Next up, a Cavaliers team with playoff aspirations.
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Cleveland is home to the most loyal, but tortured fan base in professional sports. Whenever things actually are going well, they’re painfully reminded that the Sports Gods enjoy their suffering.
Whether it’s the overachieving Indians crumbling in the MLB Playoffs, or the suddenly relevant Browns losing their underdog QB for the season after starting 2-andâ€“0, the good times do not roll in Cleveland. Oh, and then there was that time that hometown hero and possible G.O.A.T-in-the-making LeBron James broke the collective hearts of all Ohio by leaving for the greener (and much warmer) grass of Miami.
But after three dreadful seasons, there is real hope this year! With Kyrie Irving entering his third season, and looking like a potential top five PG this year, he’s been surrounded with the best mix of young talent and role players in his short career. Cleveland might finally be over You Know Who.
But will the lofty playoff expectations be attainable in the suddenly deep Eastern Conference? Only time will tell. With the addition of Earl Clark, Jarrett Jack (6th Man of the Year Candidate), a healthy Anderson Varejao and Andrew Bynum (maybe), improvement from the young core (Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters both look more comfortable, and Tyler Zeller is beefed up after a steady diet of Krispy Kreme) and the 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, the pieces are finally in place to make a run! Whether or not they reach their goal of a playoff berth, Cleveland will no doubt entertain. Let’s take a look at the top five things to watch out for on League Pass.
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Kyrie Irving goes Uncle Drew on Defenders
Irving is quickly making a name for himself as one of the premier scorers in the NBA. A lights out shooter who can take it to the rim and finish, Kyrie can be nearly unstoppable on offense. He understands his leadership role in Cleveland, too, going so far as to tell local kids â€” before he even put on a Cavs jersey â€” he won’t leave like LeBron (he already has Ohioan’s hearts) and continues to develop his game. That means doing it on both sides of the ball this year. After spending the summer taking care of his body, we can expect a whole lot of top ten plays from Irving this year.
Anderson Varejao Brings the Energy (and the Flops)
Andy Varejao has come a long way since he entered the NBA. Once strictly a catch-and-dunk center, he has developed a decent midrange game and superb passing skills to go along with his NBA-best hair. He developed some chemistry with Kyrie Irving before a quad injury â€” and scary pulmonary embolism in his right lung â€” prematurely ended his season last year. He’s also the Cavaliers energizer bunny, making hustle plays and playing with a seemingly endless reserve of emotion and vigor. Ok…he’s also known to be one of the best actors in the NBA, and he draws his share of charges (and his fair share of flops too), but a healthy Varejao is a must if the Cavaliers want to take the next step this season.