Record: 51-31 (Tied for 2nd in the East)
Season Ended: Lost in the Finals against the Warriors in 5 games
Cedi Osman (SG/SF) Drafted in 2015
Derrick Rose (PG), Dwyane Wade (SG), Jose Calderon (PG), Jeff Green (SF/PF)
Jae Crowder (SF), Isaiah Thomas (PG), Ante Zizic (C)
Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams
Projected Starters (Last year averages)
PG: Isaiah Thomas (29 pts, 3 reb, 6 ast) *Will miss time due to injury*
SG: Dwyane Wade (18 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast)
SF: Jae Crowder (14 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast)
PF: Lebron James (26 pts, 9 reb, 9 ast)
C: Kevin Love (19 pts, 11 reb, 2 ast)
Derrick Rose, Tristan Thompson, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green, JR Smith
Major Story lines
Kyrie Trade Request/Drama – In an offseason full of surprises one of the biggest was the sudden Kyrie Irving trade request and the drama that followed. Kyrie clearly was not happy in Cleveland and has found a new home and in his wake he has left a likely hungrier Lebron who suddenly has a loaded roster around him. Kyrie may have actually done Cleveland a favor.
Lebron leaving again? – With that said, Lebron will be a free agent after the season and the question of whether he stays or leaves looms yet again. The good thing is that with the Kyrie trade the Cavs are poised to stay competitive even if the King does leave the Land once more. With a team full of veterans you have to imagine this will not be enough of a distraction to derail their success.
Isaiah Thomas injury – The biggest piece of the Kyrie trade was Isaiah Thomas. A guy who has gotten better with every one of his stops yet still can’t find a home. He too will be looking for a payday in the coming offseason and there will not be many teams with the cash to pay him. More importantly however he will not be tasked with carrying this Cavs team like he did in Boston and with Lebron’s closing being a weakness Isaiah is in the perfect position to become a hero in Cleveland. Regardless as to what happens to Lebron Isaiah will be looking for a long term home and Cleveland could be that place.
Wade/ Lebron Reunion – This team was already loaded but then Wade accepted a buyout from the Bulls and also climbed onto the roster. Last year the Cavs struggled when Lebron went to the bench but now they’ll have 3-4 other players capable of carrying an offense for stretches at a time. If they remain healthy the Cavs should be amazingly deep.
Mike Predictions (66 – 16) (1st in the East)
- Cavs win the East, easily. Then the title – With 66 wins I think the Cavs make short work of the Eastern Conference ensuring that they lock up the 1 seed and send notice to the league that they’re not here for the games. Having avoided the gauntlet of the West I think they are poised to win the title (and I will give Josh credit for making the call before I did.)
- D Rose and D Wade have great seasons – This may not be reflected in their numbers as they will each be asked to do less than normal but I forsee some guys getting nights off and other nights where the team goes with the hot hand. I see several nights where that is either Wade or Rose and while I still see people hating on both of them, I still think they’re both great players in this league and without the burden of carrying a team they each show that from time to time.
Josh Predictions (60 – 22) (1st in the East)
- Lebron wins MVP – There’s no longer a “1-A” player in Cleveland. The Cavs went from having a Superman & Batman to now having a Superman & a bunch of Aquamen. With D-Wade’s age and IT’s hip, they might need a few Cyborg’s too. If you’re not following, basically that’s nerd-speak for “Lebron is going to have to GO OFF this year for Cleveland to have any chance to win it all.” And I think he will. Getting Jae Crowder’s toughness and defense in the Kyrie Irving deal was huge. Lebron getting reunited with his BFF, Wade, was also huge. The Cavs being able to bring Tristan Thompson off the bench now is huge-huge. Despite losing a star player, Cleveland seems to me to have a more well-rounded roster. If the old guys like Wade, D Rose, and Jeff Green stay healthy and play off Lebron, I think this team goes to its 4th straight finals. And I think Lebron wins his 5th MVP award in the process.
- Cavs win it all – This feels like I’m piggybacking off my first prediction. And it feels weird to say that I think the Cavs are better without Kyrie. But I really like their roster. I think Lebron is going to have more fun this year and produce one of his best statistical seasons ever. And I think if Isaiah Thomas comes back and is anywhere near the player he was last year, I think Cleveland finds a way to get past Boston in the playoffs and defend KD well enough to beat Golden State in the finals.