Losing LeBron James is going to make your team significantly worse of course, but Cleveland may not be as bad as people expect. If the guards they traded for last season can produce at a consistent level, and if Kevin Love can revert back to his old self, this team will be competitive on most nights. They are likely going to be bad defensively again, but the offense will not be at a bottom tier level. They added David Nwaba who gives them an option to go with at small forward, and they can rid the hot hand with a lot of their guards.
Kevin Love was a secondary scorer with LeBron James in town, and now is back to a similar scenario to Minnesota, where he was the top guy in the offense. Love averaged a double-double in five of six seasons for Minnesota. He also averaged about 17 field goal attempts, while his highest in Cleveland was 14. The upside for Love is much higher than any season with Cleveland. Love has a chance to lead this team in scoring, and it would be a surprise if he didn’t come year’s end. Look for Love to lead this team in usage, and have more of a variety on the offensive side.
Larry Nance has flashed the ability to be a full-time player, but consistency has been an issue at times. The starting lineup of other teams will dictate Larry Nance starting or note, given he is an undersized five. Nance will still see strong minutes most night’s, but expect Tristan Thompson to draw starts against bigger centers. Nance is a solid defensive player, and averaged 1.3 steals per game in each of the last two years. Nance will need to see a minutes increase for his overall stats to improve, but Cleveland is an opportunity for that to happen this season.
It has been a while since Cleveland traded away Kyrie Irving, but they have been in need of consistent backcourt scoring and playmaking. They drafted Collin Sexton in this past draft, and he is an explosive guard out of Alabama. George Hill is the veteran point guard that he will share time with, but Cleveland is not going to be about giving him an overload of minutes. This should be Sexton’s backcourt, and his ability to play off the ball gives the Cavs the ability to shake things up at times. He has potential to be a breakout rookie this season, and can assert himself as a rookie of the year underdog.
Cleveland traded for most of their backcourt over the last few seasons, and then recently drafted Collin Sexton. There is now an overload of guards with George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and J.R. Smith all in the mix. You also have Kyle Korver who can play some time there as well. It would be wise for Cleveland to give Sexton minutes and experience, but also to explore Jordan Clarkson a bit more given his age. We have only seen flashes of Clarkson in L.A. as a role player, which he will be again in Cleveland this season.