Another season of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball kicks off Tuesday night when the Boston Celtics come to town for the season opener.
Once again expectations are high for the Cavaliers and it’s “championship or bust” with a deep roster of the championship core but also some new additions after a crazy, eventful offseason.
LeBron James is entering his 15th season and is without question still the best basketball player in the world.
While everyone is focused on next summer and his impending free agency, he’s maintained focus on winning another championship.
James has been hampered with an ankle injury throughout camp and preseason and is listed as questionable for the opener but it’s fully expected he’ll play as he won’t miss the showdown between himself and his former teammate Kyrie Irving.
Kevin Love has been the third wheel since coming to the team three seasons ago. He’s been the fall guy when things were struggling here and always floated in trade rumors.
Through it all, he’s still here and continues to contribute at an All-Star level. Now the second star on the team, I expect his contribution to increase now and it showed in the preseason.
Love should silence some critics and show he’s still a top 15 player in the league.
The Cavaliers were very active in the offseason adding new players.
Veterans Derrick Rose, Jeff Green, Jose Calderon were the free agent signings bring some much needed depth to the bench however Rose will start at point guard for the beginning of the season.
Rookies Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic come from Europe and will have to transition to the American style of basketball but with a great group of veterans and coaches, the transition should go smooth.
There’s the Boston trade that brought Cleveland Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder.
Crowder will bring a defensive intensity this team needed last season and his offensive game continues to grow as he can stretch the floor and shoots 3 pointers at a good percentage.
Thomas is recovering from a hip injury and should be back as early as December. Once he’s back, his game should mesh well with Lebron and company because it’s kind of resembles Kyrie’s.
And of course, can’t forget about Dwyane Wade.
The future Hall of Famer signed in late September to reunite with his best friend Lebron James.
For those that said he was at the end of the road, think again. I know we aren’t getting Miami Heat prime D-Wade but he should contribute both offensively and defensively at a high level and it looked like he’s got plenty in the tank based on preseason performance.
All those guys join James, Love, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and Kyle Korver who most of this core has been to three straight finals and won a championship.
With so much talent, I think at the beginning of the season you’ll see some tough stretches because the chemistry has to gel especially once Thomas returns.
In the end though, I think the Cavaliers win around 50-55 games and will be the top team in the Eastern Conference to once again meet up with the Golden State Warriors for another epic NBA Finals.
Get ready for another parade Cleveland.