Sluggish regular season. Poor defense. Mixed and unmatched rotations with all new faces. Veteran legs. 2nd seed. Is the hunger gone?
Don’t worry Cavalier fans. There is still a lot to like about this season. It should end with a 3rd straight trip to The Finals so what’s not to like? Here’s why we need to believe in the Cleve again this year:
- Lebron James. This proud papa of two is managing to put up the best stats of his already amazing career, after going to the finals for what, something like 7 straight seasons? He just makes the rest of us look bad. Do not fear, Cleveland, when you have The King looking for Another Ring.
- Full health means soon-to-be stable rotations. This team really hasn’t been complete all year, just like the previous two years. Each of the previous Finals runs included new personnel at the midway point, late struggles with defense, coaching questions, and unhappy Lebron memes. This year it’s been JR, Kev, and Kyle down for extended periods, with new blood in the form of Korver, Deron Williams, and Derrick Williams. Nothing has finalized and they have 2.5 weeks to come together before the playoffs. They also use the first round as a nice tune-up, so don’t fret the rust and confusion.
- Playoff Defense. This is a team of veterans, hand-picked for their shots, their professionalism, and their hunger for titles. Nothing less than the trophy is expected when you have the highest payroll and the biggest force on the court. Professionalism = playoff defense, and the Cavs will be drastically ratcheting up the defense. They’ve been coasting on that end because the regular season games barely matter. They’ve held 1st place all year and still might coast into the 1st seed.
- Uncle Drew. Lebron is a force and a very efficient player, but Kyrie is magic. The 1-2 combo of power and speed. No one can stop Kyrie’s offense. No one can slow him down but himself. An occasional off-night does not cover up the fact that he is the single most un-guardable player in the game. He also likes to one-up Steph Curry, which is a serious chip come June.
- Lebron James. Did we mention 26 pts, 8.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists a night on a team this stocked with talent? He’s right up there with Harden and Westbrook for MVP this year. Lebron wants to be over .500 in The Finals, so the hunger will be located and utilized.
Buckle up Cleveland fans! It’s always the toughest to repeat, something we know very little about but are about to find out.
Used to being underdogs, it seems the world champs are finding themselves up against the odds yet again. Here’s to playoff basketball!