Basketball is back, kind of. Preseason basketball isn't the highest quality basketball in the world, but it is basketball. And with the Cavaliers running out its full roster for the first time in an actual NBA sanctioned game, this might be the most interesting preseason game in Cavaliers history.
This also marks David Blatt's first official NBA game as an NBA coach. It comes against his former team, Maccabi Tel Aviv. Maccabi is a traditional Euroleague power, but isn't in the same league the Cavaliers in terms of talent. Still, its familiarity with Blatt should make this game more interesting than a typical preseason game. The Cavs will also apparently be rolling out a whole new roster headlined by LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
Also, the Cavs are back and should be really good. Expect your eyes to take some time to adjust.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
How Can I Watch: Fox Sports Time Ohio
Music: Kanye West - On Sight
Tomorrow, Cleveland will play its first official game. It may be a preseason game that the Cavs' will likely win. We also may not see James, Love and Irving play for more than 20 minutes or so. It's the first preseason game, the roster isn't 100 percent finalized, so it makes sense we won't see the full version of the new-look Cavaliers. But this is the start of something new in Cleveland. It's something that is still hard to fully understand and may take a few viewings in order to fully understand. Hence, the music for this game is opening track for Kanye West's polarizing, complicated and utterly brilliant Yeezus album.
As for real basketball things, this the first time we will actually get to see Blatt's offense in action. When we saw it in summer league, it was likely a limited, partial version. The Cavs' summer league team had Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Matthew Dellavedova as the three best players. Wiggins and Bennett are now Timberwovles and Delly is back to being a role player. Even if we see the starters for a short stretch, it is going to be a preview of what is to come once the regular season starts because this is the real roster and not a mix of young talent and filler players. It should also help every player on the roster improve on their understanding of the playbook after only having a few days to learn a whole new offense.
As mentioned above, Blatt also is facing his old team in Maccabi Tel Aviv. Part of the reason Blatt got the job in Cleveland has to be because of how he unexpectedly led Maccabi to the Euroleague title last season as a underdog. This is also one of the few teams that, at least early on, will be used to be defending Blatt's motion-heavy, European style offense. Considering the gap in talent, that really doesn't mean much. But it does mean that the Cavs will get pushed at times and the guys who are on the edge of making the roster will get to prove themselves. It also should be a big moment for Blatt to coach his first official game as head coach of the Cavaliers against the team where he earned a reputation as a basketball genius of sorts.
This is also our first look at what the Cavs' rotation will look like. We know the Irving, Waiters, James and Love will start. It isn't clear who will start at center between Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson, although it seems likely that Thompson will play more in the preseason than Varejao. What we don't know is if Dellavedova will see minutes with the main bench units. We don't know how Blatt will substitute, how often he'll substitute and so on. Essentially, this is our first look at what the Cavaliers will look like. It's probably going to change, but after a few days of camp, it will be interesting to see how Blatt organizes the rotation.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction: The Cavaliers' should roll over Maccabi. As long as Cleveland's starters are in, this game won't be close. In the end, I see the Cavs winning 101-89. Cleveland will be up by as many as 20 at times in the first half, but the gap will be closed when the reserves are in the game.