The San Antonio Spurs have had a relatively quiet offseason as the organization so often does, retaining several key pieces and going about their business in relatively under the radar fashion. In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers did anything but that, making the two of the loudest moves of the NBA offseason, as the organization signed LeBron James and traded for Kevin Love. The Cavaliers now boast arguably the best big three in all of the NBA, but the Spurs still have the edge up on Cleveland as of right now because of their defense.
Although San Antonio’s dominant offensive display last season took much of the credit, the team’s defense was just as vital in their run at the 2014 NBA Finals. The Spurs ranked fourth in the regular season in defensive efficiency. In the playoffs, San Antonio tallied the second-best defensive efficiency, a certainly astonishing feat for a team so often labelled as “too old.”
The Cavaliers certainly have the offensive weapons to score with the defending champions, but their defense will be near the worst in the league unless the organization can find a capable shot-blocker. With the likes of Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Love slated to be on the floor a fair-share of minutes, Cleveland will struggle containing any competent offensive team.
If Cleveland’s general manager David Griffin can gain a defensive force down low, the Cavaliers will become a team truly capable of beating the Spurs. Until then, San Antonio remains the team to beat in the NBA.