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Can LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving win a championship this year in Cleveland?
The summer of 2014 will be remembered forever in the NBA. King James has returned to his home in Ohio and has brought a fury of talent along with him. However, talent doesn’t necessarily guarantee a championship. Kyrie Irving will have to adjust to being the second or third scoring option after being the go-to-guy in his first two seasons. Irving needs to become a better spot-up shooter, as he only averaged 3.1 points per game last season on catch-and-shoot opportunities. Irving has battled multiple injuries and will need to stay healthy this season. Kevin Love will be able to put his talent on display as an excellent passer and could be a great pick-and-pop player alongside Irving and James. More importantly, championship teams must play at both ends of the floor. Love and Irving are not known for their defense but will need to become better defenders if they plan on winning a championship this season. Much has been made of Irving and Love having never played in a playoff game, but with players such as James, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, James Jones, and possibly Ray Allen, I don’t see it being as big as an issue as some may think. Cleveland’s new big three will have to learn to mesh together, and the surrounding pieces will need to learn their roles on the team. The Cavaliers may be the favorite on paper, but they must adopt James’ championship demeanor if they want to be crowned champions in 2014.
Will Derrick Rose stay healthy?
Derrick Rose was solid in the FIBA World Cup, but after two season-ending injuries in back-to-back years, Rose’s health is a major question. The Chicago Bulls went and got a scoring big man in Pau Gasol and added some stretch forwards to help spread the floor for Rose. With a great foundation built by Gar Forman and Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls have the roster to make a championship run in the East. With that being said, Chicago will finish middle of the pack for another season if Rose goes down yet again. Rose must stay healthy and get back to MVP form if he wants to bring a championship back to Chicago.
How does Indiana replace Paul George?
Realistically, Indiana probably can’t replace Paul George’s productivity. Losing Lance Stephenson to Charlotte and PG13 to a gruesome injury leaves Indiana with just about zero go-to scoring options. George and Stephenson led the Pacers in almost every offensive category last season and there isn’t much on the roster to make you believe they can pick up even half of their productivity. For a team that has been to the Eastern Conference Final back-to-back seasons, they will be lucky to reach the playoffs in an already dreadful Eastern Conference.
Can the Miami Heat still be a championship contender despite losing LeBron James?
Chris Bosh returning to Miami was crucial for the Heat to continue contending for championships. However, Bosh will play a much bigger role on both ends of the floor this season in Miami with the loss of James. Josh McRoberts, Luol Deng and Danny Granger were also brought in to give Miami some veteran depth to lessen the blow of losing James. With that being said, the Heat’s season will come down to the play of Dwyane Wade. Wade has battled injuries his whole career and missed 28 games last season. In 2011-12 he only played in 49 games. If Wade can’t stay healthy, Miami will be without a true scorer and a player who can create his own shot. If Wade can stay healthy, Miami still has a very good chance of winning the east.