Hey Cleveland, Acquiring Shaq Still Doesn't Put You On Top Of The East!
Sorry Cleveland fans, but I have to do it.
But we all know what happened after that.
Mo Williams showed his true colors, head coach Mike Brown proved why Stan Van Gundy/Rick Adelman deserved the Coach of the Year Award more, and LeBron James hit one miracle shot that escaped the Cavaliers from getting swept by Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals.
With that all said and done, Cleveland headed into this offseason with intentions of acquiring a few great players to contend against teams like the Lakers for the title.
Did the Cavaliers really upgrade their roster from the 08'-09' season to the 09'-10' season?
Let's take a look.
Many players turned into free-agents this offseason. Of the bunch, players like Paul Millsap, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon, Rasheed Wallace, and Shawn Marion would have fit in rather well with the Cavaliers style of play.
Instead of going after a young and upcoming players (or at least a player that is under 37 years of age), the Cavaliers decided that it would be best to trade for Shaquille O'Neal.
Taking a look back at Shaq's history, before his 08'-09' breakout season, it seemed as if O'Neal's historic career was on the serious decline. He went from the '04-'05 season when he averaged 22.9 PPG, to 20.0 PPG the next season, to 17.3 PPG the season after that, to 14.2 PPG for 33 games with Miami and then only 12.9 PPG for 28 games with Phoenix.
When viewing other Hall of Fame players careers, they all go through an "ending phase," where they literally decline in averages for multiple seasons in a row, and then eventually retire.
If Shaq did not have this "breakout season" last year, he would probably be either a back up for the Suns team during this upcoming season or at home retired, watching the game on his couch.
Luckily for Cavaliers fans, they obtain a player that they expect so much out of to produce, when before last season (when he played 75 games), the last time he played 75 + games was during the 99'-00' season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Do you fans really anticipate for Shaq to step onto the court, play 30+ MPG, produce at the level he did last season, and not get injured or miss at least 15-20 games during the process?
The man stands 7'1", weighing 325+ pounds and is entering his 19th season in the league. How much of an impact can he truly make for a contending team like the Cavs?
Which brings me to my next Cavaliers problem.
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