Cleveland hasn’t won a championship in any major sports since before the Super Bowl was even created. Shaq was brought there to deliver a ring for Lebron, but will this be the last year the King will be there? Can Delonte West avoid hiding guns in guitar cases this season or is he this generation’s J.R. Rider? A lot of pressure is on the Cavs to go out and dominate every night, but is the pressure too much? Here is my 2009-10 NBA Preview for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Additions/Subtractions – Cleveland made one of the biggest trades this off-season by acquiring Shaquill O’Neal from Phoenix. They made the trade without sending any contributors. They have all the pieces from last year, minus Wally Szczerbiak, who’s contract ran out. They added Leon Powe from the Celtics and Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, and Rob Kurz all hope to make the team. I look for J.J. Hickson to get some minutes this year, since he had a year under his belt and he could be a nice addition to the rotation.
2009-10 Expectations – The Cavs are the NBA Championship or bust this year. They cashed in all their chips and this could be their last year with Lebron James on the roster. They can’t allow it to become a distraction, especially since Delonte West’s actions were enough to derail a team alone. They will need Mo Williams to become a more consistent offensive threat if this team wants to live up to their potential this season and get a ring on their finger. Shaq and Zudruna Ilgauskas are a nice two-headed monster at the center position and can match up with any team in the NBA. If the Cavs play up to their potential, it’s their championship to lose.
2009-10 Prediction – I don’t want a lot of hate mail from Cleveland fans, but I don’t forsee a title in their future. They will coast in the regular season, but they will have to go up against Boston and possibly Los Angeles in the NBA Finals and it’s going to be a tough. Shaq had a miracle season last year just by staying healthy and I don’t see that happening this year. A lot of pressure is on him to produce and deliver Lebron a title. If they don’t get a ring this year, Mike Brown could see his way out and Lebron could even leave for a better chance at a championship. I would like to see Cleveland win the title this year, but even though they look very good on paper, I am not sure if they will be able to do it.
2009-10 Win Total – 65-17