NBA Season Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers

Thomas Ondrey, The Plain Dealer

2012-2013 Record: 24-58, 5th in Central Division

Key additions: Anthony Bennett, Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack, Earl Clark

Key subtractions: Wayne Ellington, Omri Casspi, Shaun Livingston, Marreese Speights

Kyrie Irving is the centerpiece of the Cavaliers, and when he is healthy the team is thriving. He missed 23 games last season and the Cavs really suffered in his absence. With a healthy Kyrie, the Cavaliers will definitely make strides and play better than last season.

Irving recently said on media day, “I want to be the best player in this league,” “In order to do that, I know we have to win a lot of games. But I’m the leader of this team, and I’m ready to take responsibility for it by helping us make the playoffs. This is the best I’ve ever felt coming into a season.”

Dion Waiters took over the point guard position while Irving was on the disabled list. Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving did not have great chemistry because their places frequently changed. This year the scenario will differ. Waiters will play shooting guard and Irving will run the point.

Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown spoke  about his starting lineup, “Kyrie’s our point guard,” “When Kyrie’s off the floor and Jarrett Jack is on the floor, Jarrett Jack is our point guard. We have plenty of ballhandlers. Now, (Waiters’) job will be simplified.”

Last year, Waiters had a great rookie season. He averaged 14.7 PPG, 3.0 APG, and 2.4 RPG. Now that Waiters is in a more comfortable situation this year, I expect him to improve very much.

Tristan Thompson switched shooting hands in the off-season, and the move has definitely payed off for him.

Thompson will come off the bench for the Cavs, and provide more depth to the team.

The major acquisition for the Cavaliers in the off-season was the signing of Andrew Bynum. Bynum will be the X-Factor for the Cavs this year. There success is dependent on his success.

Although, Andrew Bynum’s results last year were crippled by injuries. Two years ago when he was with the Lakers, he was one of the best centers in the league. The Cavaliers signed Bynum very inexpensively, and took no risk when signing the big man.

The Cavs also signed Earl Clark and Jarrett Jack. These signings will add more depth to the team. Clark filled in great for the Lakers when Pau Gasol was injured last season, and Jack was a great back up for Stephen Curry.

The Cleveland Cavaliers had the number one pick in the NBA draft last year. The team made a surprise pick by choosing Anthony Bennett. Bennett’s projection was in the top ten but no one predicted that he would be chosen first. I really do not think Bennett will help the Cavaliers. I think he will underperform. When Bennett plays against better defenders and scorers his performance will weaken. Don’t have high expectations for the rookie.

The Cavs success will come down to Andrew Bynum’s performance, and the health of key players. If everything goes right for the Cavs, I think they can make the playoffs on a seven or eight seed.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG: Kyrie Irving

SG: Dion Waiters

SF: Earl Clark

PF: Anderson Varejao

C: Andrew Bynum

Follow Harrison Malkin on Twitter @HarrisonSports1

Photo Credit: Thomas Ondrey, The Plain Dealer Twitter @FullScaleSport

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