The first time LeBron James left Cleveland way back in 2010, some of us thought the team would be able to hang around and make the playoffs without him the following year(s). These were the results of the four years LeBron was in Miami:
2011-12: 21-45 (strike season)
This time around, with LeBron out to LA, the Cavs are left to fend for themselves yet again. However, I believe the roster that remains is much improved and that this team will certainly have better records than what is shown above.
I expect monster numbers from power forward, Kevin Love. I felt like his game was always stifled because of James and Kyrie Irving and now it is truly his show to run here in Cleveland as “the guy” similar to how he was in Minnesota. Another big man that should show improvement is Tristan Thompson, who is working on his jumper.
The Cavs drafted PG Collin Sexton with the 8th pick and I am certain that there are going to be growing pains with the youngster out of Alabama, but it’ll be nice to have a talented rookie on the team, starting off the bench at first behind George Hill. Back in 2010, the team had to wait a year before getting a top pick, which ultimately was Kyrie Irving #1 overall in 2011.
Fun players to watch will be JR Smith, Cedi Osman and Larry Nance Jr., as well.
It is going to be weird playing a game in Canada against Toronto without the steadfast leadership of 23 guiding us to victory like we’ve seen so many times before. Other players are going to have to step up, do new things and develop into roles that they haven’t been familiar with because, well, LeBron James was running the show.
I am expecting this team to win around 35 games, but I would be thrilled if they could reach .500 at 41-41, maybe even a lower playoff spot.
There will be more pressure on Head Coach Tyronn Lue, who will have to do more now that LeBron is gone. The veterans who went through the playoff runs and even won a championship will have to guide the rest of the players through this transition period of basketball.
As a fan, take this in a positive way. Instead of it being “championship or bust” like it was the last four year, each game is actually going to have some meaning and is worth your time to watch. I am actually looking forward to seeing how the Cavs play without LeBron and am honestly prepared to begin this new era of basketball here in Cleveland.
Obviously, the team will not be as good as it once was with James at the helm. Even so, it could make the team much more interesting to watch, albeit frustration-filled, too. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Here is the October schedule. All games will be updated on @CLEsportsTalk Twitter!
Good luck to this year’s Cavs team!