Welcome, fans of Sports Unbiased and readers of all kind, to the very first edition of the Cleveland Corner; one of the top-1000 destinations for sports fanatics, especially from Cleveland. In this special first edition, since it begins in 36 days, I’ll strictly be previewing the upcoming Cleveland Cavaliers season.
Last year I would’ve been writing this preview in the cold damp comfort of a dark attic; slowly pounding away at a typewriter and downing mug after mug of straight black coffee as I prepared for another typical abysmal season. Instead, like nearly everyone else around the nation, I have sky high hopes for a Cleveland team that added LeBron James and Kevin Love to a young, inexperienced team that already features All-Star Kyrie Irving.
Like all great previews, I will feature a numbered list. Nothing is as efficient and thought provoking as a well-constructed list. We’ll start off our journey with a more expansive look at the season overall.
After drafting Anthony Bennett with the number one overall pick and signing the All-Star formerly known as Andrew Bynum (now known as Big Bad Baby), Cleveland fans were full of hope and belief that their team would return to prominence in the Post-LeBron era. Under newly rehired Al Roker lookalike Mike Brown, who was deemed incompetent after failing to win a championship years ago with Cleveland and quickly getting booted out of L.A., the Cavaliers managed a mediocre 33-49 record. All of these atrocities occurred just months before the Decision 2.0; LeBron’s second eendeavorinto free agency.
Every Clevelander remembers where they were when they heard the joyous news that LeBron was coming home. Just as well as they remember the day he cut our hearts open with a jagged knife when he originally left. Now is not a time for painful memories though, as LeBron’s return marks a change in power throughout the entire NBA. LeBron can change any team from a bottom-feeder to a title contender with just his presence, and that’s exactly what Cleveland fans will be expecting in the next several years. Though it’s unlikely they’ll be able to pull off a championship run in his first season back, the next five years will be centered around the Cavaliers. I have yet to rightfully mention the acquisition of Kevin Love, which is one of the most significant trades in league history.
Now I’m going to do something that will blow your mind. I’m going to put a list WITHIN a list. Listception, if you will. Here are three good things Cleveland will have to look forward to.
a) Offense: The Cavaliers offense will feature LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and a plethora of spot shooters such as Mike Miller and James Jones. It’s hard to not list this as one of the league’s top-5 offenses and they haven’t even played a game together yet.
b) Experience: Just a year ago the Cavaliers were one of the youngest and most inexperienced teams in the league. Now they have title winners in LeBron, Shawn Marion, James Jones, Mike Miller, and Brendan Haywood. The veterans will be a huge help to the young guards on the team, especially considering new coach David Blatt has never coached an NBA game.
c) LeBron James: There’s nothing quite like having one of the best players to ever play the game on your team. LeBron seems as motivated and determined as ever to bring a championship to the miserable sports city he calls “The Land.”
a) Chemistry: Only a few players from last year’s team remain on the roster. It will be interesting to see if the players can come together and play as a team for an entire season and postseason.
b) New Head Coach: David Blatt is practically a legend overseas for his coaching ability. That being said, this is the NBA. Not everything is different, but he’ll now be coaching for and against the best players on Earth. Hopefully he can coach like his American doppelganger, Duke and USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.
c) Defense: This should pretty much say interior defense, since the perimeter D seems more than solid. Inside, Kevin Love has never been a good defender and Anderson Varejao is injury prone and not really a force to be reckoned with. Then again, LeBron’s Miami Heat faced the same problem and they won two championships.
There are several key games to circle on your calendars this year, starting with the season opener against Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks. LeBron and Co. will take the court for the first time against a less than stellar Knicks team. It will be the first of a back to back as they head to Chicago Halloween night to face the only other true Eastern Conference favorite. November 19th will be the first night LeBron faces the Spurs, the last team he played as a member of the Miami Heat. Speaking of Miami, a game everybody will be tuning in to happens to fall on Christmas Day as the Cavaliers make their way to South Beach to face LeBron’s other former team.
I like to think it’s not my minor Cleveland bias speaking for me when I say I have the Cavaliers winning it all over Kevin Durant and the Thunder this season. It may start off similar to LeBron’s start in Miami, where the team stumbled to a mediocre 9-8 start before making their way to the championship game. It seems as if there’s a lot in store for all three major Cleveland sports with the budding Browns and Indians just waiting to burst onto the national scene with their Cavalier brethren. How do you think the Cavaliers will finish in the first year of their Big-3 era? Vote in the poll and leave any comments in the comment section below. Try to convince me that it truly is my Cleveland bias that has this team winning it all, and thank you for reading the first edition of the Cleveland Corner!