Wishful thinking

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Raffy Ledesma

Raffy Ledesma

Everybody expected the Cleveland Cavaliers to come back strong this season after falling short in the 2015 NBA Finals. Expectedly, the Cavs are holding on to the top seed in the weak Eastern Conference with 3 games remaining in the regular season. However, the Cavs don’t look like a champion team and look vulnerable with a myriad of issues facing them. Here are the 5 reasons why the Cavs won’t win their first NBA championship:

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1) Chemistry—Despite pronouncements that the team is peaking at the right moment, it is obvious that the Big Three experiment of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving is not working as planned. Kevin Love’s fit in the team is still under question after nearly two years of playing together. This has shown in his diminishing role and production. Irving, meanwhile, is a shoot-first guard with below average defensive abilities. The Big Three has so much talent but they are unlikely to get past the Western Conference.

2) Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs—Remember the defending champions? The Warriors (69-9) and the Spurs (65-12) are the favorites to win it all. Barring any injuries, the Cavs would need to win against one of these two teams to grab the title. The Warriors have gotten more experienced and they are almost unbeatable in their home­court. The Spurs, meanwhile, have gotten better and deeper than ever before. I don’t see how the Cavaliers can win against these top-tier teams whose main philosophy is teamwork, teamwork, and more teamwork.

3) Depth—The Cavs do not have any dependable bench players that they can call depend on. Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, and Matthew Dellavedova simply won’t cut it in the playoffs. The Cavs simply don’t have the manpower to slug it out with other teams. With the Big Three taking most of the salary, the Cavs have not been able to lure players with the hopes of winning championships. I recall last year that the Cavs were beset by injuries which is the main reason they lost to Golden State. Their top players play too many minutes.

4) James is King No More— LeBron James is no longer the best player on the planet. That title belongs to reigning MVP Steph Curry. At 31 years old, James has more miles than most since he started playing in the NBA when he was only 18 years old, straight out of high school. Gone are the days when he could carry a team on his own. James is still a great player but he is about to enter a period of decline due to age.

5) Defense—There is an oft-repeated saying the defense wins championships and Cleveland is definitely lacking. Love is a great defensive rebounder but is not even a good rim protector. The same goes for center Tristan Thompson. Irving, meanwhile, doesn’t know the meaning of the word. So there, it will really be wishful thinking to expect the Cavs to win the title this year.
raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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