Cleveland Cavaliers - The POJO Dojo
Last Years Record: 50-32, Finished 2nd in NBA Central Division
Key Losses: Anderson Varejao (?), Sasha Pavlovic (?), Scot Pollard, David Wesley--Let's be fair here...Varejao and Pavs are holding out, but not on the roster...so until they do...they are losses. Frankly...they can stay lost or be dealt for all I care--Pollard and Wesley were non-existant as Cavaliers...so they are hardly KEY LOSSES.
Key Additions: Devin Brown, Cedric Simmon (both from New Orleans)
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?
Let's be honest...I could have kept this blank. Danny Ferry managed to do nothing. You can insert reason here...as to why...but the truth of the matter is that nobody knows. Is owner Dan Gilbert having money problems? Is Danny Ferry a lame-brained moron? Did Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic's misguided hold-outs handcuff Ferry's potential moves? Whatever the reason, Cleveland failed to improve upon a team that followed the yellow brick road to the NBA Finals. OH, they tried to trade for Mike Bibby, and a few other players...but ultimately nothing happened. I'm pretty sure that the reason they DIDN'T make a deal is because Drew Gooden is more valued by the Cavs brass than anyone ever thought. Call it because of Varejao, they just didn't want to deal Gooden. This is probably a good thing in the long run.
Sure, Cleveland ultimately signed Devin Brown and Cedric Simmons a couple of weeks ago. Who are they? Exactly. They can be decent players, but they aren't difference makers. Cleveland needs to break down these talks with Pavs and Varejao at REASONABLE pay, and get moving on the season.
There also needs to be a move at some point to improve this offense.
Ultimately, the most significant MOVE of the offseason may be sending Larry Hughes to Mark Price for some pointers on his shot. Hopefully it will pay off, and Hughes can find his shooting touch that's so eluded him in his Tribe tenure.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way...
LeBron James. What he brings to a team need not be mentioned because you all know what it is. If he's not the best player in the NBA, he will be, and he's still not near how good he'll be. That's to come in the next few years. Look for an improved outside game to take shape this year, which will continue LeBron's journey towards daily dominance. LeBron's defense should also see an improvement, but without help in the paint from Varejao and his charges...this could turn into a struggle.
Struggle defensively generally turns players into lazy defenders...
Past LeBron, and with Varejao and Pavs not here, it's hard to list another strength. Their defense is overrated (it is...sorry). Yeah, their regular season D was wonderful...and in the first three rounds of the playoffs as well. But you could see in the finals, that when it counted...it was garbage. Without Pavs and Varejao, it will be even moreso. When Cleveland would play teams that could score WITH THEIR DEPTH...they struggled for the most part. It will be much worse this year, even with optimum performances from their current roster.
Cleveland can also still be a good rebounding team, although not having Varejao will hurt. It's not QUITE a strength without the holdouts out there, but as close as you can get. Those seven boards a game off the bench WAS a big deal.
Boobie and Shannon Brown. I think this duo is underrated...in their roles of course.
Talking about last season's stats really aren't applicable without Varejao and Pavs around.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
Take your pick. Let's start with outside shooting. Donyell Marshall is a power forward who thinks he can shoot. After two years of pulling my hair out, I can safely say he's done as a player. One good game out of 20 isn't a good percentage. Damon Jones is a freakin' whiny little idiot. The self-proclaimed "Best shooter in the world," is just a bust. He can't shoot as advertised. Gibson is an unknown, but looks like he's got a shot, but as a soph this year, it's hard to tell what is standard, and what's not. Overall offense is the stare at LeBron show. Why? THEIR OFFENSE IS HORRIBLE. Mike Brown doesn't know how to coach it, and didn't hire anyone to help him do it. Speaking of Mike Brown, I think his defense is overrated, and his offense is non-existant. He's personable for sure...but let me know when that wins big games against actual good teams consistently.
What about the point guard situation? Eric Snow sucks, and he's hurt anyways. Larry Hughes doesn't want too...does want too...doesn't want too...does want too. Who freakin' knows what he wants or doesn't want, but until he proves it, he doesn't. Boobie might be able to roll with this...but I still think he's a roll player from the outside. I hope I'm wrong.
4. What are the goals for this team?
There is only one goal, and that is to win the NBA title...period...end of story.
I don't know how achievable it is as of yet. Cedric Simmons reinjured his high ankle sprain, and it doesn't look like we can put a roster together as good as last year's...which stinks because we needed a BETTER roster than last year to actually have a shot at this thing.
Still, LeBron wants a championship...and I can tell you this...
Last year taught me NEVER to doubt LeBron...
Is their first NBA title on the horizon? It may actually be closer than you think.
5. Which player will step up this season to offer LeBron James the support he needs to win a title?
Look...you can just forget the Damon Jones' and the DMarsh's. They are done...toast...finished.
So let's get to it:
Boobie Gibson: I don't know...I think in the right roll, this kid can be special. He did it in the playoffs last year, and has done NOTHING to prove that he can't do it over the long haul. I just don't know though. Is he a point guard? Is he a short shooting guard? He he just the guy that steps in no matter what? Either way, I think he'll improve.
Shannon Brown: He did nothing last year...so my bet is he improves on that. Still, I'm not sure where a Larry Hughes clone makes the team better. Rumor has it he can defend, and he has the eye of the coaches because of his work ethic. Let's hope this pays off.
Larry Hughes: I know...I said it...Larry 'freakin' Hughes. He will improve. He just will...trust me. He'll find his role, and stay healthy. He may even make Amar like the guy.
I think we'll have a bunch of improvement...from players we may have not expected it from.
Predicted Record: 50-32...again. It's hard to see this team improving without new players, but then again...how many teams have THE player...that would be one...The Cleveland Cavs.
Don't count them out just yet.