2009 Expert NBA Basketball Picks: Cleveland Cavaliers Predictions

Vernon CroyCorrespondent INovember 6, 2009

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 27:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers brings the ball up court during the game against the Boston Celtics on October 27, 2009 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Celtics won 95-89.  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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Last year’s NBA season was highlighted by the amazing regular season that the Cleveland Cavaliers had and Lebron James put on a show on his way to the MVP award. However, they met their match in the playoffs against an upstart Orlando Magic team.

Lebron left the court in disgust without shaking any hands and immediately started his offseason. As far as Free NBA Picks go did the Cavaliers do enough in the offseason to get over the hump and to the NBA Championship?

The Good News: The Cavaliers were not content to trot out the same team as last year. They know that their window of opportunity is closing before Lebron becomes a free agent. If they want to win, they need to do it now, because you never know what team will lure him away. Their biggest acquisition of the offseason came when they brought Shaquille O’neal to town.

The Big Diesel will team up with Lebron to form one of the best 1-2 combinations in history. Any time you put together two of the best basketball players to ever play the game, you should be able to win some games. Granted, Shaq is not in the prime of his career, but he’s got enough in the tank to guard some of the big men in the Eastern Conference.

Shaq had a good year last season and he should be able to provide some scoring punch from the low post. With him and Ilgauskas in rotation at center, there isn’t a team in the East that can compete with them.

In addition to Shaq, they went out and added Jamario Moon and Leon Powe. Moon is a talented swing man that should add some depth behind Lebron. Powe is a tireless worker on the interior and a steady rebounder. He should help provide some energy off the bench.

The best thing the Cavs still have going for them is Lebron James. He is the most dominant player in the league and he makes other players around him better. He has only been in the league a few years and he gets better every year. This year, he will be even more amazing than last year.

The Bad News: The bad news is that they are basically putting all their apples in one basket with the Shaq move. They want it to pay off this year with a championship. If it doesn’t they’ve used a lot of money on Lebron and Shaq and they basically would not know where to go from there.

If you are looking for Free NBA Picks anytime you put a player of Shaq’s caliber into a rotation that already has good chemistry, you risk messing up a good thing. Shaq slowed down the high-flying offense in Phoenix and it remains to be seen how he will work with the Cavaliers lineup.

Outlook: The Cavaliers should be the favorites to win the East. Even though the Celtics and Magic will give them some solid competition, the Cavaliers have the best player in the league and have now brought in one of the most dominant big men in the history of the NBA. Throw in an All-Star point guard in Mo Williams, and this team is going to be really tough to beat.

Check out Vernon Croy's Winning NBA Picks this season.