Ultra Mega Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview
New System, New Coaches, New Game
It's no secret that Mike Brown had a questionable offensive system juxtaposed with an immaculate knack for running a defense.
Well, now that the Cavs have a coach that can run an effective offense, the interesting part will be whether or not the system can be implemented effectively.
The interesting part is that Scott has normally taken over teams when they are coming off seasons that were at best considered a struggle. Now, however, Scott is taking over a team who has lost its face after a 62 win season.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Scott can keep the team afloat during a period that can be best described as transitional in Cleveland.
LeBron's First Game Back
December second—118 days. The city of Cleveland and the state of Ohio has collectively marked their calendars. They are ready.
What we will all witness (pun definitely intended) that day will without a doubt be one of the most intense atmospheres for a non-playoff game in NBA history.
Much of the country doesn't agree with the way in which LeBron made his decision. They also do not agree with the prolonged reaction of Clevelanders toward his decision to depart.
How will the Cavaliers fare this season?
Many people think Cleveland should just move on, and they have no reason to feel as angry as they do because LeBron was, after all, a free agent, and not a slave to the Cavaliers.
Well, when that day comes you had better bet your sweet bippy that the reaction by the angry, pulsating mob that crams itself into The Q will take their hatred to the extreme.
So mommas and papas, leave your kids at home. Please. You don't want them encountering some of the extremely vulgar bits of hate lobbed in the general direction of a certain No. 6 in a visiting jersey.
The turbulent, transitional time period the Cavs find themselves in are good for one thing: Trades!
Giving us all something to talk about are what will happen to the players of the old cast of Cavs, with everyone from Mo Williams and Jamario Moon, to Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker having their name called on possibly being shipped off for the future benefit of the team.
I expect at least two of the previous four players mentioned to get sent off either in what is left of the offseason, or prior to the trade deadline.
Williams, Moon, Jamison, and Parker either don't fit into the current system or the future plans for the team or are too good of trade pieces to be kept.
Of the four, Jamison is the least likely to go. His contract is horrendous, earning him $13.3 million this year and $15 million next year.
The only way Jamison gets shipped (this year at least) is if a championship caliber team gets decimated by injury and becomes ultra desperate for a person that can both fill in and be effective enough to help the team as more than just a body to put on the floor and six more fouls to be able to use up.
Mo Williams will probably be moved at some point prior to the February deadline. He is a hot shooting guard with decent ball handling and floor general skills, both of which have been shrouded for the past two years with LeBron running the majority of the offense.
Mo will go to a borderline team to be a guy who is an improvement over their point guard either now or down the road.
As far as I can tell, the best place to see Mo shipped to would be Atlanta, where they have a half-dead Mike Bibby running the point.
Another possibility would be Dallas to have him replace Jason Kidd as he shows more age as his career winds down. Their backups are not as seasoned as Williams and he would be a nice complementary piece to Dirk Nowitzki.
Other teams that I could see being interested in Williams would be Charlotte (not a true point guard on their team), the Lakers (Derek Fisher is getting old), and the Knicks (although not very likely if the Chris Paul rumors are true).
Anthony Parker will most likely be moved at the trade deadline to any of the teams contending in the top half of the playoff brackets.
Parker adds length to any team and is one of the best three-point shooters in the league. He would help any team that he would join.
Jamario Moon is another long guard-forward combo who would bring athleticism and aggressiveness to a team. He could help many of the borderline teams with depth off the bench.
JJ Hickson, All-Star?
Now, at this point there are too many variables in play to tell what the Cavaliers young gun will be able to do this year with a more balanced offense that is reliant on backdoor cuts and giving a maximum effort during games, something that JJ is quite good at.
If the system clicks in Cleveland, and with the lack of a legitimate high-scoring threat, it is not crazy to think that JJ could be a 20/10 guy this year.
Having said that, it is impossible to predict what will happen to the team without an offensive leader to run things. It could honestly go one way or the other.
The biggest thing blocking JJ from cracking the all-star roster, however, is the wealth of power forwards in the East.
After a tumultuous offseason, the East now boasts a power forward corps that includes Rashard Lewis, Chris Bosh, Josh Smith, Kevin Garnett, and new arrivals Carlos Boozer and Amar'e Stoudemire, along with young JJ.
So, while I think JJ will be the most consistent and pleasing player on the Cavs roster this year, I think the odds are stacked against him making the all-star squad.
Christian Eyenga Premier
Is it strange that the thing I am most excited about seeing is the arrival of a Congolese import whom, when drafted, I thought was a waste of a pick and has averaged peanuts on a minor league-ish European team?
The answer is yes, but that is the type of thing that I have to look forward to in this post-LeBron Cleveland.
Eyenga has been less than stellar in his time in Europe, but that is all due to his lack of playing time due to his subpar basketball IQ. What better way to improve that IQ than to insert him into an NBA club with the smartest basketball people in the world?
He is quite the opposite of the majority of the African-born imports, who are usually nine-foot tall, Dikembe Mutumbo-esq shot blockers. Eyenga is a freakish athlete who is a streaky shooter and shows good off the ball movement.
Eyenga could be very good, or not...who knows?
Anderson Varejao: What's Up?
I have wavered back and forth on what is to become of the Wild Thing in the upcoming season.
Part of his value to the team in the past years is his unwavering ability to hustle and work as hard as he can to help his team on the court, a style of play that seems as if it would mesh easily with the Scott system.
However, one of the biggest strengths of his game was his off-ball movement, which was enhanced as LeBron James as a ball distributor. With more eyes on LeBron in the past years, Andy was able to slip defenders more readily than what I believe he will be able to do with a more balanced team attack they will showcase this year.
Moreover, if he is indeed the team's starting center, his rebounding numbers will undoubtedly go down, and he will be outmatched in almost every game they play.
If they can start Antawn Jamison at the three and JJ Hickson at the four I can see good reasoning behind bringing Andy off the bench and using him in the same manner he has been used in since he arrived in Cleveland. That would mean, however, starting the inexperienced, unproven Ryan Hollins at center, a possibly fine or disastrous scenario.
With the current roster there are so many scenarios and "what ifs" that it is nearly impossible to get a handle on what is going to be the role of each player this year. Nothing is definite at this point, and I don't see a definite rotation emerging until at least December.
I'm gonna come right out and say it. I have no clue.
This team could be horrible, and I don't want to sugarcoat it—they could downright suck. The basement for this team could be somewhere around 20 to 25 wins.
With the lack of an established center, we will probably get bombarded down low by teams with true centers. That will be our biggest disadvantage of the year.
However, the team could surprise everybody. Byron Scott's system is designed to cover up the offensive weaknesses of a team, and if it clicks, and clicks well, they could be a borderline playoff team.
They could very well win 40 or so games this year if all works out well.
So don't lose hope yet, wine and gold faithful. We could be in for a surprise, and it will definitely be interesting.
But like I said...I have no clue.
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