To say that there's an overall sense of uncertainty surrounding the Cavaliers this season is an understatement. I can't remember a time when projections for any team ranged as dramatically from one person or publication to the next as they do right now for the 2010-11 Cavs. I touched on some of this Sunday over at WFNY, but to that point, Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! has the Cavs winning 12 games this season. Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer has them winning 46. ESPN's J.A. Adande has Cleveland finishing 15th in the East, and Chris Broussard has them finishing 9th. Former Cavs beat writer turned Heat Index columnist Brian Windhorst's got them coming in at the 11 spot.
What I wonder though is what would people think about this Cavs roster if they could look at them in a vacuum. I understand LeBron left, and I understand he took MVP numbers out the door with him, that's pretty clear by now. Simple math says the Cavs will now score 30 less points a game, grab seven less boards, and facilitate fourteen less points for teammates on a nightly basis. Is it that simple though? In a lot of ways I suppose it is. The Cavs are certainly at least 15 to 20 games worse than they've been the last two seasons. Nobody's denying that. But I do think it stops there. I also think that different roles create different opportunities, and in this Byron Scott offense the Cavaliers will surprise some teams this season.
The Cavs will win 41 games this season: Throughout the offseason I've made this same prediction a few different times, on a few different websites, and nothing I've seen or heard throughout the preseason is changing that opinion. I think 41-41 is attainable. Beyond that, I also think 40 + wins will be the goal for the organization this season.
Much of the uncertainty lies in the questions about what will happen to the Cavs roster this season. Could Andy actually be dealt? Will the season be tanked in a quest for guys like Harrison Barnes? I can't pretend to know the answer on Andy, but I think I know Dan Gilbert's answer to the second question - no.
If I was coming from the same place Dan Gilbert is, I'd want to win as many games as possible this season to show anybody who cares to comment that you know who left a good roster behind and didn't make people as much better as some think he did. Might be immature, might be spiteful, but I'd honestly do the same thing. Sorry.I think it's also important for the Cavs as an oganization to stay as relevant as possible this season, and the only way to do that is to suprise some people and win as many games as possible. With the interest in the Cavaliers dwindling as it is based on this past summer's events, would anybody care at all about this team if they posted a 15-win season this year?