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Vegas Win Total Projection: 59.5
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the early favorites to be the NBA champions. With all their finals team basically returning and the additions of Richard Jefferson and Mo Williams, the Cavaliers should cruise to the NBA Finals once again. Along with the additions, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and Anderson Varejao should all be healthy to begin the season, helping depth and hopefully creating more weapons for Lebron James. There is no question in my mind that they return to the Finals, its if they can beat the Western Conference in the championship that becomes my question. I think, if healthy, they have a good opportunity to do so, especially if they add a couple more guys to this roster (which has been rumored). Overall, I see this team winning 59-60 games, I think if Lebron has a chip on his shoulder from the finals as well as his MVP snub, they could win more.
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Two Words: LeBron James. He's obviously the MVP of this league for the past seven seasons or so, but hasn't gotten the award in all seven because the NBA wants to diversify the award and give other players the chance. I think he will be the highest fantasy player in the season. I see him as a guy who can get you a triple double in every 3 games or so. His efficiency went down last season, shooting 48% last season, while in 2013-14 shooting 56%, almost a 10% drop off. This season, I expect his field goal percentage to go up to 52-53% with a healthy team. This year, I have a feeling he will play a lot smarter than seasons past, as his athleticism will continue to drop off because of age. I think with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, you can spread the court and allow for Lebron to either distribute to them or create for himself. Last season, he played 69 games without going under 10 points and without playing less than 20 minutes a night. He had 45 games with five to nine assists, 15 games over 40 minutes, and three 40+ point nights. I've heard from others in the NBA, that he could be averaging a triple-double per game this season.
Although Mozgov performed well in the Playoffs and stood out, don't expect that to continue. The return of Anderson Varejao, Kevin Love, and the possibility of someone else coming in, pushes him down the depth chart. I still expect him to get some run, just nothing close to the finals and playoffs of last season. He's strong on the defensive end, makes free throws, and is a decent offensive player. His career he averages 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 block, while last season he was at 9.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. So he certainly exceeded his career numbers when you look at it compared to last season.
Even though he's been often injured off and on throughout his time as a Cav, I expect to see a rejuvenated Kevin Love. He could be a boom/bust guy for this Cavs team based on the ballcentric "big three" that the Cavaliers possess, but I think he is going into this season with a lot of doubters. Before Cleveland, he was averaging good numbers, a double-double almost every game. With Kyrie and Lebron, he's the only true front-court player of the three. I see Kevin Love move his numbers up from last season and become a 35 minute per night player. I expect to see him to shoot close to 45%, average 18 to 19 points, 4 assists, and 10 rebounds a game. That would be an improvement from last season in all catergories, that is why he is my gem.
The team is now in it's 2nd season with the "big three", I can expect to see them improve both offensively and defensively. I think their 13th best, 98.7 points allowed, decreases down to 97 points per game, making them the 8th-10th best team defensively. Offensively, I see the Cavaliers going from 8th to 6th, moving their point total to more like 104-105 points per game, from last seasons' 103.1 point total. The Cavaliers are clear cut favorites to be in the Finals and to win. I think we see a historic year from this team and I really like the roster they've assembled. I wouldn't be surprised to see them clear 62 or 63 wins this season.Resources: Vegasinsider.com
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