Hahaha....surprised? I was too. I've been preparing this article for quite some time and had some trouble selecting the bottom two seeds in the Eastern Conference. But in the end I decided that these teams show the most potential. My heart goes out to Cleveland for next season and I would love to see them do well. Despite what Dan Gilbert thinks, although, this team is not headed to a championship any time soon. Once the fires died down from "the Decision", I think even Gilbert realized that.
Minus Lebron, this team still has plenty of potential and will not be horrible next year. I think they can still contend for a playoff spot...if they pick up a few more pieces. It doesn't seem like the front office is even trying these days. They need to stop moping and licking their wounds from King James' departure and get back into the swing of things. While they sit whining and moaning, the rest of the Eastern Conference continues to improve and deepen their rosters with the rest of the pickings left over in the free agency crop. Where is Cleveland in all of this?
Projected starting lineup:
PG- Mo Williams
SG- Anthony Parker
SF- Jamario Moon
PF- Antawn Jamison
C- Anderson Varejao
Key reserves: Ramon Sessions, JJ Hickson, Joey Graham, Daniel Gibson
This is just a projected starting lineup. I'm not even sure how new coach Byron Scott plans on making it all work. But if you look at it you can see that there is a lot of talent on this roster. If they can all pull together and recover, this team can still contend and be decent.
Mo Williams seems to be on the trading block, but even if he remains in Cleveland they are are still pretty deep in the backcourt. Ramon Sessions is a fantastic sixth man and could even start if Mo doesn't start producing better. I love Anthony Parker and feel like he is vastly underrated. The signing of Joey Graham was also a great pickup.
The frontcourt is where it gets interesting. This may be JJ Hickson's year to show us all what he's got. I love this guy and feel like he's a future All-Star in this league. He may take over the starting 4 spot and kick Jamison to more of a sixth man role. Anderson Varejao definitely will be the starting center on this roster. He is a fan favorite in Cleveland and has one of the biggest hearts in the NBA. Varejao brings a lot of heart to the court.
Jamario Moon is also a question mark heading into the season. Are the Cavs planning on him being the King's replacement? Or will Joey Graham start? I was expecting the Cavs to maybe sign someone like Richard Jefferson or Josh Howard, but now those two are off the market. It's interesting to me that this team continues to stand pat. Who knows, maybe they feel like they can contend with the team they have. It's quite possible too. But it wouldn't hurt to pick up a few more players.
Maybe Jerry Stackhouse? Allen Iverson? Shannon Brown?
In the end, Dan Gilbert's team will still be in contention for a lower playoff seeding, but they will not be able to contend with the likes of Orlando, Chicago, and Miami.