When will the dream of the 8th seed die, if at all?
John thinks the team will be hanging around a playoff spot for most of the year. When will the dream die? "The Ides of March". For those of us not familiar with Julius Caesar or Shakespeare (actually, I am, but, solidarity with those who aren't) this means March 15th. The regular season concludes April 17. Seems like a reasonable guess to me.
Patrick doesn't think its a playoff team either: "It's already on life support in my mind. This team simply isn't ready to grab a playoff spot yet. They'll stay in contention for most of the year, and Cavs fans (Sam Amico chief among them) will cling to the statistical possibility of it still happening, but I think it's a long shot. And I'm fine with that. This is still a rebuilding team, no matter what Eastern Conference GM thinks."
Angelo sees tough competition: "Can I say that it's already dead? Brooklyn, Toronto and Washington all improved more than the Cavs did this offseason and I don't see any playoff teams from last year falling out of the playoffs outside of Philly and maybe (just maybe) the Knicks and even then, they're better than the Cavs. The Bucks have Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis playing for contracts. I just don't think it's happening."
Boosh is on a similar page: "Will it ever be alive? Looking at the Eastern Conference, I see three playoff teams that got worse over the summer: Orlando, Chicago, and Atlanta. I think the first two drop out of the playoffs entirely (unless Rose comes back early enough, and is able to carry that considerably worse team to a lot of consecutive wins). Of the teams that didn't make the playoffs last year, I think the Bucks and the Wizards have a better shot than the Cavs for that last hypothetical slot. Barring a blockbuster trade or crucial injuries to a top heavy playoff team, I don't see how the Cavs could ever be projected to exit the lottery in 2013."
Ben thinks Anderson Varejao holds the key: "When they trade Anderson Varejao around the deadline. Or whenever
Anderson Varejao goes down with his yearly injury. They won't be able to survive with just Zeller and TT."
Conrad: "It will probably be early February-ish. Just because of how the season works, the Cavaliers will probably hang around for a little while and fade gradually. Since the Eastern Conference isn't particularly good, it will last significantly longer than it would if they were in the West. The Knicks, Bucks, Hawks, Sixers, and Celtics are all teams that will probably be in the race for a while. Eventually, the good teams will emerge and the less-good teams (Cleveland) will settle into the lottery. The process will be accelerated greatly if they trade Anderson Varejao before that time comes."
My take: I wish I could be more optimistic than everyone else, but I just can't do it. I think the team will be better than last season, but it does seem to be true that other teams in the East got a little bit better. Mediocrity everywhere! I differ a little bit in how the season will go, though. I could see the team really struggling in the early going while the new parts try and mesh together, Gee and Miles and Casspi figure out who will have what role, and Waiters and Zeller adjust to the NBA. Because of this, I don't think the Cavaliers will ever be in that serious of contention. The team will get better each month, though, and by the end of the season have somewhere between 30-37 wins. There will be lots of optimism for next season.