After keeping the basketball world at a standstill for days, LeBron James has made his big move.
James has decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, all coming via a penned letter sent to Sports Illustrated. He wants to come back home, and there is nothing stopping him from doing so. Now that his decision is made, how will he fit in with the current talent they have already on the court?
Point guard Kyrie Irving‘s life is going to become a lot easier with James on the court. LeBron can become a primary ball handler due to his impressive skills in bringing the ball up the court, as well his fantastic court vision. Irving has struggled to be a consistent high-level distributor during his time in the NBA, so now he will have more opportunities to play off the ball with someone who can find him for open looks, which should lead to a nice spike in his scoring average.
It will not just be Irving who will reap the benefits, though. The Cavaliers also just drafted Andrew Wiggins, who has been criticized at times for being too passive despite his immense talent and potential to be a dominant NBA player. With James in the fold, Wiggins will not have to handle the ball all the time and be a ball-dominant player. He can play off the ball and get the looks that he wants: in transition.
Wiggins can also focus on being the elite defender he is capable of being while getting great looks from James and Irving, both in transition and while cutting to the basket. The top prospect will be able show off the work he has put in on his shooting stroke, as well as be a monster threat in the open court. It’s early, but he could end up being the biggest benefactor of James’ return.
But wait, it doesn’t even stop there. Post players Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson will benefit greatly from James’ return as well, as their job on the offensive side of the ball is now made easier. James’ presence should lead to easy looks around the rim for both post players, who are not great at creating their own shots. Both are “hustle points” scorers, and both could turn into double-digit scorers in the post and pile up some big numbers on good nights.
The only potential problem with James coming back is the issue of spreading out the floor. Out of the five players who are projected to be in the starting lineup, only Irving is considered to be a pretty good 3-point shooter. James has improved as a shooter over the years, but his primary game is in the post, where Wiggins, Thompson and Varejao like to live as well.
The solution could be trying to find a stretch power forward who can spread the floor for James and allow him to do more work in the lane, and the main target should be star forward Kevin Love.
The Cavaliers will certainly be in the mix for Love now that James has chosen to come back to Cleveland. A Big Three of Irving, James and Love would turn the Cavaliers into instant title contenders, and would be really exciting for fans of the NBA to watch for years to come.
James’ decision should provide a lot of help for the younger players, and could lead to the recruitment of title-hungry veterans such as Ray Allen and Mike Miller. The Cavaliers are big-time winners here, and they could be winners for many years to come with James in the cards.