It seems old struggles have followed the Cleveland Cavaliers into the new year. Kyrie Irving's latest injury—a knee bruise suffered on New Year's Eve versus the Indiana Pacers—coupled with Andrew Bynum's "paid leave" means two of the top three from my previous power rankings have fallen from the starting lineup. This has left a free-for-fall vacancy for teammates such as Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and yes, even Dion Waiters.
Elsewhere, Cleveland head coach Mike Brown has relented on giving oft-maligned rookie Anthony Bennett more playing time, while fellow freshman Matthew Dellavedova was promoted to the startling lineup in lieu of veteran Jarrett Jack's back spasms Sunday night versus the Pacers at home. Will their respective upticks be enough to boost either Cavalier from the cellar of this week's rankings?
As always, all players here are ranked according to their overall production, albeit weighted toward any significant recent progress. Eye-popping numbers are nice, but who leapfrogs who is based on more than just highlight reels or box scores—defense, hustle and praise from friend or foe alike all matter. With that in mind, let's begin.
*Unless otherwise noted, all stats provided by NBA.com and are current through Monday, Jan. 6.