Losing LeBron James is just about the biggest loss that a team can have. It happened to the Cavs before and it happened to the Miami Heat. In both of those situations the team did not make the playoffs the following season, and that is also what the betting line seems to be implying here as the Cavs 2019 Win total is just 31.5 wins.
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A lot of people think that the smart move would be to blow it up and start all over, but that is not what the Cavaliers are doing. Unlike a team like the Nets who probably want to trade their veterans for assets, the Cavs are going to wring them for everything they are worth.
Luckily, they have some good ones. Frye, Korver and Smith should provide some three-point shooting to spread the floor around Love while Thompson will continue to do the dirty work down low. (How Smith will look this season after he blew it big time in the Finals is a big question, but I would have to think that he’ll come back close to at least last year’s stats.) Korver is a tremendously valuable asset, both on and off the floor.
|Larry Nance Jr.|
|Billy Preston (TW)|
|John Holland (TW)|
I also really like the role player triumvirate of Clarkson, Dekker, Osman and Nance Jr. This could really be an interesting bench unit and I think these guys here are the key to them going anywhere in the East this year.
At point guard, it’ll be George Hill who isn’t quite what he used to be but he’s still a pretty solid defensive and three pointers. He’ll probably only do about 25 minutes per game which should open up things for their top pick Collin Sexton.
I was a big fan of Sexton at Alabama and I think he’ll do well in the NBA. He’s just a very intense player that has drawn comparisons to Russell Westbrook. He’s only 6’3″, but has a 6’7″ wing span that should help on defense. That’ll take some time to come, but his downhill attacking on offense should play right away. Of all the veterans on this team, Hill is the one I would most likely imagine won’t finish the season with this squad as Sexton is their future.
The only other player I’d even remotely call a prospect is Billy Preston. He was a McDonalds All-American in 2017, but an on-campus car accident essentially cost him is college career and he is coming in without much of a resume. A definitely interesting player, but if he is getting a ton of minutes you can probably go under here.
I was really surprised to the see the Cavs with a win total this low as I think they will be right in the mix for the 8th seed. They come into the season with a strong top-8 rotation even if there is no standout piece after Love. The development of Sexton is big for this team, but I think the could be a top-8 team in the East even if they take it slow with him.
I’m also interested to see what Tyronn Lue does in his first season coaching without LeBron James. He really handled that team well in just about the hardest possible circumstances last year with tons of drama surrounding the team, LeBron’s impending free agency and the high expectations of getting back to the Finals. He handled it well and got the team back to the Finals. I think he’ll do that again here and get this team back in the playoffs.
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