10 Thoughts on the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011-2012 (NBA Season Preview)

1.      Sorry Cavs fans, I like Kyrie Irving – I really do – but as a #1
pick in the draft?  He’ll have to be Chris Paul good for that with his
athletic ability and I’m not ready to declare that of anyone.  He
will, however, be efficient and learn quickly.  Still, it was the wrong year for a #1 pick, as Irving likely wouldn’t be in the top 5 next year.


2. This is a team that badly needs a 2-guard, with Daniel Gibson, Anthony Parker and Alonzo Gee set to get time there.  None are really very good, though Gibson can score, he simply can’t defend the position.  Look for opposing wings to torch the Cavs all year.


3. Mitigating that fact will be the return of Anderson Varejao, one of the best defensive centers in basketball.  Varejao is aggressive and energetic in help, changing shots and taking charges.  He’s absolutely the glue that holds the defense together, though he’d offer more value to a contender and should fetch quite a bit in a trade, should the team so desire.


4. Far more likely to be traded is Antawn Jamison, the 35-year-old with an ending contract who’s an effective bench scorer, but undersized for the 4 and really should be spotted minutes carefully.  Still, the Cavs are starved for scoring and Jamison will really help as long as he’s on the team.


5. Moving Jamison will open up time for Tristan Thompson, the #4 pick in the draft whose energy and effort should pair with Varejao to change the defensive culture of the club as he develops into a more effective offensive player.  His motor sets him apart and with more time, he could be a major surprise to those unfamiliar with his game.


6. Omri Casspi arrives to add toughness and shooting in return for JJ Hickson.  The Cavs are building a professional, hard working team and Casspi absolutely fits.  He’s big, not afraid to bang inside, and will rebound – this is the kind of player the Kings need and the Cavs need to target more of.


7. Unfortunately, a lack of depth will destroy this team’s chances as much as their lack of talent and experience does.  The team plays hard, but Ramon Sessions may be their top reserve, and he’s one of the worst defensive players in basketball.  Semih Erden, Gee, Parker, and Ryan Hollins give good effort but are simply not rotation players on a good team.


8. Byron Scott deserves a medal for keeping these guys focused and playing hard, but now it’s time to develop the young talent.  That’s never really been his forte in previous stops, but it’s absolutely imperative now. 


9. Dan Gilbert, the team owner, brings more negative to the squad than almost any other owner in the league.  In addition to his Lebron tirade, his out and out lockout negativity, he was also the owner who had his anti-Chris Paul to the Lakers letter printed.  Free agents weren’t dying to join the Cavs before, but unless the money is incomparable, it’s hard to see a marquee guy joining this team.


10.  This is a team that really lacks a go-to scorer and since top players aren’t dying to come to Cleveland post-Lebron, that means being terrible isn’t so bad, especially in a draft this deep.  Should they find an elite scorer and nab another draft pick for a quality role player, this team is closer than many believe.

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