It’s safe to say that there will never be a more meaningful and more successful season than the one that last year’s Cleveland Cavaliers had. Winning the championship. Ending the title drought. Defeating the 73-9 Warriors in comeback fashion. However, that doesn’t mean that this year’s Cavs aren’t going to try.
With the loss of one face, came a new face. Timofey Mozgov, not the 16 million dollar version of him, took the lucrative contract offered by the Lakers and was out of CLE right as the midnight deadline of free agency came about. Fan favorite, Matthew Dellavedova, also would take his deserved contract offered by the Milwaukee Bucks which the Cavs did not match. Finally, wearing a suit more than his jersey, Sasha Kaun, retired after one, forgettable NBA season. Speaking of retirement, another fan favorite, Mo Williams, called it quits due to nagging knee surgeries. However, replacements were in the works. Through the magic of David Griffin, he was able to reel in Mike Dunleavy, a sharpshooting forward who the Cavs had their eye on for awhile. Realizing the need for a big, the Cavaliers would also sign, even in his old age, a mobile and defensive minded Chris “Birdman” Andersen. Both men are seemingly perfect pickups for the Cavs. Dunleavy, with his sharpshooting ability, is able to be another floor spacer to clear room for LeBron and Kyrie to operate. In addition, his length allows him to be a capable defender on the wing. Birdman simply gives us an identity. His grittiness, and his pure intimidation already makes the Cavs feel tougher. Not to mention, he’s great for the locker room and great for the fans.
Many can argue that maybe the Cavaliers just got older. However, there are a couple young pieces that the Cavs will look to season up a bit. Jordan McRae, a young, pure scorer, joined the team last year around the trade deadline. He is very athletic but his defense leaves a little bit to be desired. He will be counted on to come in and score at certain times to make the opponent see a different offense. With the loss of Delly, and the retirement of Mo Williams, the Cavs needed a backup point guard. They made a trade with the Hawks for their late second round pick which happened to be the 5’9 Kay Felder. While small, he is freakishly athletic and sees the court very well. That being said, he will need to improve his jumpshot and his defense if he wants to be at an NBA backup point guard level. There are rumors of possibly searching for other point guards in the near future, but it seems that the Cavaliers are content for now.
Finally, there were a few standouts from this preseason. DeAndre Liggins, a versatile defender and a capable 3 point shooter, is in pretty good shape to make the Cavs final roster. Jonathan Holmes, former Texas standout, has shown great range for his size but his defense is not on NBA level. It would be nice for him to develop with the Canton Charge and see if one day, he gets a chance in this league. The Cavs didn’t care about their preseason record. There were really nice flashes of ball movement and the squad seems to be all on the same page and very tightly knit. Winning cures everything and it seems to make everyone (Kevin Love) much more confident and playing at a higher level.
It’s going to be a fun year. With Durant on the Warriors and Wade on the Bulls, the league has shaken up and the Cavs are ready for the challenge. The East is much tougher, make no mistake about it. Pacers, Raptors, and Celtics will all be coming for the Cavs but I believe this Cavs team is capable of 60+ wins. Tune in Tuesday, October 25th for the ring ceremony as the Cavs tip off their championship defending campaign against the Knicks. In addition to all of this, the Indians will be right next door, hoping to take game 1 of their World Series matchup. Christmas in Cleveland is coming early this year. Don’t miss out on the two presents coming October 25th.