Ranking the Biggest Offseason Needs for the Cleveland Cavaliers

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterMay 21, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in action against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on November 7, 2012 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Cavaliers are entering a crucial offseason for their rebuilding plan, one that will hopefully have them fighting for a playoff spot next spring.

Recently, teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors have risen from years of lottery picks to enjoying successful playoff runs, all thanks to outstanding offseason work.

The Cavs could easily be the next young team to follow this path, provided they fix a few glaring needs.

Expect the postseason to be a realistic option for the Cavs next season if they can take care of these four major issues this summer.

4. Veteran Presence

Developing their young talent is obviously a must for the Cavs, but it's important to mix in a few veteran pieces if they truly want to start winning.

Anderson Varejao is a nice start, but no other player on the current roster has yet to see his 30th birthday.

Re-signing point guard Shaun Livingston would be a nice start, as would adding a player like Mike Dunleavy, Nazr Mohammed or even Mo Williams.

None would single-handedly push the Cavs into the playoffs, but all would carry a wealth of knowledge and experience at a reasonable cost.

3. Acquire a Rim Protector

The Cavs were one of only three NBA teams that didn't have a single player average at least one blocked shot per game. 

As a result, the defense suffered and opposing players felt like they could attack the rim whenever they wanted.

Basketball coaches at any level will tell you good defense starts from the inside out and that protecting the paint is a must.

The Cavs need that dominating force who can strike some fear into opposing guards looking to attack the basket.  Someone like Nerlens Noel and his 4.4 blocked shots per game would certainly help, and there are other centers in the draft who Cleveland could take later to help shore up its inside D.

Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller are a fine center combination, but neither will ever be a shot-blocking threat in the NBA.

2.  Find an Assistant Coach to Run the Offense

Mike Brown is a defensive mastermind who has had great success running the Cavs' D in the past.

To say that he's offensively challenged, however, would be putting it kindly.

Better known for his scowls and confused looks than his X's and O's, it's best for everyone involved if Brown leaves it to one of his assistants to run the offense.

John Kuester filled this role for the Cavs under Brown from 2007-09, and there have been rumors he could return in a similar role once again, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio.

Whether it be Kuester or someone else, Brown needs someone to run the money-making side of the ball.

1. Find a Reliable Answer at Small Forward

The 3-spot has been a problem for years now and finally needs to be taken care of. 

Alonzo Gee is better coming off the bench and would be doing so for any playoff team. 

The most likely scenario of filling this void would be the drafting of Otto Porter of Georgetown, which would be a solid, safe bet.

The Cavs could also get creative, though, and swing a trade for an expendable scorer like Danny Granger from the Indiana Pacers.

Free agency is also an option, as a player like Andre Iguodala and his impressive overall game would fit in well, as would his veteran leadership.

Whichever direction they decide to go, the Cavs just can't begin another season with Gee as a starter and expect to be a serious playoff squad.  Cleveland needs to find a quality starting small forward this offseason to completely tie its starting unit together.


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