When LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach, the Cleveland Cavaliers were left in shambles. There was not much talent – part of the reason James elected to leave – and the team could do little to compete in the NBA.
Three seasons later, the Cavaliers are now in a place where they feel they can compete. They have had the time to make top draft picks and allow them to mature.
This is the season fans have been waiting for and things begin in Cleveland at 7:00 PM tonight.The centerpiece, Kyrie Irving, is in his third season. He has shown the potential to be one of the best point guards in the league and now finds himself with more talent than he has seen since his days at Duke.
Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, other first-round draft picks for Cleveland, have demonstrated an ability to play at this level. Cavalier fans are hoping they are ready to take the next step from young talents with potential to solid NBA players.
The Cavs have added free agent talent in Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack, and and Earl Clark. There are question marks with each player, but they potentially allow for more depth and talent than the Cavaliers have seen in quite some time.
The rookies this season are promising as well. Cleveland made Anthony Bennett the number-one overall pick in last summer's NBA Draft. They also signed their other two picks Sergey Karasev and Carrick Felix. Rookies are always tough to predict, but the coaching staff has been happy with what they have seen thus far.
The other big-name addition is head coach Mike Brown, who returns for his second stint as the Cavaliers' head coach. Brown brings a defensive-first mentality to Cleveland that has been missing since his and James' departure.
The young players have shown offensive ability, but Brown will make them focus on the defensive end first and foremost.
Tonight marks the first preseason game for this team. Though preseason basketball does not bring the excitement of the regular-season opener for most teams, this will not be the case in Cleveland.
Cavalier fans are excited about their team and are looking forward to see how they do together on the court in game action for the first time.
Of course, the entire team will not be available tonight. Bynum is still recovering from the knee injury that kept him out all of last season, Alonzo Gee is doubtful with a hamstring issue, and second-year Tyler Zeller may miss the preseason due to a hip strain.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the pieces fall in the first action of the year.
Tonight's opponent, the Milwaukee Bucks, also have a revamped roster.
Those in attendance at Quicken Loans Arena will likely get to see Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo, and Caron Butler suit up for the Bucks for the first time.
They say preseason results are not important, but good performances from this young Cavalier team will help them go a long way to starting off successfully come the games that matter.
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