Will the Cavs repeat as NBA Champions?
LeBron James has always had a target on his back. No matter if he is looked at as the good guy or the bad guy, he is always targeted heavily because of his greatness as a basketball player. James seems to always carry all the pressure, criticism and media questions for his team as well. LeBron is and always was the face of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Usually when things go wrong, he gets the blame. When things go right, he gets all the praise. Recently the Cavaliers have been on a bad run of games taking a bunch of losses that nobody including themselves saw coming. This begs the question if they will be able to repeat as back to back NBA champions.
This isn’t the first time that LeBron and his team have hit a dry spot in the regular season. This happened a little bit last year and a couple times when he was on the Miami Heat. Regardless, him and his team have always been firing on all cylinders come post season time. Personally, I’m not worried about the Cavs. I know that come playoffs that LeBron will kick it into his Hero mode and Kyrie Irving will suddenly look like the best point guard in the league. Many people sometimes forget how dominant the Cavs are in the playoffs because they like to chill out and save themselves in the regular season. However, this doesn’t mean I think it will be easy to get back to the finals for them.
Right now, the biggest threat to the Cavaliers in the eastern conference is probably still the Toronto Raptors who are currently the 3rd seed. They met with LeBron and the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals last year and challenged them all the way to game 6 where they would fall short but not without a fight. Kyle Lowry who is the starting point guard for the Raptors has been out to finish the season which has left them looking a little worse than normal. Never the less, they are still the 3rd seed and will be dangerous once they return to full form come playoffs. We also can’t forget about the Boston Celtics who are in first place in the east right now. This has come to a big surprise for most but many question their strength as a team come playoff time. They have completely found their identity and can compete with tough teams in the regular season but come playoff times you need to rely on your stars and they may not have enough star power just yet. With all that said, if the current seeding remained the same as it is now come playoffs, the Cavs would have to beat both teams.
Cleveland still has the best player in the world, LeBron James. This automatically makes them the favorites coming out of the east, despite the tougher competition this year. Lebron is averaging 26 points per game, 8 rebounds per game and 9 assist per game which is outstanding for the 32-year-old. Even though he probably won’t win MVP this year, he will still be in the top 5 for votes. The Cavs offense is something that can’t be denied with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both scoring 20 points a game to help LeBron out. The question will be if their defense can stop the top teams. They are currently in the bottom half of the league with their defense and there has never been a team to win a championship with their defense that low. If they want good chances, they definitely need to step that up before the second round!
It seems like the Cleveland Cavaliers might have a harder time this season. They won’t be able to just coast along and come out of the Eastern Conference as easy as they have the last two years. I expect them to face one game 7 before they reach the finals and have another series go at least 6 games as well. The competition is much higher than previous years and the Eastern Conference is probably the stronger of the two in the NBA currently. However, my prediction is that the Cavs will return to the finals again for their 3rd year in a row and LeBron’s 7th year in a row. There is a great story line to go with this year in the finals and that’s meeting with Kevin Durant.
What would it mean for Lebron and the Cavs to win another championship this year and go back to back? Not only would they have taken out the best regular season team of all time last year in the Warriors but they would have beaten that same core team with Kevin Durant added to them. This would give Lebron his 4th ring and his second back to back championship run. The city of Cleveland would have their 2nd championship in any major sports league in the last 53 years and it would push LeBron one step closer to the top of the Greatest of All Time list. We can conclude that it will be tougher for them to reach the finals this year than previously. We can also agree that when they get there a solid Warriors team with 4 all stars and a chip on their shoulders might be waiting there. If not, it might be their arch nemesis San Antonio Spurs that have beaten LeBron in the finals twice. When you look at all this information you will understand how big of a win it would be for them to pull this off. This should and will make LeBron and his team mates more eager than ever to hoist that trophy come middle of June. Time will tell but I promise that you won’t want to miss it.