The Cleveland Cavaliers open training camp tomorrow and have their Media Day today. The team has done a lot of things during the off-season including bringing back coach Mike Brown, adding 3 key free agents and drafting 2 guys in the first round that could impact the team this year and years to come. They also still have star Kyrie Irving, dynamic backcourt mate Dion Waiters and front line players Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller. Yet questions linger. Here are a few that FoS would ask today:
1) How is the health of Andrew Bynum?
- This question has to be asked and will be. Their answer will continue to be “He is progressing. We have a schedule. etc…”
- While Bynum is a luxury to some extent he also could be the key to the season. His healthy presence could mean the 2nd round or more in the playoffs
2) How will the team react to Mike Brown’s defense at all costs mentality?
- The team needs to embrace this mentality as Brown will only play players who do. While many of the team’s starters have the ability to play sound quality defense, they have not been in a system to do so. How quickly Irving and Waiters buy in will be as decisive as Bynum’s health.
3) Who will start at the 3? Who else will get minutes?
- The Cavs brought in 6’10″ Earl Clark from LA and he is the favorite to start at small forward. Clark is not a shoe in for the position though as last year’s starter Alonzo Gee plays strong defense and could get the nod. Draftees Sergey Karasev and Anthony Bennett could get some time there, though each has been slotted for other positions this year. CJ Miles has played some 3 but Brown likes taller players so expect Miles to be primarily a 2 guard.
4) How will this team bond as a unit?
- With so many new players and new expectations, how the team comes together will be interesting to see. Brown’s old Cavalier teams were united by Lebron James’ personality. While new star Irving doesn’t have the same outgoing ways, he has been leading the off-season workouts. Jarrett Jack will be a veteran who will help steer the team in the right direction.
5) What offense will the team run?
- Brown’s Cavs teams of the past have struggled on offense. With such dynamic players as Jack, Waiters and Irving and inside presence of Thompson and Bynum the team will have to have cohesion on this side of the court. While the Cavs identity will be on defense, they need some identity on offense as well.
6) Who has made “the jump”?
- Much like Jordan Cameron for the Browns, Tristan Thompson made a huge leap forward last year. His stats rose greatly as well as his leadership. Who could make that jump this year? Could Thompson’s change of shooting hand push him even higher? Has Waiters found his shot and the balance between drive and shoot? Has Zeller put on the weight needed to defend in the post?
The good news is the Cavs, for the first time since Lebron left, and maybe before, have a lot of players who can play certain roles and play them well. Cleveland fans should be excited. The Browns are 2-2 and tied a top the AFC North, the Indians are in the playoffs and the Cavs are about to start off their run of playoff years with Irving at the helm.