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Your 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview; This Is The Year

(press play and start reading because every season preview needs accompanying music)

It’s that time of year again.  The beginning of the magical ride that is the NBA season.  Being that this is Cleveland, the beginning of a new season (whether it be Cavs, Indians, or Browns) usually means a time for blind hope that maybe enough balls bounce our way or enough miracle plays are made that we finish just over .500 and contend for a playoff spot.  Not this year. Not with this team.  As we’re all very familiar, LeBron James returned to Cleveland last offseason along with reinforcements.  As the season played out we saw him carry our team all the way to the NBA Finals.  We finished the year two wins away from the Championship that has eluded our city for so long. Now consider that we did that missing 40% of our starting lineup and two of our three All-Stars.  Nonetheless, our offseason started two games too soon.

This offseason was quite different than last years.  By comparison, it was quiet, it was calm.  The calm before this year’s storm.  This year’s Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be a force of nature that the league isn’t going to be ready for.  This year we’re coming in with expectations of rings, and trophies, and parades.  And dammit, I cannot wait!

With that being said, welcome to Bottlegate’s Cavs Season Preview, we’re going to cover: additions and departures, team depth, concerns (not many), predictions, and whatever else comes to mind as we go.  My advice for the post and the season. Enjoy the ride.  It’s gonna be fun.

 

Additions:

This offseason the Cavs added some new faces, some old faces and even a new, old face.  Joining the 2015-2015 team are Jared Cunningham, Richard Jefferson, Sasha Kaun, and Mo Williams (again).

Mo Williams: Great to see Mo back in Wine and Gold.  He fits perfectly into the backup point guard role we really needed last season.  For everything Delly gave us, (literally everything he was physically capable of) offensive efficiency was not one of them.  Mo Gotti proved he can still fill it up based on his 52 point explosion against the Pacers last season.  He’ll be reminding us of that all season and hopefully not just with the 52 on his jersey.  I expect solid production from him now that he’ll be our 5th or 6th scoring option instead of the 2nd fiddle he played to LeBron in his last stint in Cleveland.

Richard Jefferson: Never thought I’d see the day Richard Jefferson would don a Cavs uniform.  More than anything that’s because I thought he retired like three years ago but after further investigation I can confirm he didn’t.  As it turns out, RJ has kept himself in fantastic shape and has aged like a fine wine. He has dramatically improved his 3-point stroke over the years.  He shot 43% from three as a Dallas Maverick last year and also had one of the dunks of the year. No way was this an offensive foul!!!

Dick Jefferson (calling him Dick Jeff from now on) also showed he can still get up when he killed a guy on a dunk this preseason

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He’s going to give us WAY more than Shawn Marion ever did and will go a long way in allowing LeBron to log some minutes on the pine which will matter come playoff time.

Sasha Kaun: He’s 7-foot+, has been playing pro ball overseas since he left Kansas years ago, and he’s got some familiarity with David Blatt.  The last big man who joined the team with some familiarity with Blatt (Mozgov) has worked out pretty OK if you ask me.  Oh and he’s 7-foot.  Big step up from Brendan Haywood as the 5th big.

Jared Cunningham: When I saw we added Jared Cunningham to our training camp roster I recognized his name since we actually drafted him a couple years back.  He never put on a Cavs jersey since he was immediately traded as part of the Tyler Zeller deal though.  He was a total afterthought until I checked a preseason box score and saw he dropped 31 on somebody.  Yes, it’s only preseason but it got my attention and as I’ve kept my eye on the young guard I’ve like what I’ve seen. Was glad to see he made the roster in the 15th spot.  He won’t play much but I think he can hold his own if, god forbid, he ever needs to.

 

Departures:

Shawn Marion:  Still a mystery to me why he sucked all season last year.  I’ll blame the (phantom?) hip injury. He’s now retired.  Sadly Shawn, I won’t miss you too much.

Brendan Haywood: HAHAHAHA.  I have faster feet.

Mike Miller:  Mike couldn’t really shoot last year but he hustled and was a great role model for guys like Kyrie and Tristan. No one celebrated on the bench like Mike Miller. In a perfect world I’d love to have him on the team as an assistant coach kind of like Giambi was for the Indians during the Wild Card year… but I’d rather have a body who can play playoff minutes without hurting the team.

Kendrick Perkins: He will forever be a legend for this play. Miss you Perk.

