NBA season preview: Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA season preview: Cleveland Cavaliers


NBA season preview: Cleveland Cavaliers

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STAYING: Channing Frye, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Richard Jefferson, Dahntay Jones, James Jones, Kevin Love, Jordan McRae, Iman Shumpert and Tristan Thompson.

ADDED: Chris Andersen (Memphis), Markel Brown (Brooklyn), Mike Dunleavy (Chicago), Kay Felder (Oakland), John Holland (Boston), Jonathan Holmes, Cory Jefferson (Bakersfield Jam), DeAndre Liggins (Sioux Falls Skyforce) and Eric Moreland (Sacramento).

GONE: Matthew Dellavedova (Milwaukee), Sasha Kaun, Timofey Mozgov (LA Lakers), JR Smith and Maurice Williams.

STRENGTHS: LeBron James … Others may perform better in the regular season, but nobody comes close to playoff LeBron … All-around dominant player who would make a contender out of most clubs … Sidekick Kyrie Irving is a Top 15 NBA player … His ballhandling and shot-making skills are top-notch … Cold-blooded come crunch time … Tristan Thompson is one of the finest role players in the league in recent years … Fantastic fit as a skilled hustle player on a team chock full of scorers … Many outside shooters that open up the floor for LeBron and Kyrie to operate … Kevin Love, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson, James Jones and Mike Dunleavy all shot 36 percent or better from three last season … If they bring back JR Smith, that’s another massive long-range threat for Cleveland … Pretty physical squad who can play lock-down defense when into it … Great rebounding … Many battle-tested veterans with a team-first mentality … They will not wilt under pressure, as proved last June … Easier path to the Finals for Cleveland than for Golden State.

WEAKNESSES: With Matthew Dellavedova and Maurice Williams gone, there’s no reliable backup point guard … That could spell trouble considering Irving has missed over 20 percent of games due to injury throughout his NBA career … They would take a step back talent-wise if they don’t bring back JR  … Weak free-throw shooting team … They don’t have an awful lot of size down low … Not much intimidation around the rim … Can they stay as hungry now that they have ended Cleveland’s title drought?

PREDICTION: 1st in the Central Division, 1st in the Eastern Conference.



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