The Cleveland Cavaliers made fairly big splashes in both the NBA Draft and NBA free agency. But making a splash doesn't always mean that you have improved your team. According to Amin Elhassan at ESPN.com, the Cavaliers had one of the best offseasons.
Elhassan ranks the Los Angeles Clippers as having the best offseason, just ahead of the Houston Rockets. The Cavaliers come in 5th, after the Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets. The most obvious way that the Cavaliers were able to improve their roster was through the draft. As you know, the Cavs had the #1 and #19 picks in the draft. Despite the fact that most people were surprised by the selection of Anthony Bennett, Elhassan writes highly of the talent that he brings to the Cavs.
Drafting Anthony Bennett and Sergey Karasev: It almost seems unfair that Cleveland should draw the No. 1 overall pick a mere two seasons after drafting Irving first overall. While Bennett is currently injured, he brings a lot upside as an inside-outside frontcourt threat.
He also speaks very highly of Sergey Karasev.
Karasev also was an excellent selection. A 6-foot-7 wing with deep range and good feel, Karasev has the potential to fill the hole the Cavs have at small forward, providing Irving with another spacer on the floor.
Unlike most of the other teams on the list of most improved rosters, the Cavaliers were able to utilize both the draft and free agency to add talent. Amin Elhassan also praised the additions of Andrew Bynum and Jarrett Jack.
Signing Andrew Bynum: It is easy to forget that a year ago the general consensus was that Bynum would sign a max extension upon arriving in Philadelphia. To sign him to a two-year, $24 million deal with a team option on the second year and just $6 million guaranteed in the first year is nothing short of a home run. But the Cavs will gladly turn in the cost savings in favor of Bynum actually playing.
Although it's possible that the Cavs slightly overpaid for Jarrett Jack, their particular situation makes it a solid signing. The health of Kyrie Irving is slightly concerning in the near future. If Jack can allow Kyrie to avoid some additional damage, that's probably worth a couple million alone.
Signing Jarrett Jack: While paying $6.25 million per year for a backup point guard is a little steep for my taste (I had Jack valued at $4.5 million per year), it is a luxury Cleveland can afford. Irving has missed an average of 19 games per year so far in his career, and Jack not only gives them an insurance policy should he go down, but also a means to reduce the wear and tear on the All-Star guard by shortening his minutes.
Do you agree that the Cavs had one of the NBA's top 5 off seasons? Be sure to read the rest of the article and see the reasons for putting Cleveland fifth behind the Clippers, Rockets, Warriors, and Nets.