NBA Power Rankings #23: Cleveland Cavaliers
photo via flikr
I hate to remind all you Cleveland fans, but the big story line for the Cavaliers this season is that they are once again without Akron's crowned jewel. LeBron James off the roster drastically changes the expectations for the Cavs going into this season. Last year they finished with a 50-32 record and it's extremely likely that they see the wins and loss columns flip without The King.
Cleveland is a team that is loaded with big contracts (Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, Jordan Clarkson, and George Hill) and won't have much flexibility in roster change. However, for the short term success of the team that may be a good thing. During the last four seasons in Cleveland, it's sort of been a revolving door of players. LeBron is very particular who he plays with and if he wanted a change he got it. Having some chemistry with this group of guys returning will help keep them for the absolutely dismal look of the franchise the last time LeBron left.
With LeBron out, this is now Kevin Love's team. He just signed the max extension with them and is locked up long term in Cleveland. Are we going to see the Kevin Love of his Minnesota days now that he's the lone star again? Probably not, but Love is still a legitimate All-Star in the East and should be able to put up 20 and 10 on any given night. Unfortunately for the Cavs, it's going to take a lot more than that to keep them on top of the East.
Collin Sexton is a nice addition to the team and, if he pans out the way the Cleveland front office expects, he'll be really the only piece of the Kyrie Irving trade that worked out. Sexton has some work to do on his game, but he's got that killer instinct on the court along with the heart, passion, and love of the game to grow into something special.
This is going to be the first down year in Cleveland in four years, but they are in a much better position now then when LeBron left for Miami in 2010. An All-Star in Kevin Love, a young stud in Collin Sexton, and not to mention this time around they have presumably a better General Manager in Koby Altman that can keep the Cavs from seeing something similar to the horrendous 2010-2014 years. Cleveland is set for the lottery, but Cavs fans should just be thankful this rebuild won't be as brutal as the last.