This is the third and final edition of our Cleveland Cavaliers season preview. In the last two previews, we took a look at roster analysis and team projections. In this portion of the season preview we’ll look at individual player projections and get a starting rotation set while also outlining the key reserves.
Cavaliers Starting Five
Kyrie Irving (PG), Dion Waiters (SG), Lebron James (PF), Kevin Love (PF), and Anderson Varejao (C)
Irving is thriving as a point guard in this league. At such a young age, 22, he has many more years to grow as a player and get better. He has definitely proved himself as being one of the top point guards and with the return of James, he can only get better. With James on the court now, Irving’s points per game may drop just a tad, but I am predicting 18.0 points per game along with 7 assists.
Waiters worked hard last season to prove he deserves his spot in the starting lineup. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard should provide about 12.0 points per game this season along with 2 rebounds. This season should be bright for the young player if he stays healthy.
The King is back and ready to take leadership over his team. James will average around 28.0 points per game, while adding just about 7 assists and 7 rebounds. James has much more talent around him this time with the Cavaliers. He won’t have to do all of the work on his own, leaving opportunities for other teammates to rise.
Love will be another key asset in this starting lineup. Being a new member through trade, Love will be able to dominate with his long outlet passes and ability to shoot the three, as well as scoring inside. The only thing Love lacks is defense. If he can improve on his defensive game and stay healthy, he will be a force on this team. I predict Love averaging 20.0 points, 12 rebounds, and about two three pointers per game.
Varejao returns as the starting Center for the Cavaliers. Varejao has been loyal to this Cavaliers team since he has been in the league and he has proven himself by getting better with each season. He is an efficient scorer inside, averaging 49.5 percent from the field last season. He also has the will power to snag as many boards as he can. I predict Varejao with 10 points, 9 rebounds, and a block per game.
Tristan Thompson will be sixth man and first to come off the bench for the Cavaliers. If he plays well this season and works hard in practice, he could end up getting a spot in the starting line up to replace Waiters. This young kid has amazing talent and is a beast inside. He averaged 11.7 points per game last season and I see him going for 12 points and 10 rebounds per game this season.
Shawn Marion will bring a lot of intangibles off the bench for the Cavaliers this season. He was acquired through free agency and will give James a break now and then during the late stretches, aslo during foul trouble. Marion has playoff experience and knows what it takes to win a championship. He is an elite defender and can score inside and out. I predict him to put up 8 points per game with about 4 rebounds.
Brendan Haywood will come off the bench for Varejao at center. Haywood is known for his inside game and will bring protection around the rim. He will help in size when going against some of the league’s best post players such as Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert. Look for Haywood to score about 7.0 points per game along with 6 rebounds.
Mike Miller will make his presence known a lot this season off the bench. The former Miami Heat player brings many years of experience in the league. He is a sharp shooter from three point land, so look to see he average about 8.0 points per game, as well as shooting around 43.0 percent from deep.
This Cavaliers team has the best roster on paper. With Irving, James, and Love forming one of the new big 3’s the league has to offer, they will be a feared match-up for any opponent. The season looks bright for this team and this could be the year the Cavaliers take home a championship. This will be one of the most anticipated seasons for fans as they watch their newly formed Cavaliers as they rise up as one on the court.