The season is approaching (but not quickly enough), so that means it’s NBA preview time. Starting with the league’s worst team and working our way to the top, we’ll preview one team per day.
Last year’s record: 61-21
Head Coach: Byron Scott
Projected Starters: Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao
My cousin played basketball at Boston University a few years ago, and opposing fan bases had a great chant whenever they played his team. “Sucks to B.U.! Sucks to B.U.!” Get it? Well, that chant applies to all Cleveland fans. It really, beyond belief, sucks to B.U.
I’ve got a real “Decision” to make here. I could choose Leon Powe, who averaged a whopping 4.0 points and 3.0 rebounds last year but should be better after a season of recovery; Mo Williams, who barely decided not to retire (how admirable of him!) after Lebron James bolted, but should now be the team’s star; Daniel Gibson, who stands to see more playing time in the post-Lebron stage; Jamario Moon, who could be the starting small forward by default; Antawn Jamison, who loves compiling impressive stats on bad teams; or Anderson Varejao, who should have started last year but had to wait for Shaq to depart. Whoever I pick, I doubt it will bring comfort to Cavs fans. Lebron James is not walking through that door.
Biggest Question Mark:
It sounds almost cruel to say it, but who will be the Cavs’ starting small forward: Joey Graham or Jamario Moon? Either way, they’re in great hands.
Most important newcomer:
Ramon Sessions. I’ll be honest, though: he didn’t have very much competition, and I don’t know how he’ll fit in with Mo Williams. The other most important newcomer? Joey Graham. Let’s just say Joey probably won’t completely fill the shoes of his predecessor.
Duh. Lebron. Who did you think I was going to say, Sebastian Telfair?
Most compelling storyline:
Dan Gilbert’s comical guarantee. “I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE.” Clock’s ticking, Dan. I’ve got a feeling you’ll be proven a liar.
Player to watch:
J.J. Hickson. The one Cavalier to truly get excited about, Hickson’s the player the Cavs refused to part with in a potential trade for Amare Stoudemire. Hickson’s also the player who has never averaged more than 8.5 points or 4.9 rebounds per game and posted only 3.5 ppg and 0.8 ppg in last year’s playoffs. Is he ready to take the keys to the franchise? Nope. But, at least for now, Byron Scott doesn’t really have a choice. God knows Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison can’t lead a team to the promised land.
Descriptive movie quote:
“You know, in the ten years that I coached, I never met anybody who wanted to win as badly as I did. I’d do anything I had to do to increase my advantage. Anybody who tried to block the pursuit of that advantage, I’d just push ‘em out of the way. Didn’t matter who they were, or what they were doing. But that was then. You have special talent, a gift. Not the school’s, not the townspeople, not the team’s, not Myra Fleener’s, not mine. It’s yours, to do with what you choose. Because that’s what I believe, I can tell you this: I don’t care if you play on the team or not.” – Norman Dale, Hoosiers
I’m pretty sure that Norman Dale line isn’t what Byron Scott said to Lebron James. But you can imagine what it would have been like if it was.
Projected record: 27-55. In his letter to fans after The Decision, Dan Gilbert wrote, “Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day.” Too bad tomorrow, tomorrow, is always a day away.