Lebron James' contract is one season closer to the end and the Cavs GM Danny Ferry has been doing everything to improve the team and keep it as most competitive as possible, the same is to say "keep Lebron happy". The trade the Cavs made in the middle of last season by bringing Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West to the team didn't have the expected results and the Cavs ended the regular season with a 45-37 record, finishing the season by losing to the eventual champions Boston Celtics in the Game 7 of the conference semi finals.
For this season, the Cavs will try to comeback to the NBA Finals, as any team which has Lebron James on their roster has to have that goal. Lebron had a MVP caliber season with 30.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 7.2 apg with 48.4% FG. Certainly we all know how weak are the Cavs without Lebron and the biggest evidence of that last season was that Cleveland went 0-7 on the 7 games they played without Lebron.
One of the weakest points of the team last season was the PG position. This position on the Cavs doesn't require a playmaker, but a good shooter, as naturally the opponents are defensively focused on double teaming Lebron. Maybe thinking about that, Danny Ferry hired Mo Williams from the Bucks to the PG position and Williams has the perfect profile for the PG role on the Cavs system. Williams is a scorer and the proof of that is that he had 17.2 ppg for 48% FG last season and his presence on the field will always be a threat for the opponents, who won't be able to exclusively focus on Lebron.
The backcourt is completed with players from last season: Gibson, West and Szczerbiak. Gibson, after being essential in the conference finals against the Pistons on his rookie season, didn't have a great last season, when people were expecting him to confirm what he had done in the Playoffs of the previous season. Injuries didn't help him, but he should had taken advantage better of the opportunities he had. The same can be said about Szczerbiak, who had just 35.7% FG and 8.2 ppg on his 25 games he played for the Cavs last season. His career has been prejudiced by injuries, but as a starter of a top team like the Cavs, he needs to take advantage of the opportunities that Lebron creates or he will be quickly out of the picture.
The frontcourt of the Cavs is basically the same from the end of last season and it's very powerful physically. I remember the Cavs were the best team last season in terms of rebound margin (+4,27) and this edge on the rebounds should remain for this season. Ben Wallace and Anderson Varejao are two very aggressive players, who are capable of creating a lot of problems on the defense to any center. Wallace isn't the Big Ben, who was the league's top defender 4 times in a row anymore, but he is still a good defender. Last season he just played 22 games for the Cavs in the regular season and it will be curious to check his consistence during the season. On the other side, Varejao had an injury last season which has only allowed him to play 48 games. However, Andy had 8.3 rpg, which was a career high for him, a number which is even better, considering he has just played 27.5 min/game! Varejao has been improving season after season and this season he may get close to average 10 rebounds per game.
Iglauskas will be the starting center of the team and he is coming from a good season, where he averaged 14.1 ppg and 9.4 rpg. Big Z is one of the players which is more helped from the double team Lebron suffers and he was the team's second best scorer last season. However, let's not forget that Iglauskas is 33 years old and Mike Brown will need to manage his effort better, so Big Z can be at 100% in the postseason. The Cavs have selected J.J. Hickson from North Carolina as their first round draft pick and it's hard to predict the impact he may have on his first season, as the Cavs are very strong on the frontcourt. Hickson averaged 14.8 ppg and 8.5 apg on his only college season and probably he will need time to start gaining the trust of Mike Brown.
Cleveland has the necessary weapons to once again fight for the 1st place on the East and for that, it will be necessary that Lebron's team mates help him more than last season. 50 wins on the regular season seems to be a reachable goal and James will be more motivated than ever, after leading Team USA to goal in Beijing last Summer.
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