The Cleveland Cavaliers, fresh off winning the NBA championship, will enter this season with a target on their backs. Despite all the drama dealing with the firing of former coach David Blatt and the hiring of Tyronn Lue, the Cavs still managed to pull of one of the greatest feats in NBA history. They defeated the 73-9 Golden State Warriors, who had the greatest regular season of all-time. It’s not about Cleveland beating them, but it was about how it happened.
The Cavs, down 3-1 in the series, were the first team in NBA Final history to come back from that deficit. Now, entering the 2016-17 season, they have a bigger target on their backs as teams like the Warriors have improved and retooled their roster. The main question is: how will the Cavs respond this season to defend their title?
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The Cavaliers will go as far as LeBron James takes them. James has been to six straight NBA finals, has logged over 46,643 minutes in his career at the age of 31. He even has over 5000 minutes played in the playoffs. James has so much mileage in his body, but if anyone can brush off that mileage, it is King James himself. Despite that mileage, he still averaged 26.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.6 assists last postseason. It doesn’t look like he is slowing down at all. He still has a lot in the tank. James is definitely working hard this offseason to get better as he looks to carry the Cavs again this season.
Kyrie Irving is only 24 years old and he is just entering his prime. Irving has accomplished so much in such little time that he still has more to offer and improve on. We all know Irving is a closer and he cemented that in game seven of the NBA finals with that three-pointer over Stephen Curry. As the season closes in, let’s see what Irving has on the table.
Kevin Love is still a huge question mark. While he did average 16 points and 9.9 rebounds per game with 41.4 field goal percentage last season, he disappeared in the NBA Finals. The Cavs have yet figured out how they will implement Love in their system. That’s also something to look out for this season.
Nonetheless, the Cavaliers kept most of their championship squad, with new additions like Mike Dunleavy Jr. from Chicago and Chris Anderson from the Memphis Grizzlies. If they stay healthy, expect them to once again be in the NBA Finals. Once again, never count out LeBron James.