|2009-10 Team Rating|
|4th Overall||7th Overall|
2009-10 Season Stats
J.J. Hickson will get minutes beyond his wildest dreams. But when you lose the two-time defending MVP and two former All-Star centers (Shaquille O'Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas), you are on the brink of failure with a capital F.
Ramon Sessions can score and create for himself, which was what Delonte West used to do, except with way too much off-court drama. Boobie Gibson should re-emerge but mostly by default.
No Mike Brown anymore as head coach. No LeBron James to scowl and push teammates after a defensive lapse. No Shaq or Z to clog the middle. Antawn Jamison vs. legit power forwards? Mo Williams vs. dribble-penetration?
If Jamison comes off the bench, he might be a Sixth Man candidate. Leon Powe should get the most serious run of his career.
Byron Scott accepted the job just days before LeBron James bailed. The less-bad news is that Scott won't be facing any urgency to win and anything good the Cavs produce will be viewed as a bonus.
This team was built around James. Now he's gone. That's like shopping for all the ingredients to a pumpkin pie and, once home, realizing you forgot to pick up the future Jack O'Lantern. He's the King as cornerstone in a house of cards. You don't just remove him, insert Jamario Moon or Jawad Williams at small forward and call it good.
Few teams in NBA history ever had as much sympathy from fans and even opposing managements and staffers as the Cavaliers. They might even embrace the underdog role. But that won't do them much good on game nights, when rivals won't want to lose to the de-LeBron-ed former contenders. As for Cleveland's talk about playing an up-tempo game, let's remember that it's easy to say that in August and September. It's much harder to stick with that plan in November and December -- especially when you're taking the ball out of the bottom of your own net.
-- Steve Aschburner
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||D+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C|
|Los Angeles Lakers||A|
|New Jersey Nets||B|
|New Orleans Hornets||C|
|New York Knicks||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B|
|San Antonio Spurs||B+|