Cleveland Cavaliers 2010-11 NBA Season Preview

10.23.10 8 years ago 9 Comments

As the NBA regular season approaches, we preview the upcoming campaign with the “Highs and Lows” system — predicting the respective ceiling and basement for each team.

Added: Ramon Sessions, Joey Graham, Ryan Hollins, Christian Eyenga, Manny Harris, Samardo Samuels

Lost: LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair, Danny Green

Ceiling: Playoffs?
Everybody has something to prove in Cleveland. New head coach Byron Scott has to prove he can win in the NBA without the luxury of arguably the best point guard in the world (Jason Kidd, Chris Paul) on his roster. Scott’s new PG, Mo Williams, has to prove he has legit All-Star talent and wasn’t just feeding off LeBron’s teat. Antawn Jamison has to prove he’s more than a paper lion who puts up big numbers in meaningless games. Jamario Moon, Joey Graham, and whoever else is getting minutes at small forward have to prove they won’t be the worst replacements since Flash took over for Eddie King in The Five Heartbeats. And the franchise and city in general have to prove their society won’t crumble without the King. And we may have gotten a peek at what that that collective motivation can do, as the Cavs finished the preseason with a 6-1 record … There is some talent here, led by Mo Williams (15.8 ppg, 5.3 apg) and Jamison (18.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg). Both are natural scorer/shooters at their respective positions with recent All-Star credentials. Mo will run point, while former Sixth Man of the Year winner Jamison is expected to anchor the second unit … J.J. Hickson is the franchise’s future building block. Shaq and Big Z’s departure will create an opening for the 22-year-old to have a breakout season, and in the exhibition schedule he averaged 14 points and 8 boards a night. His ability to run the floor and finish above the rim in Scott’s preferred up-tempo system could make J.J. something of a poor man’s Amar’e Stoudemire … Defense wins games in the NBA, and three of Cleveland’s projected starters — Anthony Parker, Moon and Anderson Varejao — are solid defenders at key positions on the wings and in the paint … Three intangible factors working in Cleveland’s favor: The expectations are low, the “Everybody is writing us off” motivation is high, and the Central Division isn’t that good. The Cavs could surprise the world and become a feel-good story by sneaking into the playoffs.

Basement: “I just hope we can win a game!”
How do you replace the man who led your team in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in the 2010 playoffs, and pretty much carried your franchise for the last seven years? I’m not sure, but failing to acquire even a decent starter in the offseason wasn’t a good sign for these Cavs … Also not a good sign: The last time Mo Williams was even in the discussion as the go-to guy on his team (2008 Bucks), his team won 26 games. The last time Jamison was in go-to guy contention (2009 Wizards), his team won 19 games … Shaq and Big Z are old and slow, but they’re also big and know how to play defense. Who will hold down the paint now in a conference where the likes of Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire and Brook Lopez are wreaking havoc? Left on his own like this, Varejao might foul out in 15 minutes every night … Scott wants to run, but when things slow down inevitably late in close games, who is Cleveland’s “Make it happen” scorer? Mo Williams and preseason star Boobie Gibson can shoot, but beyond that it’s looking like Jamison. At the same time, there may not be too many opportunities for the Cavs to even need a crunch-time scorer.

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10/22 — Dallas Mavericks
10/21 — Philadelphia 76ers
10/20 — Minnesota Timberwolves
10/20 — Orlando Magic
10/19 — Oklahoma City Thunder
10/19 — Detroit Pistons
10/15 — Golden State Warriors
10/12 — Chicago Bulls
10/12 — San Antonio Spurs
10/5 — Toronto Raptors
10/1 — Sacramento Kings
9/28 — Atlanta Hawks
9/27 — Portland Trail Blazers

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