Below are my three New Year's wishes for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013.
1. Injury-free Kyrie Irving
Were Kyrie Irving's injuries this past year a fluke?
A concussion, broken hand, broken finger and a broken jaw; all of those could happen to anyone, really. It's not like he has bad knees or ankles.
That's why I don't consider him close to being injury prone. But that also doesn't mean I don't hope his overall health will improve in 2013.
Irving is a superstar. No if's, and's, or but's about it. He is the second-best point guard in the league behind only Chris Paul.
Without Irving on the court, the Cavs aren't much better than the Canton Charge; we saw that in 2012. A healthy Kylie Irving demonstrates the potential of this team moving forward. Something I'm looking forward to seeing unfold.
2. The continued development of Tristan Thompson
When Tristan Thompson sealed the win against the Washington Wizards with a three-point play recently, I said to myself, "has he finally figured it out?" Thompson ended December with five double-doubles in his last six games and started to look like a top five draft pick.
He's been going up strong to the rim and without hesitation; something he had trouble doing before. And with Anderson Area still out, Thompson will continue to get this chance.
This team needs him almost as much as Irving if they want to turn into a contender. He will never be a guy they run plays for or have much of a jumper. But he is a guy I feel can develop into a 15 and 10 player along with being a strong defender.
I remember Byron Scott saying they didn't draft Thompson for his offense. Well, on this team they need all the offense they can get. I think we might see Thompson develop that in 2013. Something I'll definitely need for my third wish
3. How about some W's?
I hate losing. Whether it is my favorite team, fantasy football or video games; it stinks.
Being a Cleveland fan doesn't help. I'll admit, for the last two seasons, I almost welcomed the losing because I knew this team needed top draft picks. They needed an infusion of young talent after Lebron James went to Miami and the lottery was where to find those players.
They have that with Irving, Thompson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller. But I had some hopes for this season. Not playoff hopes, but at least better than this. The Cavaliers have losses, home losses, to the Raptors and Kings.
At some point, we have to start beating those teams. I really don't know what to pin the losses on, either. I'm not ready to blame Byron Scott yet because after looking at this season so far, the front office didn't help him much.
Maybe it would be their horrific bench play. I'll go with that. But this losing is getting old.
Luckily, the fans haven't turned on the team. Yet. Intelligent fans know this team would need time to bounce back and they are giving it to them. But I'm not too sure how much longer they will wait.
Follow Nick Mancini on Twitter @nickmance
TT has made the most remarkable improvement within 15-20 games I have ever seen in over 50 years of watching the NBA.
He has always had a good touch, and has always used both hands.
Now, he is going straight up, is not leaning forward, and is not aiming.
He is dominating highly-regarded young players, and outplaying veterans.
TT will still have off-games, and will encounter players he can't handle, but every player who has ever played so much as 3rd-grade basketball, knows there are some guys who just have your number for unknown reasons.
All in all, Tristan is one of the best young, big men in the NBA...and he's both improving and hard-working.
If KI was having acl issue, back issues then I would worry. Broken hand, broken face,etc are flukes.I like TT. He has proven to be what the scouting report said he could be. Big Motor and great work ethic. No reason he shouldn't continue to improve. I can still live without the wins. We are a year away from wanting wins. Next season we need to make the playoffs to battle test these guys. Pick up a stud in the draft and maybe sign a FA or trade for a player.Then the next year we start making noise in the playoffs and possible contend for a few years after that. This all assumes that KI remains KI, TT continues to develop, DWaiters develops his shot more, Zeller is steady eddy in his development, the new Rook can play, and we pick up some major talent in FA or trades.Its actually almost fun times for cavs basketball again.