Sadly for Dan Gilbert, he wasn't able to deliver on his promise that the Cavs would win a title before LeBron did. But the rebuilding plan continues in Cleveland and it starts with Kyrie Irving.
Irving really is something to behold. He had an incredibly productive season not just by rookies' standards, but by Rookie of the Year standards. Only three active players had higher rookie PERs than Kyrie: Tim Duncan, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. CP3 is an interesting comp both in describing the confidence in the two point guards' games, but also in greater team impact. For a few years there, CP3 drove the Hornets to contention. Can't Kyrie do the same?
So, is contending reasonable? Not really.
Do I think the Cavaliers will make the playoffs? No, I don’t. There are too many holes and too many flaws. But that doesn’t mean that shouldn’t be this team’s goal. In the NBA, all you need is one superstar. Well, maybe that’s not all you need, but it’s a good start. Kyrie Irving is a game changer. Paired up with the leadership by example and intangibles you get from Varejao, and the Cavaliers have a core. And that core is surrounded by young talented players like Thompson, Waiters, and Zeller, along with some nice enough role players like Gee, Gibson, and Miles.
The rebuilding effort has really focused on the draft.
The most important part of the Cavs' offseason was the draft. They shocked some people when they took Dion Waiters with the 4th overall pick, but Byron Scott and Chris Grant seem confident in the choice. Only time will tell if they made the right call. In another clever move, they packaged the 24th overall pick with two 2nd round picks to move up and grab Tyler Zeller. Zeller was impressive during Summer League and has a skill set that acts as a good complement to that of Tristan Thompson.
And what about that Waiters pick?
The Cavaliers shocked everyone by picking Waiters at No. 4 in the 2012 NBA Draft instead of Thomas Robinson and Harrison Barnes. Since then, I've tried seeing this from the Cavaliers' perspective as much as I can ... and I still don't really get it. It seems to me that the only defense of this pick is "the Cavaliers must really like him, and we have to trust them on that." Obviously, they could be right because you never know with the draft, but knowing what we know now, it was a curious selection at best.
The next chapter of the Cleveland Cavs will be written slowly and deliberately, and probably without comic sans.