Cleveland Cavaliers: 5 Things to Watch for to Begin 2012-13 Season

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterOctober 30, 2012

Oct 1, 2012; Independence, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson (13) interviews point guard Kyrie Irving (2) during media day at the Cleveland Clinic Courts. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

It's finally here, Cavs fans!

The start of a new season, where hope and optimism can be found, if at least for a little while.

Unlike most seasons for Cleveland sports fans, Cavs faithful actually have a lot to look forward to.

Here are the top five things to watch for as the season gets underway.


5. A back-up big man who's actually skilled.

Goodbye Ryan Hollins, hello Tyler Zeller!

Cavs fans no longer have to groan seeing another pass being fumbled out of bounds by Ryan "stone hands" Hollins.

Zeller is the anti-Hollins, with incredible touch around the basket.  He can run the floor, hit the outside jumper and plays some defense as well.

The 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft, don't expect an All-Star season out of Zeller, but the former Tar Heel should be the first big man off the bench backing up both power forward and center.


4. C.J. Miles' scoring.

Miles was the Cavs' big free agent haul this past offseason.

While the signing left many causal NBA fans saying "who?" it was actually a nice low-risk move by Chris Grant.

Miles can play either wing position and gives the Cavs some much needed scoring off the bench.

His 11.9 points per game in the preseason was good for second on the team behind Kyrie Irving, and his 6'6" athletic frame can score from multiple areas on the court.

If Dion Waiters or Alonzo Gee struggle early, don't be surprised to see Miles in the starting lineup at some point this season.


3. Dion Waiters trying to prove himself.

Waiters wasn't the most popular man in Cleveland when he was drafted by the Cavs fourth overall back in June.

Viewed as a major reach by many, Waiters has since struggled in the summer league and preseason but still earned the starting shooting guard job.

While it's clear the skills are there, Waiters needs a lot of work to reach his incredibly high potential.  I expect early struggles from the former Syracuse star, but great improvements as the season goes along.

Look for Waiters to come out shooting, as he certainly doesn't lack the confidence to succeed.  Working with Kyrie Irving could bring out the best in him and help build his popularity among Cleveland fans.


2. Return of the "Wild Thing."

Welcome back, Anderson Varejao and the return of the Cavs post defense.

We missed you both greatly late last season.

With Varejao, the Cavs were a respectable 10-15 before the big Brazilian injured his wrist.  As the Cavs starting center, best rebounder and post defender, Varejao's play for the Cavs simply could not be replaced.

Paired with Tristan Thompson in the starting lineup to begin the season, the Cavs should be strong defensively in the paint.

Varejao brings the hustle and experience younger players can look up to and learn from.

Ranking fourth in the entire NBA in rebounding last season, Varejao should once again have another All-Star-caliber season.


1. Kyrie Irving takes over.

The reason why people are talking about Cleveland basketball again.

What's left to be said about Irving that hasn't been said already?

The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year looks to have a sensational sophomore campaign and see a boost in minutes from the 30.5 he averaged a year ago.

Per 36 minutes, Irving averaged 21.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game as a rookie.  His shooting numbers were fantastic, and now defenses will have to pay more attention to players like Waiters and Miles, which should give Irving even more open looks.

Don't be surprised to see Irving make the Eastern Conference All-Star team with his improved play and an injury to Bulls guard Derrick Rose.

Could the playoffs be a possibility?

With Irving, Waiters, Zeller, Miles and a healthy Varejao, one certainly can't rule them out.

Happy Cavs season, everybody!


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