The Cavaliers had an outstanding offseason. They are currently placed well atop the NBA Odds landscape, and while Kyrie Irving and Team USA compete in the World Cup, there are sure to be plenty of wagers on the Cavs to win the NBA championship this season.
However the Cavs may be slightly overvalued right now. Bovada sportsbook has them at +250 to win the championship this season, while BetOnline and Bet365 have them at +300. This is a tall order for a team with very little playoff experience outside of Lebron James, however statistically; they could easily win 30 more games next season than they did a season ago.
The Cavs Based on Win Shares
Win shares are one of my favorite advanced statistics. It measures how many wins a player would add to a team as a starter. With the addition of Kevin Love and Lebron, the Cavs have added the second and third best players in last seasons’ win shares. Kevin Durant was number one at just over 19, but combined, Love and Lebron give the Cavs well over 30 win shares they didn’t have a season ago.
However where this team will be questioned and tested all season will be their defense, and the advanced statistics see the issue too. Last season Lebron had his lowest career defensive win shares season at only 2.6, which ranked him 26th in the NBA. 26th is still a very solid rank out of over 400 NBA players. However he was eighth in the league in defensive win shares in 2012-2013, and second or third in defensive win shares the three previous years to that.
Love and Irving are not great defenders. Love’s defensive win shares last season were actually the best in his career, and right behind James in the rankings. If he can keep it going with the Cavs, he may silence some of his critics. However Irving is another story. He ranked outside the top 100 in defensive win shares at 2.1 last season, and he barely cracked the top 300 in defensive rating.
Lebron is getting older, and it showed last season every-so slightly. He is still the best player in the league, however it looks as if his elite defense may be the first thing that slips for the guy who is only four months from turning 30 years old. This could limit the Cavs, and must be considered when looking at their NBA Odds.
West Coast Offense in The East
Where this team is going to make their money, and maybe championships, is being better than everyone on the offensive end, and being just good enough on defense to force you into bad shots half the time. Both James and Love were top five in player efficiency rating (PER) last season, and both were top three in offensive win shares.
With Anderson Varejao still on the roster, it gives the Cavs a legit defensive center. If he can stay healthy this season, he will add something that Lebron hasn’t had since he left Cleveland. Irving’s ability to get better on defense is one thing, but now he will have a lot of room to roam in his fourth NBA season on offense.
Altogether this Cavs team looks great on paper as NBA Picks, however the Heat looked better on paper their first season in the NBA together in 2010-2011. They should be a lock to make the Eastern Conference Finals, but from there they might struggle in their first season. However if they’re together as long as Miami, it’s hard to picture them not winning a title within the next four to five years.