The 2018 NBA Playoff Predictions series continues with a look at the upgraded Cleveland Cavaliers roster. After a rough half season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, things started to look up for the Franchise when GM Koby Altman traded six of the players on the Roster before the February trade deadline for four, not necessarily better but younger players in George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, and Rodney Hood. One of the persistent problems with the old roster was the lack of chemistry amongst players and the lack of defense which put the team at the bottom of the defensive rankings in spite of being the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
That however changed with the new roster, as the young players were way more athletic and more active at defensive end. With the new team beating the Eastern Conference No. 2 seed ‘Boston Celtics’ by a whooping 22 PTS, analysts on every panel avouched this team to be Finals bound. But it wasn’t long before this team started struggling again. In spite of a splendid start by the new roster, the team eventually started losing close matches against below average team, taking their Win-Loss ratio to 4-4. To be fair to the Cavaliers, they are missing their star player Kevin Love, who was out earlier this year for 6-8 weeks, with a hand injury. And even though the teams performance will improve indefinitely with Love’s return, his return still won’t make the Cavs the strongest team in the Eastern Conference. Before Love went out with a hand injury, the Cavs were still the 3rd seed and struggling to set a steady foot in the competition.
With the 2018 NBA playoffs right around the corner, it’s clear that the Cavs would be entering the playoffs as the 3rd seed which means that they won’t have the advantage of going against the least talented team in the playoffs. To add to their distress, out of the four new players that the team landed recently, only one of them seems to have some playoffs experience. And unlike the regular season, the team won’t have a chance to experiment or wait for the roster to settle themselves in. But knowing LeBron James, he won’t the team settle for anything less than the Finals ticket.
It’s clear that this roster is not made to beat the Warriors but is this team NBA Finals bound ? If yes, how smooth will their ride be along the playoffs and up to the finals would be interesting to watch.