That statement is not as ridiculous as you may think.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: After having one or two players carry a squad that averaged a meager 21 wins over the last three years post-LeBron, they actually have a quality starting five with a bench that is at least three players deep. And, Mike Brown is back.
Kyrie Irving aka Uncle Drew is set to blow up. He is the league’s next supreme point guard.
Anderson Varejao is underrated based solely on his appearance. He’s averaged a double-double for three seasons in a row.
Dion Waiters, last year’s first round pick, had a solid rookie season and is a consistent scoring complement to Irving on the perimeter.
Tristian Thompson, Cleveland’s first rounder from two years ago, turned a corner last season, and missed out on averaging a double-double by half a rebound.
Until Andrew Bynum is healthy, Earl Clark (who is one of those players who seems like he’s been in the league for 10+ years even though he is only 25) will start in the middle.
Another guy who seems to have been around forever is CJ Miles, who quietly averaged 11.2 ppg in 21 mpg last season.
Jarrett Jack is a guy who has produced everywhere he has ever been, averaging 11 ppg and 4.4 apg in 612 NBA games. Whoa- that makes me feel old.
The x-factors are #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and center Andrew Bynum. Can Bennett be the next Larry Johnson? Can Bynum give the Cavs 20+ minutes per game?
Mike Brown has returned and more than that, his style of coaching fits this group of players. Cleveland isn’t going to score with the Golden State Warriors of the league on a nightly basis, but they will be consistent thanks to Brown’s focus on fundamentally sound basketball, with defense as the cornerstone.
Brown is probably the most disrespected NBA Coach of the Year ever. Sure he had LeBron, but what else did he have? As those supporting players have moved on to other teams and been exposed, it’s obvious Brown had nothing to work with outside of James. Laugh all you want about him, but he’s won 65% of the games he’s coached and made the playoffs every year, excluding his 5 game stint in LA last season.
I’m also not buying the hype about how good the Central Division will be this year.
D Rose is back, but the Bulls haven’t gotten better, just older.
The Pistons, whose roster has been peppered with inconsistent head cases for 10 years, and have been mediocre as a result, add Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.
Let’s see if the Pacers can handle the success of last year.
And the Bucks, well who cares about them?