By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on August 18, 2014
With the additions of several free agents and Kevin Love via a trade at the end of the month, the Cleveland Cavaliers are poised to make a legitimate run at an NBA championship in 2014-15. It won’t be easy, as every team will be going at them, which is why every player on the roster must be a difference maker. Here’s a look at a ranking of the top 10 Cavaliers players for the 2014-15 season.
After missing the 2013-14 season with a fractured foot, Brendan Haywood is still out indefinitely. The Cavaliers signed undrafted center Alex Kirk to add depth at the position just in case Haywood is unable to go at the start of the season. However, if Haywood is able to play he will be the backup center. He has a career average of 6.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
When LeBron James came back to Cleveland, he brought a few players with him. James Jones just so happens to be one of them. The 33-year-old isn’t expected to have a big role, but he will provide insurance off the bench when necessary.
Although Mike Miller played with the Memphis Grizzlies last season, he spent the three previous seasons with James in Miami. James really wanted Miller to join him in Cleveland, and another shot at a championship was too good for Miller to pass up. His shooting talents from the field and high-percentage shots from beyond the arc will help the Cavaliers greatly.
If Anderson Varejao can stay healthy, he will be a legitimate threat for the Cavaliers. But, staying healthy has been a major concern the past few seasons. James has stated that Varejao is one of his favorite teammates, which will only help the two players going forward.
In his third season in the league, Tristan Thompson continued to impress. Although his 2012-13 season was technically a little better, the fact that Thompson didn’t fall back in his progress is a huge plus. Having James and Kevin Love on the team will only help Thompson improve greatly over the next year. He should be a huge help backing up Love from the bench.
The Cavaliers recently agreed to terms with Shawn Marion. It’s a great signing because he will have an important role in which his outstanding defensive skills and versatility will be utilized to the maximum every game. His ability to shut down some of the best offensive threats in the league will be huge down the stretch and in the playoffs. He also will put up points on a consistent basis to take some pressure off the star players.
Dion Waiters believes he can start next season, and from where I’m sitting, that’s a very good possibility. There’s a chance that Waiters still gets traded before the start of the season, but I believe he will remain with the team in 2014-15. He took a big step forward in his progress in 2013-14, which is an encouraging sign. If Cleveland wants to go the distance, they will need Waiters to continue to improve.
With the help of James and Love, Kyrie Irving will be the best point guard in the NBA in two years or less. He already has an incredible amount of talent, but the fact that James and Love will be available to help him reach new heights will make him the most dangerous point guard in the league. Irving is the reason why I believe James will be more dangerous with his current “Big Three” than with the one he was with in Miami.
The addition of Love via a trade at the end of the month is the main reason why the Cavaliers went from championship contenders to the favorites to win it all next season. He’s a top-10 player and by far the best big man in the NBA. His ability to weaken defenses around the basket and rebound like nobody’s business is going to do wonders for the Cavaliers.
It should be no surprise that James is the top player on this list. He single-handedly makes the Cavaliers relevant again. Not only that, but he’s determined to bring a championship to his home state, which means Cleveland should have a title in less than three years.
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