Now that LeBron is no longer on the team, we can all finally admit he was a defensive liability last year. Whether you want to blame his age, or that he rested on defense to expend more energy on offense, that’s up to you. It doesn’t change the fact it was one of his worst seasons defensively.
The Cavs struggles on defensive cannot be pinned entirely on LeBron; the entire team provided their own contributions to their horrifically bad defense. However, the team did adjust their defense to hide LeBron and keep him from guarding their opponent’s best player. These adjustments definitely hindered the abilities of other players on the court.
The Cavs finished 29th in defensive efficiency last season, ahead of only the Phoenix Suns! It’s honestly remarkable they returned to the NBA Finals with how they performed defensively over the course of the season. If they finish that low again this year, they’ll be picking in the lottery.
This Cavs’ roster will not be able to ignore defense and simply outscore their opponents like before. They no longer have the same offensive weapons. It’ll be up to Ty Lue to change their defensive strategy. We will see if he’s up to the task.
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