Stat Predictions for Every Cleveland Cavaliers' Starter in 2013-14
As Cavalier fans anxiously await tipoff for the 2013-14 NBA season, we can only speculate how players will perform.
Young players like Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson will likely take the next step in their games, but will the statistics show it?
How will newcomers Andrew Bynum and Earl Clark do now that they're donning the wine and gold?
Will Irving's assist total finally rise, and will Bynum put up a double-double as he did under Mike Brown two years ago?
Here's what to expect, statistically speaking, out of every likely Cavaliers' starter this season.
Andrew Bynum, Center
2013-14 Projected Stats: 11.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.1 blocks, 17.50 PER, 25 minutes per game
Bynum is the trickiest of the bunch to predict, given his uncertain knee issues.
While he put up career highs with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds the last time he stayed healthy in 2011-12, it's highly unlikely we'll see that kind of production from Bynum right out of the gate.
Instead, Mike Brown would be smart to split minutes up between Bynum and Anderson Varejao in an attempt to keep both of them on the court and off the trainer's table for as long as possible.
Giving Bynum 20-25 minutes a night, at least to start the season, would be a nice way to ease the big fella back onto the court. Varejao, who was averaging 36 minutes a night before getting injured last season, should also be around this number while he backs up both center and power forward.
If you happen to be one of those fantasy players, Bynum is worth drafting. Even at less than 30 minutes a night, Bynum is a threat for a double-double. He also blocks shots, and should easily get one or two every game.
This season will all be about getting Bynum back into a regular routine and helping him regain his All-Star form. A healthy Bynum and Kyrie Irving combination could be a bad, bad thing for opposing teams.
Tristan Thompson, Power Forward
2013-14 Projected Stats: 12.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.2 blocks, 18.0 PER, 30 minutes per game
Thompson is a budding star in the league, even though he's not quite a household name yet.
He's also made a switch from shooting primarily left-handed to right-handed, a change that seems to be paying big dividends. Free-throw shooting was a major weakness for Thompson while in college at the University of Texas. Here's a look at Thompson's free throw-shooting over the past four years.
As of September 5, Thompson had connected on 25 of 29 free throws while playing for team Canada.
A higher free-throw completion will naturally mean a rise in scoring average for Thompson. While he'll be fighting off No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett for playing time and shots, look for Thompson to still increase his scoring average from last season.
Rebounds won't be as plentiful with the return of Anderson Varejao and the signing of Andrew Bynum, but Thompson should also be a better rebounder with the added experience he's receiving this summer.
Expect a healthy PER, as the former Longhorn will have to make the most of his time on the court to prove he belongs there instead of Bennett.
Earl Clark, Small Forward
2013-14 Projected Stats: 7.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.7 blocks, 14.50 PER, 25 minutes per game
Clark will be offensive weapon No. 5 in the starting lineup, and that's ok.
Likely to win the starting job over Alonzo Gee, Clark is a fine player but won't ever be called upon to put up big numbers for the Cavaliers.
His role with Cleveland is simple, a little rebounding and a whole lot of defense.
At 6'10", Clark has tremendous defensive position and held opposing small forwards to a 12.0 PER last season (via 82games.com). It's worth noting that, while Clark has played power forward for the majority of his career, he had a better PER difference (plus-0.3 to minus-3.3) while playing small forward last season.
With Cleveland, small forward appears to be where he's most needed, with Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett competing for minutes at the four.
Expect Clark to get around 25 minutes a night while sharing time with Gee and rookie Sergey Karasev. His efficiency rating should continue to improve, but his overall stat line still won't blow anybody away.
Dion Waiters, Shooting Guard
2013-14 Projected Stats: 17.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.4 blocks, 16.5 PER, 32 minutes per game
Don't be surprised if Waiters is the most improved Cavalier this season.
For a player who claims he's the next great shooting guard, this was certainly a good start.
Look for his scoring numbers to make a significant jump from the 14.7 points a night he chipped in as a rookie. After the All-Star break last season, Waiters was showing a much improved shot selection. His field-goal percentage leaped from 39.6 percent before the break to 45.8 after it.
A slight minute increase is expected as well from the 28.8 Waiters played last season. Increased playing time means increased stats in rebounds, assists and steals.
Waiters could eventually be a 18-20 points-per-game scorer, but this season expect him to be right around 17 a game.
If he continues to get to the basket at the rate he did last year, Waiters could well be on his way to stardom.
Kyrie Irving, Point Guard
2013-14 Projected Stats: 23.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, 24.50 PER, 35 minutes per game
Irving raised his game to the next level last season.
This year, expect more of the same.
While Mike Brown would probably care more about his defense and less about Irving's offensive numbers, they should be impressive nonetheless.
The biggest change in Irving's stat line should be his assist total. Stringing together just 5.9 assists a game last season didn't seem like All-Star point guard material, but Irving didn't have the roster around him that he'll have this year. With Andrew Bynum, Anthony Bennett and Jarrett Jack added to the fold, Irving has more options to go to.
He also seemed to focus more on his passing game towards the end of last season. In the month of April, Irving averaged 7.4 assists in his nine games. After the All-Star break, Irving's assist number was at 6.9 a game compared to 5.5 before the break.
His scoring should once again be solid, if not a point or two higher. With Dion Waiters expected to increase his scoring as well, Irving won't have to shoot as much, but we certainly hope he still will.
Expect to see a stat line worthy of an All-NBA team selection, with improved D to boot.
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