With the opening tip of the Cleveland Cavaliers' season just mere hours away, there is excitement amongst fans. Yet there are still a lot of questions and concerns surrounding this season's Cavaliers team. Here are some of the biggest of those questions/concerns coming into the regular season.
This team is still very young
This is something many fans will have to keep in mind as the season moves along. This is a team that stars two second-year players, in Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, and will rely on those two to carry much of the load, both offensively and defensively. Of their likely starting lineup, there will be a rookie, Dion Waiters, the two two second-year men, and a seven and eight-year veteran, C.J. Miles and Anderson Varejao. While seven and eight years are nothing to scoff at, this is not a lot of NBA experience for a starting five..
The average age of this roster is 24.2 years old, and has an average of three years experience. Both of these are the third lowest in the league, in front of only the Houston Rockets and the New Orleans Hornets (neither considered playoff contenders).
The good news is, most of the young players have shown promise. Both Irving and Thompson were top rookies last year and gained a lot of experience. The problem is, they were still only rookies, and Cleveland will be counting on another rookie, Waiters, to contribute heavy minutes. While there will likely be some success as the team continues to grow, there will be the normal growing pains that come along with young players leading a team.
This is something that is a staple of every great team, and has hurt the Cavaliers the last two seasons. Two years ago, Cleveland was the 23rd ranked defense in the NBA, giving up 104.5 points per game. In last season's shortened format, the Cavaliers got better statistically, only giving up 100.2 points per game, but were ranked lower, at 26.
Things have been better in the preseason, only giving up 98.29 points over the seven games they played, but that still puts them in the bottom 10 of the league.
If this team is going to improve this year, they are going to need to get better on this side of the ball. Something that has killed Cleveland, is their inability to defend opposing teams' guards, who tend to blow pass their man on the way to the basket. While Varejao and Thompson should help that some, neither are traditional dominate big men, like a Dwight Howard type, who keep players out of the paint. This puts more pressure on the guards, likely Irving and Waiters most of the time, to stay in front of their man and not allow them easy penetration.
For young guards, this can be difficult. Irving should continue to improve on that side of the ball, but Waiters may be a liability throughout the season. Last year at Syracuse, he played a uncommon zone scheme that is completely different than what he will be asked to do defensively as a Cavalier. He will have to adjust quickly, or Miles may have to move back to the shooting guard position.
This is no secret; every team needs it to get by. While some of the more talented teams in the NBA may have reported issues off the court, the successful ones make it look easy because they know where their teammates will be and they have trust in them to execute.
Throughout the preseason, this was inconsistent with Cleveland. There has been a week of practice and scrimmages since the last game, so there is hope that this continued to build. The problem may be, Irving was out more much of that time, after having his wisdom teeth removed last Wednesday. As he is the floor general for the Cavaliers, his chemistry with his teammates is the most important.
While it usually takes a while for young teams to build good chemistry, Cleveland fans will hope their team shows signs early on. With a difficult schedule in the first month, chemistry will be key to giving the team a chance to win. What could be good about the tough early road trips, is that it forces the team to be together a lot, allowing them to bond off the court. That will hopefully be reflected in their play.
This is something every team needs to be successful in this league. There are going to be games that come down to one play. Whether it is a last shot situation, or a call going their way, or just the ball bouncing right on a loose-ball play, luck is important.
Where the Cavaliers may need the most luck is in the injury department. This is something that derailed what was looking like a decent season early on last year. Varejao missed most of the year with an injury and Irving missed time down the stretch, as the small playoff hopes Cleveland had slipped away.
Injuries happen in sports, but the teams that can stay the most healthy are usually the ones that end up playing in late April and May. There is no telling when an injury bug will hit, or who might get hurt, but the Cavaliers will hope they can stay more healthy than not this year, in order to make a push and improve on last season.
Answers will begin being given out tonight. Get ready for another season of Cavaliers basketball!
Related VideosReturning Soon!!!!
No related posts.
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/m7a