The Cleveland Cavaliers are the NBA odds favorite to win the NBA Championship. While everyone is already assuming they’ll be hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy, here are the three most likely scenarios for their upcoming season.
1. The Cavaliers Win the Title
In a dream scenario, but one that’s very realistic, the Cavaliers could win the NBA championship. Winning the East is something this team will be favored to do. LeBron James makes a team favored to reach the NBA Finals. After all, LeBron has made each of the past four NBA Finals with the Miami Heat, and he made the Finals in 2007 with Cleveland. LeBron is good enough to carry otherwise mediocre teams on his back. This Cleveland team does not have mediocre players alongside LeBron. He has Kevin Love joining him from the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has Kyrie Irving joining him as well. Mike Miller is a quality veteran pickup from the Memphis Grizzlies. Other veterans have arrived as well, and there’s still Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson from the 2013-2014 Cleveland team. There’s more than enough talent at the non-LeBron positions to win the East and challenge for the NBA title. What’s really attractive about the Cavs is that they have passers at just about every position. LeBron and Love can pass extremely well, not just Irving. When making your NBA picks this season keep in mind you’re going to see great ball movement from this team all year long and that's why they'll cash on the NBA odds.
2. The Cavs Make the Second Round of the Playoffs But Lose
This is another very realistic scenario because of the Cavs’ defense. Just about everyone thinks this team will score, but defending well is going to be a real challenge for Cleveland. LeBron is a strong defender, but Love and Irving are not. Waiters is not yet there, and Mike Miller, though a good worker, is not extremely quick on the wings and will be exploited at times. Cleveland could very well become the kind of team that scores 110 points a game and allows 113. The team could roll through the regular season when it’s hard for every team to bring a maximum of energy to the arena every night, but in the playoffs, when the game plans are more developed and teams gear up for each other, the value of defense becomes magnified… and the Cavs might not have it. LeBron could score 35 a night and Love could grab 20 rebounds a game, but the other team could shoot 55 percent from the field and leave Cleveland in tatters.
3. The Cavs Miss the Playoffs
This scenario could occur if LeBron goes down and Kevin Love, who did miss several weeks from the previous season, has recurring injury problems. Let’s say LeBron is not there to provide instant offense for this team. He can’t help Irving become better as a point guard. He won’t be there to feed Love in the low post. He won’t be able to become Cleveland’s best on-ball defender. The whole thing could collapse, and the Cavaliers will be lamenting why their franchise player couldn’t play for the franchise in the 2014-15 season.