October is just a few days away, and NBA training camp will be in full swing in no time. There is not as much excitement around the Cleveland Cavaliers as there has been the past few years, as the team and city were devastated by a certain “Decision” that left us all with more questions then answers. Arguably though, the Cavs season actually got a whole lot more interesting because there is now some unknown surrounding the team. If LeBron stayed in Cleveland a #1 seed would be a definite, as would a late round playoff loss accompanied with weeks of torture, as apparently LeBron was always incapable if winning when it mattered. Tis is however, not the point of this post. The Cavs have a lot of things to be excited about, as do true fans of the organization who still stand with the team. Here are a few things that we will be watching, and enjoying this season as the Cavs move on from the past 8 years.
Before we jump into that, here’s a look at the Cavs roster as it stands heading into camp. New additions will be in bold.
Christian Eyenga – Guard/Forward
Daniel Gibson – Guard
Joey Graham – Guard/Forward
Daniel Green – Guard/Forward
J.J. Hickson – Forward
Ryan Hollins – Center
Antawn Jamison – Forward
Jamario Moon – Forward
Anthony Parker – Guard/Forward
Leon Powe – Forward
Samardo Samuels – Forward
Ramon Sessions – Guard
Anderson Varajao – Forward/Center
Jawad Williams – Forward
Mo Williams – Guard
There is also a short list of guys, invited to camp, and not officially on the roster who have the shot of making the team, – Manny Harris (SG), Cedric Jackson (G), Tasmin Mitchell (F), Greg Stiemmsa (C) and Loren Woods (C).
The likely starters will be:
C. Anderson Varejao
PF. Antwan Jamison
SF. Jamario Moon
SG. Anthony Parker
PG. Mo Williams
6. JJ Hickson
7. Ramon Sessions
8. Joey Graham
9. Leon Powe
10. Jawad Williams
11. Daniel Gibson
12. either Christian Eyenga or Ryan Hollins
– New Coach, new schemes. Byron Scott’s run’n’gun offense. The Cavs should be able to still score in bunches and have great athleticism that could give them the edge against many opponents. They, if nothing else, might be more athletically gifted then many of the teams who run traditional style offenses and that could create matchup problems and easy scoring opportunities.
– The Trade Exception. What will new GM, Chris Grant, be able to do with this valuable trade asset. I hope it is used to bring in a new starting center, a true center, like Al Jefferson.
– The evolution of JJ Hickson. As the team gets more accustomed to Scott’s fast paced system look to see Hickson’s athletic abilities make him a big piece of the offense. He showed how good he could be in flashes last season, but it will be absolutely necessary for him to continue to grow if this team wants to compete for a playoff spot.
– How Scott copes with having a team a little shorter on talent than his previous team.
– What does Antawn Jamison have left in the tank? And will the team try and move him to a contender to stockpile expiring contracts, young players and draft picks? Jamison is the best player, likely, on the Cavs roster and he will be a big part of the team this year, as WFNY noted in a post earlier today, he is embracing the city and embracing his role as the face of the franchise.
– The Scott System should fit Ramon Sessions and Jamario Moon beautifully. It’ll be a blast to watch them run and showcase their talent.
– How will the Cavs manage with just Anthony Parker and Joey Graham as the two best options at the 2 Guard? Will Mo Williams see time at Shooting Guard as well to make room in the rotation for Daniel Gibson?
– For the first time in what seems like an eternity the Cavaliers will be kicking off their season without Big Z on the roster, how will this effect the team on the court as well as from a leadership standpoint? Ilgauskas was a real leader and veteran for the Cavs, but is not having the big man actually a good thing? He doesn’t fit Scott’s style of play because he is slow, but will not having Z strike a psychological blow to this years Cavaliers team?
– Are the Cavaliers better off starting -23? Better off without LeBron, certainly not. But it does make the season a little more interesting. In the past few years it has been a guarantee, top 2 seed, out before the finals. Every year. But now without James, this year will be a little more intriguing, will they make the playoffs? Will the team gel? Who will come out as the teams new scoring leader? All of these questions are now in play, and I, for one, am looking forward to this NBA season more than I ever have before.