The Cleveland Cavaliers were the odds-on title favorites before the season started.
That distinction is easy to bestow on a team with a new “Big Three” starring LeBron James.
However, they find that games are not won on paper.
Consider the credentials of the Big Three: LeBron James is acknowledged as the game’s best active player.
He has won 4 of the last 6 MVP awards.
Kyrie Irving is a former Rookie of the Year and All Star Game MVP.
Kevin Love is a double-double machine and is known as a top 5 player.
Are they contenders or mere pretenders to the throne? A panel of ESPN’s experts sat down to discuss that question.
With their current struggles can the Cavaliers figure things out and bounce back? “J.A.
Even though they could win the Eastern Conference, this team won’t be ready to take down the West’s best.
Their defense is porous, they’re still establishing an offensive pecking order and too many key figures — including the coach — will be making their maiden NBA playoff voyage.” They have enough star power to outlast anyone in the inconsistent East, but the Western Conference top four teams (any of Spurs/Thunder/Clippers/Warriors) can beat them in a full series.
“Kevin Arnovitz: Contender.
We’ve been down this road before — Season 1 of a talent-laden LeBron James team with championship expectations staggering out of the starting blocks.
I usually dismiss the old trope that, ‘It takes time to jell,’ but in the Cavs’ case, they probably do need time.
That’s not to say there aren’t legitimate issues defensively, but there’s enough on that side of the ball to pair with a powerhouse offense.” The Cavs team in May (or even June if they make it) will not be the same floundering team this is now. There’s no way but up when they resolve their issues.
Which assessment will hold true? Can the Cavs make the Finals despite their chemistry issues and having a rookie coach?