Recently, the NBA released the entirety of the 2019-20 schedule! The Cavaliers will attempt to bounce back from a dismal showing last year and the goal would likely have to be making the playoffs.
So, with that, let’s put our thinking caps on and see what to expect from next season:
For starters, we have a bit of a rollercoaster first week-and-a-half. A road opener against the Magic can be won, as could the following night’s home opener against Indiana. We then see a vicious third game in Milwaukee against the Bucks, return home for a very winnable game against Chicago, witness an early-season rematch against the Pacers in Indiana, then head home to take on the Mavericks.
There is potential to start the season off on the right foot. The Bucks game will probably be pretty tough, but the other five games are all quite winnable. Anywhere from starting 3-3 (losses to Orlando, @ Indiana and Milwaukee) to 5-1 (loss to the Bucks) seems reasonable to expect. This opening stretch will be key to whether or not the Cavs stand an actual chance at making the playoffs.
Things don’t get much easier later in November: seven games against playoff teams from last year, though six of them are home games. Important contests against the 76ers twice, the Nets and a twin-bill against the Heat will further solidify this team’s playoff chances – or lack thereof.
Predicted record after November (first full month of the season): 11-8
Difficult losses against the Bucks and numerous other playoff teams seen in the first part of the schedule will be quite a challenge for the young Cavaliers roster. However, cushiony games against the Knicks and Bulls help, as well as having a lot of home games early on. 11-8 should be the goal for the team to seriously threaten a playoff push and it is a reasonable goal indeed.
December is typically when cold weather starts really setting in. A true embodiment that is for the team’s schedule, because it starts to really get harsh early in the month. The ‘calm before the storm’ features two home games against Detroit and Orlando, before the team heads to Philadelphia and Boston, comes back home to face a re-invigorated Houston Rockets squad, entering a troubling trifecta of road games in San Antonio, Milwaukee and Toronto, getting some cushiony games at home versus the Grizzlies and Hawks, then ending with another three-game road trip in Boston, Minnesota and Toronto before turning over the new year.
Predicted record after December: 16-17
Sad to say, December is filled with road games and brutal home games. The Cavs just don’t have the firepower to go toe-to-toe with Houston, Milwaukee or Philadelphia and young teams tend to struggle on the road, in general. This predicted record factors in a grueling six-game losing streak. That said, the Eastern Conference, in general, looks weak enough where 16-17 isn’t a terrible record to have, the schedule being considered. The playoffs are still a reasonable goal at this point.
Thankfully, 2020 begins a lot friendlier than the month preceding it; a four-game homestand, filled with winnable games against the Hornets, Thunder, Timberwolves and Pistons. A rematch with Detroit on the road two days later gives way to a challenging six-game road trip, followed up by Denver, LeBron’s Lakers, staying in LA to take on the Clippers, Memphis, and Chicago. Not too bad, with a few winnable games. Three very lofty games follow that up, home tilts against the Knicks, Wizards and Bulls all factor to be winnable games. We end with the team visiting Detroit again, and returning home to take on New Orleans and Toronto to finish the month.
Predicted record after January: 27-22
The schedule gets a lot easier in January, reflected by the predicted 11-5 surge. Comfortable home games and lesser overall opposition make this record very reasonable and keep the team well in line to get to the playoffs.
In February, the season begins to take another roller coaster ride. We see the team tackle Golden State at home, face the Knicks, then head to Oklahoma City in the first week. Before the All-Star breaks comes, the team stays home for meetings with the Clippers and Hawks. A couple of road meetings await with the Wizards and Heat, before home duels with the Heat again, the 76ers and Pacers sandwich a road game in New Orleans.
Predicted record after February: 31-29
February is overall rather uneventful, though there is potential for a statement win against Golden State (which this prediction assumes a loss against).
There is a lengthy homestand beginning March, which precedes a lengthier six-game road trip. Closing out the month, the Cavs welcome LeBron back to Cleveland, face another familiar foe in Kyrie Irving’s Nets in Brooklyn, then face the Suns at home to finish the month.
Predicted record after March: 38-36
Still having a winning record at this point will just about ensure a playoff berth of some kind in the woeful Eastern Conference. None of these predictions have been “optimistic” either – any team without a surplus of star power is one the Cavaliers can take on, especially at home. Plenty of such teams are on the schedule this month and a 7-7 overall record also reflects the woes of a young team enduring a six-game road trip.
April is the turning point of the season; it fittingly opens up with a five-game road stand and a meeting against the Bucks! A couple of potentially crucial games with Brooklyn and Atlanta cap off the season.
Predicted Regular Season record: 41-41
A .500 record will be good enough to reach the postseason. The team will likely not make a ton of noise when they get there, but by my own prediction, they will get there.