The 2017-2018 season is quickly approaching, so we decided to do a staff roundtable to gauge our expectations on the coming season. With so many questions and turnover this past summer, this promises to be one of the most interesting regular seasons the Cavs have had in a long time.
So let’s dive into it! Here are some staff predictions for the regular season win total, playoff seeding, and final result for the season:
Zac Lockwood (@thezlock): My numbers say 57 wins and the first seed (Boston comes second with 55 wins). I can’t believe that we’ll be in chill mode much at all and we’re finally deep enough to rest LeBron and still beat 5-8 teams any given night. I see the Cavaliers as a top-5 offense and as an above-average defensive team, with a ceiling at around 8th best in the league and an expected 12th best. I think a Finals against Golden State goes to 7 games and ends with Cavaliers victory and any other opponent is done in 5 games.
Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav): I think the Cavaliers will be hungry, motivated and play with a chip on their shoulders all season long. I think Boston struggles early and it leads to Cleveland getting 61 wins and the No. 1 seed in the East. Cleveland should be able to sweep through the first two rounds of the NBA Playoffs and beat Boston in five or six games. It’ll be Round 4 between Cleveland and Golden State and I think the Warriors repeat in six, hard-fought games -- because I can’t bet against LeBron in a Game 7.
Zack Geoghegan (@ZackGeoghegan): Despite the crazy offseason, I don’t think the Cavs improved for this season but I also don’t think they took a step back. They still have LeBron which is the biggest key. I wouldn’t be surprised if they coast again through the season and we hear the exact same criticism that the team hears every spring. 55 wins is where I have them and they’ll compete with Boston for the top spot, finishing second in the East behind the Celtics. Another Finals run is in their future but the result will mimic last season: Warriors in 5.
Alex Raulli (@EVR1022): My projections have the Cavs winning 57.4 games before factoring in schedule. Being part of the Eastern Conference, along with not having to play the best team in the conference, is enough to bump that up to about 59 wins; more than enough to nab the No. 1 seed. I expect another 12-1 or 12-2 run through the Eastern Conference playoffs, after which they’ll meet the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals. It will be a tough, hard-fought series: James Harden and Chris Paul are two of the best offensive players in the league, and the Rockets have several bodies to throw at LeBron James. But the Cavaliers will emerge victorious in six games, winning the trophy on their home court.
Justin Rowan (@Cavsanada): I thought I was going to be higher than everybody else in here, but I guess we are a bunch of homers. I’m going to go with 58 wins for the Cavs this season and the first seed. They are blessed with the worst division in the NBA and their depth should help reduce the negative effects of “chill mode”. They still are one injury away from Jose Calderon being their only point guard, and his theoretical replacements aren’t exactly the most durable players in Wade and Shumpert. However with the summer turnover, it is a necessity for the team to figure out what style best suits them. For that reason they can’t strut through the season with the same lackadaisical approach as past seasons. The Cavs have known who they are for the last two seasons, but this is a very different team. I trust Tyronn Lue to maximize this roster and make adjustments, something there simply wasn’t possible in the past as a result of the lack of depth. When you combine that with hungry veterans that are playing for contracts, or to maintain their spot in the league, plus a returning core with a chip on their shoulder, I think this team has the makings of a successful regular season. Now for the bad news, the Warriors are deeper than they were last season, will likely be healthier, have better chemistry, and exchanging Kyrie Irving for depth hurts the Cavs when the rotation shrinks to 7-8 in a series. Cavs lose to the Warriors in five close games. However, LeBron James will shoot with his right hand for the entirety of the series and won’t throw his jersey in disgust as he walks off the court. He’s coming back next season. (fuck your five sentences Chris, I got things to say)
David Zavac (@davidzavac): I don’t know guys. I think there are real spacing issues with quite a few of their lineups, and the chosen method to fix that makes Kevin Love the primary rim protector. His defensive struggles are overblown, but if Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose are playing big minutes, the Cavs aren’t stopping a ton of penetration. So. I think there are serious defensive issues, and the offense might take a step back before Isaiah Thomas returns. Even then, there could be an adjustment period. The team is also old. So given all that, 50 wins and the East’s second seed sounds about right. They’ll lose in the Finals, but it might be close with LeBron James collapsing on the court at the end of games like he did several years ago when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were hurt.
Brad Ward (@Brad_Ward12): I certainly feel good about the added depth to the Cavaliers roster. When Isaiah Thomas gets healthy and comfortable in the his new offense, the Cavs will look very good at times throughout the regular season. Tyronn Lue will be tasked with managing the minutes, games played and rest of a team with multiple aging players. As long as he realizes it’s not about the regular season and errors on the side of caution with select players on the roster, the Cavs should win a few games more than 50 and finish with the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The will cruise through the playoffs just like we are used to and lose the NBA Finals in six games.
Dylan Haines (@DHaines1): Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting basically anything that happened this offseason for the Cavs, but even so, I’m optimistic about the squad for this coming season. The Kyrie Irving trade (*sad emoji*) actually put the Cavs in a pretty good position for this season, especially considering what some of the other teams around the league got back for their stars. An All-NBA Second Team selection in Isaiah Thomas (who should be back in January), the exact type of player the Cavs were missing against Golden State in Jae Crowder, plus a potential high lottery pick in a loaded draft and an interesting prospect in Ante Zizic. Add in the additions of Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose (SO weird to type that) and the steady presence of one LeBron James and the Cavs seem to be almost a shoo-in to win the East for a fourth consecutive season (the Celtics have no rebounding or interior presence, guys). My prediction is the Cavs care a little more about this regular season than they have the last couple years and get 57 wins (good for the top spot in the East) and they get a fourth consecutive matchup with the Warriors in the NBA Finals, where they will once again (pending injury) fall to that juggernaut in Golden State in six games. Anything is possible when LeBron James is on your team, but there are far too many question marks that need to be exclamation points to have any chance at beating a team like the Warriors.