The Cleveland Cavaliers have been off to a rocky start this year. They have encountered several ups and downs in the previous half of this season, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the Cavs aren’t championship contenders. In my eyes, they still have a chance to take the east and advance to the finals. It won’t be an easy task for them though, as the Cavs have several teams with a shot at making the finals standing in their way.
The Cavaliers have been through quite a bit this season and they looked sloppy when All-Star LeBron James missed several games due to an injury. Also, the Cavs lost their center Anderson Varejão for the remainder of the season due to a torn Achilles. But this didn’t stop the Cavs though, as the organization went out and traded for J. R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timofey Mozgov. With Mozgov taking Varejão’s starting position at center, Cavs fans must have been a bit worried.
Mozgov was an amazing addition to the Cavs. He’s currently averaging 10.7 points per game and 8.6 rebounds a game. Also, he brings a good defensive presence to the team, although that doesn’t really solve the Cavs big man problem. With the Utah Jazz expected to buy out their newly acquired Kendrick Perkins, the Cavs have shown interest in him as he looks to sign with the team. Although he is only averaging 4.0 points per game and 5.5 rebounds a game, the Cavs could really benefit from having a backup big man.
So now the real problem arises. Will Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love be able to take control in the playoffs although they lack playoff experience? I believe, they can–Irving and Love have proved that they are star players. Irving has been in the league since 2011 and is currently a 3-time NBA All-Star. He dropped 55 points, a career high for him, on the Portland Trail blazers earlier in the season and has proven that he’s an explosive player. Kevin Love was also a 3-time NBA All-Star as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and is a player who can score and grab rebounds. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both have something they didn’t have last season, which is a team with LeBron James as the captain. LeBron has proved himself in the playoffs several times before, and there is no doubt that he can take control during the playoffs. Also, with players like Shawn Marion and Mike Miller, who have plenty of playoff experience, the Cavs should be able to come alive when playoff time arrives.
It’s not going to be an easy road to the finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers and there are several teams that could easily stand in the way of Cleveland’s path. In the beginning of the season, most people assumed the Cavs and the Bulls would meet up in the Eastern Conference Finals, which I still believe is possible. Although the Bulls have not been playing consistently, they still have a huge chance to take the east. With addition of Pau Gasol, the playoffs become that much easier for the Bulls. Pau has a ton of playoffs experience and is an established big man. Also, Derrick Rose has been looking like the All-Star caliber player we once knew him to be, but he has to stay healthy.
I don’t believe that the Bulls are the number one problem for the Cavs though– the Atlanta Hawks could give Cleveland a very difficult time. This Atlanta Hawks team is amazing. They didn’t lose a single game in the month of February, currently have the number one seed in the east, and have 4 NBA All-Stars in the starting lineup. I don’t believe this team is just hot right now, they can go to the Eastern Conference and possibly even go to the Finals. In the end, the Cavs need to watch out for the Bulls but they really need to watch out for the Hawks.
So, do I think the Cleveland Cavaliers could take it all? Yes because they have all the necessary components. LeBron James is the guy to have on your team if you want to go to the Finals. He’s established himself as one of the best and he isn’t done yet. If LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving can perfect their teammate chemistry, watch out for this team. The Cavs have several players they can run their offense through, not to mention the presence of a couple veterans. Overall, the playoffs future looks pretty bright for the Cleveland Cavaliers.