The Cleveland Cavaliers have shown us a spark of what they can do as a team this season, and that spark is about to catch fire. Join this NBA handicapper as she shares her predictions.
What do you get when you throw together the best player in the world, the best point guard in the league, and a renowned beast in the paint? Apparently pretty terrible basketball – at least to start off the season.
That’s what the Cleveland Cavaliers have shown us so far in their start to the season, but they have also shown us some potential recently of the team they are capable of becoming. Let’s breakdown this dream team and make some ground on what to expect of them against the NBA odds in the coming weeks.
Playing More Like A Team
What were we all thinking? At the start of this season, we all expected the Cavaliers to come out on to the floor with a full squad of players who had never played together before and a head coach in his first year in the NBA, and expected them to be so good they could beat any team blindfolded.
Wrong. Very wrong. Just plain unrealistic and naive. I, too, got way too excited about this team coming together, and should have seen their slow start coming from a mile away. This is all due to inexperience. The Big Three, Lebron, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving were playing like individuals on offense. And on defense, wait...did they even show up on defense in this part of the season?
However with that being said, they are starting to show us the kind of powerhouse video-game-like team we have been expecting of them since the beginning.
In the first 12 games of the season, the Cavs ranked 14th in offensive efficiency, and in the bottom four in their defensive efficiency. However, in their last 6 games in the past two weeks, they have ranked in the top three overall in both of those categories.
The same can be said about the Big Three. In the first 12 games this season, the Cavs allowed more points than they scored per 100 possessions while all three were on the court. But in the past 6 games, they have pulled together and have been outscoring their opponents by 32 points or more per 100 possessions.
Time Will Tell
The Cavaliers are on a hot-streak racking in their best 6-straight wins of the season. Although they had a slow start to their season, they have shown us in these past 6 games what kind of level they will rise to by the end of the season.
Lebron is finally finding his scoring-stride, Kyrie is making an average of 72 passes per game, and Love is just plain dirty on the boards with an average of 10 rebounds per game.
They are still a work-in-progress, and their defense needs some serious attention, but they are putting it together one step at a time, starting with their offense. They are raking in 113.3 points per 100 possessions, which is in the Top 30 offensive rating of all time.
Not only are they now putting up incredible offensive numbers, but they have proven themselves to competitive with teams in high-rank. They defeated all of the three highest ranked teams in the East (Toronto, Atlanta and Washington), and they beat the No. 1 in that division, Toronto, twice in one week.
If this is the Cavaliers team in just the beginning of their season, and they progress that much for the rest of the season, I would hate to be their opponent come playoff time.
What to Expect Next
Cleveland is on the rise, and I am expecting them to keep on rising until they hit their ceiling which is very much an unknown territory for this team.
The Cavs have covered 5 of their last 8 games, and tend to cover against their Eastern Conference opponents.
Regarding NBA picks for their upcoming matches, I'd suggest to be on the lookout for a cover ATS and even an OVER on the total for the Cavs against Brooklyn on Dec 19th. The Nets don’t stand a chance against the new-found Cavaliers team, as they will most likely come into the matchup ranked in the bottom 10 on offensive and defensive efficiency. I explect an OVER against Memphis on Dec. 21, as both teams will play a very fast paced game with little defense and electric offenses from both sides of the court.