|2013-14 Team Rating|
|25th Overall||18th Overall|
Stats Through Jan. 20
Obviously Andrew Bynum was a bust, but turned into Luol Deng. Anderson Varejao remains a workhorse and Tristan Thompson is close to averaging a double-double.
Kyrie Irving remains a rising star, but a souring relationship with Dion Waiters has been distracting, which is more on Waiters. He's taken over as sixth man with C.J. Miles starting.
Considering the offense has been putrid, a middling defense won't get the job done. Cavs allow 102.0 ppg while having played 27 games against the East where only three teams average 100 ppg.
Waiters is shooting 40.4 percent overall, Jarrett Jack hasn't had the same pop he provided the Warriors and No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett has been a no-show, averaging 2.4 ppg in 10.4 mpg.
Mike Brown's return has been bumpy. Instant chemistry issues were disappointing, as well as a terribly inconsistent offense: Scored 117 in win at Denver, then 97 at home in loss to Dallas.
What a nightmarish season in Cleveland, a team many forecasted as a playoff contender. Ah, and so they are. That's right, despite the negativity emanating from a poor first half, the Cavaliers are fortunate to play in the Eastern Conference. They are only a couple games out of a playoff spot, so a little hot streak can suddenly put them in the top eight.
The pieces now seem to be in place to find a level of consistency. Deng should help at both ends and especially defensively where he can lock up on the opponent's top scorer on most nights. The Cavs must fare better within the East. They were just 9-18 against conference foes, a record they'll need to flip (or better) to, first, get into the playoffs and, second, to avoid Indiana and Miami in the first round.
-- Jeff Caplan
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||A-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||D|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||D|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||A|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|