Sitting in Quicken Loans Arena last summer with my old man watching the Golden State Warriors celebrate an NBA title on our turf was a nightmare.
Up 2-1 heading into game four at The Q, I allowed myself to overlook the fact we were without two of the members of our big three. Subsequently denying the impact of missing both Kyrie and K-Love.
Sitting, watching, borderline crying… I realized it wasn’t our series to win. Watching LeBron do it all on the floor made me reminisce to the 2007 NBA Finals against the Spurs. A young LeBron was ready for the big stage; he simply did not have enough talent surrounding him (sorry Larry Hughes, Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic).
The burden cannot lie solely on The King’s shoulders. As great as Jordan was, lets not forget he had Pippen, Rodman and an impressive supporting cast. Therein lies the importance of health for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs begin the road to the Larry O’Brien Trophy tonight at the United Center against the Chicago Bulls. The intriguing opening night matchup comes after last year’s competitive Eastern Conference Semifinals.
And wouldn’t you know? We are nowhere near healthy. This post is coming from my inner fan, panicking.
Let me refresh everyone on the Cavs injuries at the moment. Kyrie remains out with his knee injury until the December-January range. Iman Shumpert injured his wrist the first day of training camp and will be out until January. Anderson Varejao is returning from a season ending Achilles injury. Timofey Mozgov is still recovering from offseason knee surgery.
Oh, and LeBron received his second back injection in less than eight months. A doctor interviewed by Cleveland.com said three received in less than 10 months might indicate the need for back surgery.
LeBron has never had a serious injury in 12 NBA seasons, or missed any extended length of time. While the injuries before the season even starts are cause for concern, as the Cavs experienced last postseason, health in May and June is more important.
Head Coach David Blatt needs to do whatever necessary to keep his players fresh for the playoff push.
Kevin Love, thankfully, has looked promising in his preseason action and may be deferred to by LeBron more than last year. A more confident K-Love may be just what the doctor ordered for the Wine and Gold.
The injuries are undoubtedly concerning, but better they take place now than in the summer months. A little rest and relaxation for LeBron and company may prove to be the most beneficial approach to the regular season schedule.
Tristan Thompson just signed back with the Cavs for 5-years/$82 million, ending a holdout. I still don’t believe Thompson is worth anywhere near this contract, but Dan Gilbert is paying the bills so I’m okay with it. He brings tenacious offensive rebounding and an abundance of energy off the bench behind Love and Mozgov.
General Manager David Griffin did a tremendous job keeping the core of last year’s team together. Love, Thompson, Shumpert, Dellavedova, JR Smith and James Jones will all be back in uniform. The additions of Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson should also help ease the burden on LeBron and provide depth if the injury bug does bite.
The Cavaliers have proven to be their own worst enemy. Ever since last year’s midseason moves, when healthy, the Cavaliers have been unstoppable.
After the midseason trades and the return of LeBron last regular season, the Cavs had the highest winning percentage in the league at .791. According to USA Today, they averaged 110.4 points per 100 possessions, also tops in The Association.
This is the Wine and Gold’s season, baring injuries. The weak Eastern Conference doesn’t provide much of a threat to the Cavs’ throne. The true challenge will take place against the West in The Finals.
With cautious optimism, I think the matchup will be Cavs-Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge brings a whole new dimension to San Antonio and they are now the team to beat out West.
A lot can happen between now and then, but on paper this would be a hell of a matchup. Cavs in seven, and Cleveland is title town for the first time since 1964.
I pray to Lil B The Based God I am correct.
Sports Chat Co-Founder