 

Team Depth:

PG: Kyrie Irving, Mo Williams, Matthew Dellavedova, Jared Cunningham

SG: Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Joe Harris

SF: LeBron James, Richard Jefferson, James Jones

PF: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao

C: Timofey Mozgov, Sasha Kaun

When healthy, the Cavs might be the deepest team in the league.  Looking at the (unofficial) depth chart above I see 12, maybe 13 names I’m 100% comfortable playing at least 15 minutes a game.  That’s a HUGE step up from where we ended last season when we could only have 6 or 7 guys play during the Finals without allowing a 20 point run.  We’ll get to the “when healthy” part next, but I’m looking forward to seeing what Coach Blatt does with the lineups early in the season.  Sure I’d like to see us play our top 8 guys all year and go 73-9 and have the best regular season of all time, but not as much as I’d like us to play 13 deep into the bench all year and then go 16-0 in the playoffs with a healthy, fresh squad. My dream lineup I’m hoping we see a lot of is Kyrie, Mo, JR, LeBron, and K Love.  The firepower on the court with that lineup is such an embarrassment of riches it would make Scrooge McDuck blush. If we can keep the big three all below 33 minutes a night and still win 60% of our games and get a top 3 seed we’re going to be a nightmare for anyone we play come April, May, and most importantly June.

Concerns:

……………………uhhhh…..ummm….hang on……… sorry, writers block…………..

 

Ok seriously though, the one and only concern for this team and this season is what will hereon be referred to as the H-word. Health.  If we can stay H-word-y all season, it’s a wrap, might as well not even play the games.  Just give us the trophy. (Being a cocky Cavs fan is fun)  Seriously, how nice would that be though…. But in reality, we aren’t even going into the season unscathed.  We’re starting the year without Kyrie Irving as he recovers from his kneecap fracture in the Finals, and Iman “my daughter is also going to be named Iman” Shumpert. Sidenote, go look at the “Shumpman” Knicks highlight that the King of the Flattops posted on Instagram this week. GOOD GOD could he get up before he tore up his knee…  Missing two of our top 8 guys to start the season obviously isn’t ideal but I will say I’m happy that Delly will actually get to see the floor and log some minutes until Kyrie returns.  He deserves it after the Rudy-like performance he gave us in the playoffs.

I kind of look at Delly’s early season minutes like how Cardale got to come out and do his victory lap starting for the Buckeyes after he played his ass off for OSU and won a ‘ship last season.  Sure, we’re still going to win a lot of games with Delly getting minutes but things will really start humming when Kyrie gets back and runs the offense like JT now is for the Bucks.  Come to think of it, this year’s Buckeyes and Cavs have a lot in common but that’s probably a whole separate article for Mike to write next week or something or never at all.

 

Predictions:

  • Win Total: This is kind of a cop out but last year I got a little over excited and predicted the Cavaliers would win 64 games (64-18). We fell short of that number thanks to our terrible 20-21 start (thanks a lot Dion Waiters) but I’m going to let it ride and say 64 is the number again this year.
  • David Blatt wins Coach of the Year. After 41 games last year half the city (mostly just Kevin Kiley… idiot) was calling for Blatt to lose his job on a daily basis.  David Griffin slow played his hand and once Blatt got a healthy team and our new additions meshed he coached us on a streak that included finishing the season something like 27-5 and trip to the finals. With a full season under his belt (and knowing where the visiting locker rooms at all the arenas are without directions) I think he’s poised to lead this team to a #1 seed in the East and to possibly exceed the astronomical expectations that have been set for it.
  • The Cavs and Heat will meet in the playoffs. This is a series I THINK I want to see happen but I THINK it will also give me heartburn, indigestion, and sleep apnea (s/o Anthony Bennett). The Heat have a chance to be really good this year and although I don’t really see us losing the series it’ll be a lot more nerve-racking than we might like.

Rapid fire: LeBron will dunk, Kyrie will break ankles, Kevin Love will make 3s, Tristan will rebound, JR will JR, Mozgov will Mozgov, Shump will play defense, and Sasha Kaun will make you go “wow, he’s pretty ugly”.

  • Cavs win the NBA Finals defeating the San Antonio Spurs 4 games to 2.

https://instagram.com/p/3K7yOUNfBg/?taken-by=teamswish

 

Reasons the Cavs will win the NBA Finals:

Kevin Love’s body issue. So beautiful. The only way to improve that body is to see it holding a Larry O’Brien trophy.

You don’t take this picture unless you’re confident a championship is imminent

JR Smith’s pipe is monogamous. No really, JR Smith got engaged this offseason. Imagine how well he’s going to play when he’s focused on the game and not the dime in the 3rd row. He put a ring on her, and now the Cavs are going to put a ring on him.

Tristan Thompsons girlfriend. She’s going NOWHERE after that deal.  Now I know why he held out for that extra $2 mil. Definition of a championship girlfriend.

Anthony Bennett is skinny again.  This directly affects the Cavs exactly 0% but it’s hilarious to me and is basically a miracle so it has to mean something. Cavs in 4.

bennettskinny 

David Blatt LOVES Townhall.  If you want to meet Coach Blatt just spend two hours at Townhall on any Saturday. Doesn’t matter what two hours.  If you’re there, he’ll be there. And Townhall is definitely Championship food and beverage.

blatttownhall

Kyrie is a dad. Not just is Kyrie a dad, Kyrie is a dad with an absolute firebomb for a baby momma.  Kyrie isn’t going to let his first born come into this world without a championship ring to show him.

This guy deserves it

We’re going to close out this year’s Bottlegate Cavs Preview with a cry for action.  I’m going to be starting and leading a small but important movement here.  There is a certain player in the league that all of Cleveland should revile and despise.  He has a very annoying, not-really-as-cute-as-everyone-says daughter, he has the muscle definition of a 15 year old trumpet player, and makes an occasional three point shot from time to time.  He doesn’t go by his first name and uses his middle name, which is really a girl’s name. His shoe deal isn’t even with Nike.  And he supposedly plays point guard but wears the number 30.  For whatever reason, the media is trying to force him upon us but I for one will not have it!  Beginning today, I will not once refer to this player as “Steph Curry” for the duration of the season.  He will only be known as “number 30 for Golden State.” The only acceptable variation of this is “#30 for Golden State.”  I implore all of you to join me.

Go Cavs.

 

Go follow me on Twitter @ItsGONErain if you want to talk Cavs and/or Chipotle

The Browns May Make The Super Bowl, They May Not. A Super Quick 2015 Season Preview

And we’re back! Cleveland Browns football is here.

brownsscheduleW

After an interesting offseason we finally get to bitch about what the Browns are doing on the field, and not what’s happening off of it. Can the run defense improve upon their pitiful showing from last year? Will Josh McCown be serviceable? How will Danny Shelton look? Is the secondary as good as advertised? What about Johnny Manziel? Will he play? Kicking game? Can Cleveland improve upon their solid showing in the AFC North last season?

There are so many unanswered questions going into this season, no one has any idea what is going to happen. Could be fun.

We’ll go over the 3 phrases in Kyle Shanahan Powerpoint bulletpoint form (told you it was a quick preview)

Offense

  • Lack of playmakers
  • Quarterback needs to manage the game, not turn the ball over, and make timely throws. AKA the most cliche requirements ever. Basically, just don’t suck.
  • Good offensive line needs to be great
  • Breakout players: Taylor Gabriel, Isaiah Crowell
  • X-factor: Duuuuuke Johnson
  • Offensive MVP: Crowell

Gonna need a lot of this

I’m trying to not be pessimistic about the Browns offense this year so here we go: We have a good offensive line and our wide receivers will look good in the new jerseys. Other than that I just can’t get excited about the offensive outlook for this year. IF the running game can get going, it’ll be imperative to call a good gameplan for the quarterback and receivers. IF Josh McCown throws 30+ times a game we won’t win.

Defense

  • Supposed strength of the team
  • STRONG secondary
  • Run defense needs to improve from a year ago
  • Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
  • Breakout players: Chris Kirksey, Armonty Bryant
  • X-factor: Tramon Williams
  • Defensive MVP: Karlos Dansby

The defense will need to be the strong unit on this team. Kruger will need 10+ sacks. Our front seven will need to put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks so our DBs can sit back and ball out. The addition of Danny Shelton will undoubtedly help against the run but the jury is still out on the rush defense. I think Chris Kirksey will turn some heads this season. Hopefully our defenders can thrive in their 2nd year in Jim O’Neil’s defensive system.

Special teams

  • Unknown at kicker
  • Punter is a BEAST
  • Hopefully Benjamins return vs. Tampa Bay is a good sign of things to come

Andy Lee. Andy Lee. Andy Lee. Never been so excited about a punter in my life.

 

Season Outlook

  • The Browns
  • The Browns will go
  • The Browns will go 10-6.
  • The Browns will go 10-6. Sometime.
  • The Browns will go 10-6. Sometime. Maybe.
  • The Browns will go 10-6. Sometime. Maybe. In our lifetime.

Just like last year I see the Browns hanging around until the final weeks. They’ll be “in the hunt” and not mathematically eliminated until the end of the season. A lot of analysts and media types are predicting doom and gloom this season but I honestly just don’t see it. Barring any catastrophic injury to our elite players (Haden & Thomas) I think this team has a real chance to make the AFC North interesting. A LOT has to go our way to have any real shot at the playoffs but crazier things have happened, I think. And nothing says “confidence in your team” more than the quote “crazier things have happened.”

8-8.

