NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
The 2018-2019 NBA season tips-off this week and things will be a little different for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The back, to back, to back, to back, Eastern Conference Champions won't return to the NBA Finals for a fifth straight season. Center Tristan Thompson may not agree with it, but that's the reality the Cavaliers face for the upcoming season.
The loss of LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers via free agency will be tough to replace. The front office led by general manager Koby Altman is doing the best he can to keep the wine and gold competitive.
Power forward Kevin Love is now the face of the franchise. Love agreed to a multi-year contract extension over the summer. The move came as a bit of a shock since the deal happened following James' departure. It's hard to believe that Love is the player remaining in a wine and gold uniform from the trio of him, James and Kyrie Irving from 2014 through 2017.
First round pick Collin Sexton is the future of the franchise. The point guard from the University of Alabama will start the season as the backup to George Hill. Expect Sexton to be handed the reigns of the offense in the not to distant future.
The Cavaliers also complete a contract extension with the current kid from Akron on its roster, Larry Nance Junior. The power forward is expected to be one of the top rebounders and shot blockers for the wine and gold going forward.
Hill, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver will serve as veteran leaders and mentors top the young guys on the team along with Love.
The loss of James will be felt from a television perspective as well. Cleveland's lone national television broadcast is scheduled for November 21 on ESPN. Of course that's the night LeBron returns to Cleveland for his lone appearance at Quicken Loans Arena with his Los Angeles Lakers.
So with the changes now in place, how will the Cleveland Cavaliers do in the post James era part two? Las Vegas has the wine and gold at an over/under of 30.5 for win. I predict the Cavaliers will go over that number, but barely.
The 2018-2019 Cleveland Cavaliers will finish with a 32-50 record and miss the playoffs. It's not a complete tanking of the season. Management is better prepared to handle a James departure in 2018 than in 2010. The only question mark will be if the Cavaliers finish in the bottom ten record wise. Their 2019 first round pick depends on it.