NBA Preview 2012 – 2013 Cleveland Cavaliers
Posted by Jeff Lingard
I am a Cleveland Cavs fan so I could write about this team for 3,000 words but I’m going to keep this short. The Cavaliers had a strong (for them) start of 10-14 out of the gate last year thanks to Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao. Varejao hurt his wrist and missed the rest of the year and the Cavs regressed to the mean and ended up with the 4th worst record in the league. Now that Jamison’s contract is off the books the Cavs are in good cap shape and have a young core of Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller. Irving is looking like if he can stay healthy could be a franchise player in the league as he was clearly the rookie of the year and impressed everybody at the Team USA select camp before the Olympics. Waiters is a wild card in that no one thought he would be selected 4th overall in the draft but his driving ability has been compared to Dwyane Wade. I think that is a stretch but he has a high floor according to experts like John Hollinger at ESPN and should be at least an above average starter in the backcourt. Thompson was the reach at #4 last year and needs to work on his offensive game to become an impact player. I’m excited to see what Zeller brings and a rotation of Zeller, Varejao and Thompson should complement each other well.
The Cavs also brought in C.J. Miles and retained Alonzo Gee which should help them on the wing which is where they need the most help. The Cavs did not make any impact moves this summer instead preferring to see how the kids develop and to preserve cap space for the next couple of years. Irving is going to break out this year and could be an all-star which is crazy when Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams are also point guards in the East. I think Chris Grant is going to look into trading Varejao during the season as they can maximize their return for him since he might be too old to be a productive player by the time the young core is ready to contend, especially with how he plays the game. I think the ceiling for the Cavs would be a .500 record but I think they will be closer to a 33-37 win team and finish between 9th and 11th in the East.
2011-12 Record: 21-45, 13th in the East
Key Additions: Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, C.J. Miles, Jon Leuer, Jeremy Pargo
Key Losses: Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, Manny Harris, Semith Erden
Payroll: $54.2 Million – 27th in the NBA