With the Cleveland Cavaliers kicking off their season Thursday, we figured we would get together before hand and come up with some predictions for the upcoming season. There is no way that these predictions will come back to bite us. So let's get this party started!
What do you think the biggest surprise this season?
Chris: I think it’s going to be how darn good Dion Waiters will be. I think by the end of the year, there’s a chance he’s going to be the fourth best player on the Cavs and cause some really interesting matchup problems for other teams. It’s either that or Waiters ends up becoming a lot more annoying version of Mario Chalmers.
Kendon: Well, it won't be a surprise if I can predict it coming, but I think most people will be surprised at how good Kyrie Irving really is. His stock really fell last year. I think he will climb back into the "future best point guard in the NBA" discussion after this year. I expect him to especially wow people in the playoffs when he's clutch as hell.
Mike: This won’t be a surprise to everyone, but I think that people who start to watch Kyrie Irving play regularly for the first time are going to be blown away by how good he is. We saw some of it in Spain: Irving’s combination of shooting and ball handling makes him almost unguardable when defenses aren’t able to focus solely on him.
Trevor: Dion's putting up 35 on someone. We won't know who, or when, or how, but it will be the highlight of the season if it happens, and I sincerely hope it happens against Washington. Eat it, Bradley Beal.
William: The Cavaliers will actually be better defensively than people think. It'd be nice to have a true rim protector, sure, but Cleveland does have superior rebounders at multiple positions. They won't cede many offensive rebounds to opponents. Also, they have two of the best wing defenders in the league (LeBron and Marion), which is a bonus.
David: This goes two ways. For guys who have been casual observers over the last couple years of the Cavaliers, people are going to be really surprised with the skill of Anderson Varejao. He's still a pretty good player defensively, but with his touch near the rim, ability to gain extra offensive possessions on the glass, and extended range, he's a really nice fit in the halfcourt with Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love.
For people who follow the sport and Cavs closely, I think Irving is going to remind people why they liked him in the first place. His deceptive athleticism has a way of catching people off guard. I'm looking forward to it.
Justin: I think this will be Tristan Thompson's breakout season. A lot of people were expecting it last year, but with him changing his shooting hand in the summer, I felt that was a little premature. Hustle players always look better when their intangibles assets are helping the team win. He's a gym rat that will benefit from being around so many smart players and David Blatt should help reduce the amount of thinking he has to do out on the court. I think he averages a double-double off the bench.
Ryan: Lou Amundson or Brendan Haywood end up playing a whole lot more minutes than we think.
What do you think the biggest disappoint will be this season?
Chris: I’ll say Matthew Dellavedova. This is not a slight and I enjoy Dellavedova. I repeat: This is not a slight and I enjoy Dellavedova. I still, however, think he’s going to be asked to do a few things and will probably see his fair share of DNPs against certain teams. Barring injury, I see everyone else playing like we expect. I also think both Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters will be a lot better than they’ll be bad this year.
Kendon: It's hard to disappointment me. Cavs fans will probably be disappointed that the Cavs aren't great right away. They may not even truly fight for a title until next year (even if they make the Finals).
Mike: I fear that Dion Waiters will not fit into his new role -- as the fourth option on offense -- as well as everyone else seems to think that he will.
Trevor: I know this is gonna come as a shock, but... I don't think Delly will be an effective player this season. He was too inconsistent last year for me to really be certain he'll be a rotation player again, and guys with his lack of athleticism usually don't stick around unless they flash an elite skill or are 7 feet tall. I think a lot of people expect Delly to be a rotation player this year, and I'm not sure that happens, or that his play will make us want it to.
William: I think Kyrie Irving will have a fine season, but his raw numbers may end up disappointing people. With this many teammates deserving shots, chances are his point totals will decrease. With LeBron and Love as willing distributors, he might not rack up a ton of assists, either. He should be more efficient (his eFG% ought to rise) but those expecting a leap into superstar point guard territory may be let down. (Rowan note: What a Wolves fan. YA'LL GON' LEARN TODAY!)
David: It's in the eye of the beholder, right? If Varejao gets hurt, or Irving struggles to accommodate James and Love, those guys will get some heat. If David Blatt appears overwhelmed, likewise. Dion Waiters needs to improve at the rim, at the foul line, with his shot selection. Those would seem to be the easy candidates. There's plenty of time for everyone to figure this stuff out, though.
Justin: I think it's going to be Shawn Marion. I've always been a huge fan of his, but I question exactly how much he has left. He's going to still be a very productive player and is going to have a huge impact on some nights. But I'm afraid he will leave a little bit to be desired.
Ryan: Anderson Varejao. I love him, I'm sorry, but if I had to pick a thing, I imagine his getting injured is more likely than my next two options (major regression from Shawn Marion or Mike Miller)
How many wins will the Cavs have this season?
Chris: I’ll say 57. Relatively weak Eastern Conference and a weak division, plus the fact that the Cavs are really good, mean the Cavs rack up wins. I think there is a good chance that the Cavs win more than 60 games, for what it’s worth.
Kendon: Somewhere around 55 to 57, so I'll go with 56. They'll take a little while to figure it out, and Blatt strikes me as a guy who isn't going to care about the regular season enough to grind out more wins than that. Guys will rest. Meaningless games against middling teams will be tossed aside. I don't think anyone cares about the regular season in that organization except as a way to get their stuff together for the playoffs.
Mike: I’ll say 59. But as we learned from 2008 through 2010, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what happens in the postseason
Trevor: I think the most trolling answer would be 59. It's one more than the Heat had in year one with LeBron.
William: I've got them down for 60, which feels really, really high, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
David: 58. But It's really difficult to know. Last year there were question marks. This year there are question marks. These ones are just better.
Justin: 64. This team is going to be insane on offense, the defense will be better than most expect and they are very, very deep. Homer pick? Absolutely. But this team is actually insane.
Spacefunmars: Three starters in the All-Star game and a FOURTH Cav as a reserve. How's that for bold? Not good enough? Okay. If Blatt decides to bring Waiters off the bench, Dion will win Sixth Man of the Year. We good now?
Mike: Irving will play in all 82 games.
Trevor: James Jones will play in at least 55 games.
William: The Cavs lead the NBA in three-pointers attempted, effective field goal percentage AND offensive rebounding rate. In other words, my bold prediction is that the Cavaliers' offense will be so good it's just, like, stupid.
David: Tristan Thompson finishes in the top three of the 6th Man of the Year award rankings.
Justin: Kyrie Irving wins Finals MVP. I don't understand how you can stop Kyrie with all the weapons he has around him.
Ryan: A player not currently on the Cavs roster will play a bigger role in the playoffs than Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, or Matthew Dellavedova.
GIF that describes this season?
Kendon: I refuse. I... hate GIFs.
Mike: Via Boosh:
Video that describes this season?
Chris: All the stunting. The real question, though, is this: Is Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving Aziz Anzari?
Justin: Cavs are about to become the greatest show on hardwood:
Ryan: If you ever wondered what it was like for David (Ben) to hang out with me (Haverford) and Justin (Donna) this is basically it: