a middle seed in the East isn't out of the question. If that happens, because the Cavs can free up cap space to accommodate a max player next summer, you're going to again hear Cleveland mentioned in conjunction with that man from Akron, because a match between the former favorite son and an exciting team on the cusp of contention would just sound so juicy.

    Even if Cleveland fans are tired of that old storyline, they should take it as a compliment: If the possibility of a LeBron return is floated, it's going to be because the Cavs have improved to the point where they might no longer need him.

    SCHOENE Projection: 37-45, 4th in Central, 9th in Eastern Conference
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/previ...aliers-outlook

    October 7: 1. Miami Heat 1. San Antonio Spurs
    October 8: 2. Chicago Bulls 2. Los Angeles Clippers
    October 9: 3. Brooklyn Nets 3. Houston Rockets
    October 10: 4. Indiana Pacers 4. Oklahoma City Thunder
    October 11: 5. Detroit Pistons 5. Minnesota Timberwolves
    October 14: 6. Atlanta Hawks 6. Memphis Grizzlies
    October 15: 7. New York Knicks 7. Denver Nuggets
    October 16: 8. Toronto Raptors 8. Dallas Mavericks
    October 17: 9. Cleveland Cavaliers 9. Golden State Warriors
    October 18: 10. Washington Wizards 10. Portland Trail Blazers
    Here's part of the Cavs preview. I don't believe that the Toronto Raptors will be an eigth seed in the playoffs (I don't see them making the playoffs). I also don't believe that the Pistons will win 49 games to get that 5th seed. 37 wins although a big improvement from last year, it has to be a worst case scenario for the Cavs. To me this season is a bust if they don't make the playoffs.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arch Stanton View Post
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/previ...aliers-outlook



    Here's part of the Cavs preview. I don't believe that the Toronto Raptors will be an eigth seed in the playoffs (I don't see them making the playoffs). I also don't believe that the Pistons will win 49 games to get that 5th seed. 37 wins although a big improvement from last year, it has to be a worst case scenario for the Cavs. To me this season is a bust if they don't make the playoffs.
    You can't say that until the season plays out. Like the Indians would you have said there season was a bust if they were 1 game back of Texas and Tampa at the end of the season for the WC. I honestly would not.

    13 games is a vast improvement for a team that is still growing considerably and has an entire new system in place with a new coaching staff. Also until the season plays out we have no idea what to expect with some of these players and their injury histories. If AV, Bynum, Zeller, KI and Waiters all miss extended periods of time then 37 might not look that bad at the end of the year.

    This year is honestly one of the biggest ? mark years that the Cavs will have due to the injury history but I would put them anywhere between 35-45 wins depending on how it plays out. If they are 41-41 though and miss the playoffs by a game or two I would not consider that a flop year.


    TIME TO GET ANOTHER ONE. #DALLAS2DALLAS #BALLISLIFE

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottograham14 View Post
    You can't say that until the season plays out. Like the Indians would you have said there season was a bust if they were 1 game back of Texas and Tampa at the end of the season for the WC. I honestly would not.

    13 games is a vast improvement for a team that is still growing considerably and has an entire new system in place with a new coaching staff. Also until the season plays out we have no idea what to expect with some of these players and their injury histories. If AV, Bynum, Zeller, KI and Waiters all miss extended periods of time then 37 might not look that bad at the end of the year.

    This year is honestly one of the biggest ? mark years that the Cavs will have due to the injury history but I would put them anywhere between 35-45 wins depending on how it plays out. If they are 41-41 though and miss the playoffs by a game or two I would not consider that a flop year.
    Making the playoffs in baseball is much more difficult than making the playoffs in the NBA. Half of the NBA teams make the playoffs, with only a third making the playoffs in baseball. I understand that they have had a lot of changes, but I guess I have a shorter leash with this franchise than you. If they don't make the playoffs, I see some serious question marks from the drafting and development of these players. I don't really see it as an issue as I do see them making the playoffs even with all the question marks.

  15. #15
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    In the East, I only see 4 (but probably 6) teams that are "better" than the Cavs. The four definites include Miami, Indy, Chicago, and Brooklyn. I think the Hawks and Knicks SHOULD be better than the Cavs but if everything pans out (health-wise) for the Cavs, then I think the Cavs should be better than the Hawks and the Knicks, and maybe even the Nets (only if the Nets are hit by the "father-time" injury bug).
    I don't see Detroit as a better team and certainly not the Raptors.
    Cavs should be a 7 or 8th seed as a minimum, with a ceiling of a 4-5 seed.

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