Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview: Don’t Forget to Tip Your Waiters

Team Capsule

Ugly is just one word to describe the 2011-2012 Cavs. Even though they played many more competitive games than the year before, they still looked awful a majority of the time. First overall pick Kyrie Iriving led the Cavs to a 21-45 record and the fourth pick in the draft, where they selected Dion Waiters, a shooting guard out of Syraucse.

Waiters was a slightly controversial pick, as he is considered by some as a player with great potential, and others just a role player who will end up a bust. Then the Cavs traded two, early second-round picks, to move up seven spots and take Tyler Zeller at 17th overall. Other than the draft, there was not much actual activity for the Cavs’ offseason. Rumors were spread that they were in the running to end up with Andrew Bynum out of the Dwight Howard fiasco, but obviously, that did not happen. The only other notable pickups were trading for Jeremy Pargo, and signing CJ Miles.

Kyrie Irving has all of the makings of a superstar. Clearly the best choice for Rookie of the Year, Kyrie silenced any critics of his lack of playing time in college or his health and showed the world he can be the next great point guard in this league. It may be a year or two before he leads Cleveland back to the playoffs, but he is only going to get better as will the help around him.

Biggest Strength: Youth/Kyrie Irving.

With four first round picks in the past two years, the Cavs are definitely one of the young, promising teams in the NBA, their only relevant player over 25 is Anderson Varejao. Irving, Waiters, Zeller, and Tristin Thompson are the future of this team, and give fans something to be excited for in the near future. The development of these players will be the main focus of this season, and the abundance of youth will surely mean for some fun, energized games. All four have the potential to be all-stars (Kyrie is basically there), and huge factors in the league for years to come.

Irving has the potential to make a Derrick Rose-like jump in the near future, from budding all-star to MVP candidate. He has already shown he can take over games, and scores with ease much of the time. Kyrie is the heart and soul of the post-Decision Cleveland Cavaliers, and he is the player Cleveland needs to carry them to the playoffs.

Biggest Weakness: Scoring ability

Outside of Irving, the Cavs struggled to find a second player who could put up points, consistently and efficiently. Antaw

n Jamison did average 17.2 points last year, but it took him 16.1 shots, and that is not helping anyone, ever. It hurt that Varejao was only able to play in 25 contests, but the Cavs still need a lot of help putting the ball in the basket. They were 29th in the league in effective field goal percentage at .463. The addition of Dion Waiters, who posted 12.6 points per game with a .565 TS% in his final year at Syracuse, should help spread the floor and improve the Cavs’ offensive play.

Player to Watch: Tyler Zeller

So far in the preseason, Zeller has looked like a solid NBA player. Coming off the bench, he could end up being a big factor on whether this team has a shot at sneaking into the playoffs. His size and rebounding ability will be a big boost for the Cavs, and you can look for many pick and rolls featuring Zeller and Waiters for the bench unit.

2011-2012 Record: 21-45

Coach: Byron Scott (392-463 career)

Key Additions: Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Jeremy Pargo, CJ Miles

Cleveland adds more ball handlers to play alongside Irving, as well as solid shooters. Miles is a career 41.9% shooter from 3-point range and brings experience to the team, while being just 25 years old.

Key Losses: Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker

I doubt there are many Cavs fans that will miss Antawn Jamison. He had one of the most inefficient seasons that comes to mind, and was just annoying to watch.

Team Trajectory: Rising

There really is nowhere to go but up for this Cleveland team. The future is bright with all of their recent draft picks, but it will take time to mold this young team into a serious contender in the league. Kyrie Irving can’t do all of the work, so Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters will have to live up to their 4th overall pick-status to make the Cavs relevant again.

Projected Record: 35-47

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About Blake Potash
I am online, I use the interwebs, I like sports.

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