 

 

 

 

 

Bottlegate’s Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview Pt. 3- Predictions and Gambling

Part 3 in our Cavs season preview. You can find part 1 Here and part 2 Here

humungotronbottlegate

 

Quick Hitters:

This team has 3 former three point shooting champions: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, James Jones. (4 if Ray Allen signs)

Kevin Love’s current playing weight is listed at 243lbs.  When he came into the league he was listed at 270.

I’m not gonna sugarcoat this, he was tubby

Quicken Loans Arena will have a new sound system, jumbotron, and projection system this season.  All three got installed in the two months between the Arena Bowl and season opener.  Dan Gilbert got the King’s castle in order in a hurry.

I’m counting down the days until the Cavs redesign their uniforms.  The current one’s were fine for the past four years because they SCREAM mediocrity. They are rolling out new blue ones for the opening so I’m hoping that is a sign of more change to come.

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The Cavs are one of 13 current NBA teams to have never won an NBA championship.

Kyrie bought former Cavalier Daniel Gibson’s house in Westlake.

Kevin Love has endorsement deals with Starter (okay, old school I can respect it) and 361 degrees (???) apparently it’s some Chinese shoe company.  C’mon Kev, you’re better than that.  They better be paying you a boatload of Yen.

Dion led the team in shots in 5 of the Cavs 7 preseason games.  He talked about wanting to be known as the Big 4 but Ball Hard better learn his role in a hurry once the games start to count.

Kyrie (3), Tristan (10), and Dion (15) were all top 15 players in ESPNs Class of 2010 Top 100.

 

Vegas, baby, Vegas

Cavs win total: Over/Under 58 ½

Are you serious Vegas? OVER. OVER. OVER.  I might just work until the day before the season, put my lifetime earnings on the over and take a sabbatical.

NBA MVP: Kevin Love 20/1

He’s not the favorite in Vegas (8th) but if you’re looking for a dark horse this has to be your guy.  Huge stats, great team is the recipe for MVP since day one.  LeBron already has four and should have six, but voters like to change it up.  Look for them to find another non-LeBron this year.

 

Season Predictions:

Record: 64-18 (#1 Seed in East)

I want to be a homer SO bad here and say fuck MJ’s Bulls we’re going 74-8 and we’ll be the greatest team of all time. But that won’t happen…. this year.  As good as the talent is we need time to mesh and you never know with the injury histories of these guys. We’ll still win more than 60 games with relative ease.  Let’s say Love has a high ankle sprain and misses 4 weeks.  Ok, we have Kyrie and LeBron… LeBron’s back acts up and he’s out for 6 games.  Ok, we still have Kyrie and Love.  You get the idea.

Bold prediction 1.): The Cavs will lose a game to the Heat this year.

This sucks but I think it’s true. I think the Cavs will lose to Miami on Christmas. Whatevs.  These games vs. the Heat will mean way more to Bosh and Wade than they will to LeBron.  Miami will play their asses off and steal one from us in the first half of the season.  The positives here are that Wade will miss the next 4-5 games after his arthritis flares up, Bosh will cry in the locker room because that’s what Bosh does, and if the game is in Miami only like 8,000 people will know the Heat won.

Bold prediction 2.): David Blatt is going to be fine.

Ok I don’t know how bold of a prediction this is considering my dog could wear a suit on the sideline and coach this team to 50 wins but bear with me.  Blatt is the first coach in NBA history to jump straight from Europe to a head coaching job in the NBA.  He’s also one of the most winning coaches in European basketball history and has won at every level he’s coached.  I kept hearing summer interviews and Blatt kept saying, and I paraphrase, “The biggest adjustment might be the number of timeouts.”  If this guy’s biggest issue is learning to use his timeouts the right way, let’s just plan the parade downtown right now.

Bold prediction 3.): The Cavs end Cleveland’s championship drought and win the NBA Finals.

Yes we’re the favorites on paper.  But we’re really not.  Cleveland has never not been the underdog.  I don’t care if we’re the ’92 dream team, if you’ve lived here you know you’ve got that little voice in the back of your head whispering scenarios where we don’t win anything. Injuries. Turmoil. Delonte bangs Gloria before game 7.  I know it’s ridiculous but OIC will haunt even the most optimist fans like myself.  Now I’m going to immediately contradict myself….  Plan. The. Fucking. Parade.  Call off work for all of June right now.  The drought it over(weezy).  Guys, this is the team.  This is going to happen.  Yell at me for jinxing it.  Knock on wood.  Do whatever makes you feel ok.  We are winning the NBA championship this year.  Game 5, in Cleveland, over…. the LA Clippers. I’ll be the guy crying tears of joy.

DJ Play me out!