NBA Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers

BY foxsports • October 25, 2013

Editor's note: This is the 15th of Sam Amico's look at all 30 NBA teams heading into the 2013-14 season.

Coach: Mike Brown (second stint with Cavs, 8th eighth year overall, 314-167 )

Last season:
24-58, did not make playoffs.

Projected starters: C Andrew Bynum (when healthy); PF Tristan Thompson; SF Earl Clark: SG Dion Waiters; PG Kyrie Irving.

Key reserves: PF/C Anderson Varejao; G Jarrett Jack; PF Anthony Bennett (r); SF Alonzo Gee; SG/SF C.J. Miles; C Tyler Zeller; SG Sergey Karasev (r); SF Carrick Felix (r).

New faces: Brown, Bynum, Clark, Jack, Bennett, Karasev, Felix, PG Matthew Dellavedova (r), C Henry Sims.

Scouting the Cavaliers

General manager Chris Grant has amassed perhaps the finest collection of young talent in the Eastern Conference. … Irving may be the league's best ball-handler and undoubtedly one of its premier shooters and penetrators. He finishes at the rim and makes free throws. … He needs work on the other end, but that's why Brown is here. …

Waiters believes he can be one of the league's top shooting guards and he may be right. Needs to work on shot selection and "bringing it" on every possession. …

Thompson is evolving into a true force near the basket, his confidence and rebounding apparently at all-time highs. This could be an All-Star season for him. … Bynum, when healthy and motivated, may be the league's most dangerous all-around center. The burning question is when he'll actually play, and how much. …

Jack brings crucial leadership. He can score when necessary but never forces a thing. He should help Irving see the value of making the simple play, as opposed to trying to get, in the words of Brown, "too cute" with the ball (although Brown never said that about Irving specifically.) …

There still appears to be a hole at small forward. Neither Clark nor Gee established himself as a clear frontrunner in camp/preseason. …

Bennett was an intriguing choice at No. 1 overall in the draft. Hard to see where he fits if the Cavs truly plan to keep him at power forward (as opposed to small). ... That said, he is fairly explosive and has the type of skills that make you think he could someday turn into a star.

Everyone already knows about Varejao. All arms, legs and hustle, he'll lead Brown's defense by example. … Varejao has also made huge strides offensively in the past three seasons. … Unfortunately, he is among the key Cavs who have struggled to stay healthy recently. That's vital if they expect to take the next step and make one of the NBA's biggest leaps. ...

One thing's for (almost) certain: This team will improve immensely on D, and quickly, under Brown. For all the grief he's taken from fans, etc., he's one of basketball's brightest minds. He has his players' respect.

Prediction: 44-38.

FOX Sports: Cavaliers home

Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO


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