While there's no question in LeBron James' greatness this season, the Cavs are no longer the same dominant team they were once
One way or another, the 2017-2018 season has been one of the most unpredictable seasons that the Cleveland Cavaliers have to endure ever since LeBron James returned back in 2014. Why?
They're no longer the top team in the Eastern Conference as they are lagging behind the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics with a 37-26 record which puts them in third place. To begin with, the Cavs' turmoil began prior to the start of the regular season after Kyrie Irving was traded to the Celtics in a swap that included a still-injured Isaiah Thomas. Now? the Celtics are the new beneficiary of Irving's talents while the Cavs have George Hill- one of the 4 players they've acquired in a 10-player deal that sent all of the new players to different teams.
While many pundits are still believing and fans are still hoping that the Cavs will have enough firepower come the playoffs to make a much-needed push for a championship that will hopefully make LeBron James stay put in Cleveland after this season, this pundit on wheels isn't optimistic with regards to the Cavs' chances of even making it back to the NBA Finals for the 4th consecutive season and below are his reasons:
LeBron James is all alone
LeBron James is having another MVP-worthy of a season, leading the Cavs in 4 of the 5 basic categories. He is averaging 26 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks in 62 starts this season, so far. And despite LeBron's greatness, the Cavs are now on a 2-game losing streak and have dropped 4 of their last 10 games.
Another reason why the Cavs are struggling this season was the fact that the Cavs no longer have a Big 3 of their own and their Big 2 was recently reduced to a Big 1 after Kevin Love sustained an injury that might make him miss the rest of the regular season. If Kevin Love does miss the playoffs, too, it will be a big blow to the Cavs' championship aspirations.
The Cavs have been inconsistent all season long and the numbers don't lie either. They are one of the worst defensive teams as they give up 110 points per game. At one stretch, they even allowed opponents to score 122 points per game which makes many question their capability to even defend the likes of the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors. Without a steady point guard, the Cavs have dropped to 10th in assists with 23 assists per game- this is thanks to LeBron's capability to play any given position. They have also dropped 23rd in the league in rebounds- averaging 42 rebounds.
Sure, they are still among the top 5 scoring teams this season, averaging 110 points per game but we all know that there are many better defensive teams who have successfully shut down the Cavs on offense so the Cavs relying on offense especially in the playoffs will be a big mistake.
While there's no doubt that the Cavs will make it to the playoffs this season, making it to the NBA Finals again is still a long shot considering the team's struggles and the fact that a lot of the teams in the East have strengthened up. However, if there's one aspect that will allow the Cavs to make a run at another championship, that would be their championship experience. After all, no East teams have been able to eliminate the Cavs in the playoffs during the past 3 seasons.