Blogtable: Concerns for the Cavaliers

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Questions for the Cavs | The scoring champ | Utah, Orlando or Sacramento?

VIDEO: Sekou Smith takes a quick look at the 2014-15 Cavaliers

> Outside of injury, what do you see as the biggest concern for the Cavs, something that might not work as anticipated? Could it keep Cleveland from the East finals?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comMy biggest Cav-eat, so to speak, pertains to their size. Anderson Varejao has been prone to breakdowns, Brendan Haywood is 34, Kevin Love is outside half the time and everyone else is 6-foot-9 or shorter. But Miami overcame a similar “bigs” problem in the paint and I think Cleveland will, too. If Chicago figures out how to stay healthy and fresh for the postseason, maybe that trips up the Cavs. Otherwise, LeBron James will play in his fifth consecutive Finals.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comDefense. All indications from the preseason are the Cavs have plenty of offensive firepower. But the question is whether they can stop opponents, especially in the fourth quarter. I expect that to be a running theme throughout the season.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comWithout getting too technical here, defense has to be at the top of the list, right? Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love haven’t exactly stamped their careers as being stoppers. Anderson Varejao needs to stay healthy for interior protection (sorry, you said, outside of injury). Yes, if the Cavs turn out to be a porous defensive squad and make LeBron run all over the place, it could keep them out of the East finals — that is if they’re playing the Bulls in the second round.

Scott Howard-Cooper, Just the obvious: It takes time. Grand success doesn’t always happen right away. Ask 2010-11 LeBron, the first season in Miami. The Cavaliers have some (not all) unselfish players and experience and talent, but there will be a transition period with so many new people and a new system with the coach. Maybe that transition period will be a couple months. Maybe it will be the season.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comDefense is clearly concern No. 1. Their offense is going to be ridiculous, with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James attacking and plenty of guys to place the floor. But their best offensive lineups – James at the four and Kevin Love at the five – aren’t going to be great defensive lineups. And their interior defenders – Brendan Haywood and Anderson Varejao – have each had problems staying healthy. That’s not keeping them from the conference finals, though.

Sekou Smith, If we’re excluding injury and the Chicago Bulls, I’d argue the Cavs have all of the human resources to get to wherever they are aiming to go this season. Still, there are chemistry concerns for this group headlined by LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving that still bother me just days away from the start of the regular season. The sacrifices that will have to be made by not only the marquee stars but also role players like Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and others should not be overlooked. This is a five-man game and the Cavs need to make sure they have the right five to ride through the regular season and into the postseason. Any glitch in that chemistry matrix could derail the championship plans.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blogDefense. Obviously there are a lot of moving parts and stuff to figure out for the Cavaliers this season, but I think the offense is the least of their worries. Worst case scenario, you put Kyrie on one wing and LeBron on the other and let them go one-on-one against their defenders, with Kevin Love grabbing rebounds. But defense is the one place where they can’t just get by on talent. They don’t have a rim protector, and other than LeBron, none of their starters are really known for his defensive ability. Time will tell if they’re able to implement a system where they’re able to cover for each other. A defensive deficiency may not matter in terms of escaping the Eastern Conference, but when you’re facing a team like San Antonio without a strong defense in place … well, I think we all saw how that can go.


  1. Mario White says:

    There will be a good chance that the cavs could win it all this season. What I am worried about is the defense, which needs improvements. The offense will be top notch. Just make the defensive improvement, then the cavs will be raising up that glorious trophy

  2. dustydreamnz says:

    Defence, chemistry and rookie coach. It’s hard to see them winning the title and it’s incredible that they’re faves with my bookie. I would take the Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, Grizzlies, Warriors, Bulls, Wizards and Raptors in front of them. I have the Cavs 4th in the East.

  3. CraigSagerSwag says:

    The Cavs are going to be just fine the talent around lebron is better then every and lebron was carrying the heat, wade was on the down, irving and love right now much better then bosh and wade right now, and the three point shooting is everywhere just take ur pick, and Lebron, what can i say the ultimate team leader just brings out the best and raises everbodys game to another level, this team will go through the east and they will have a good chance to beat the spurs. Every team will have up and downs in the regular season but playoff time right now lebron is that guy!!!

  4. theholyspectator says:

    at the end of the day i feel that in an 82 game season, it should give cavs enough time to figure out things on the defensive end and make it to the finals…chicago will only go as far as drose goes. where as the cavs, they got 3 guys who can take over games easily. easier to shut down 1 weapon vs 3. cavs will make it to the finals, wont be an easy trip but theyll be playing the spurs who will ultimately win their 6th title, going to be a great season tho!

  5. Ttkin says:

    If CLE loses, itll be Kobe’s fault. Seems to be the theme of the week right?

  6. randomguy says:

    Chemistry and a rookie coach are probably their two biggest concerns. Sure, the defense is questionable, especially since their second best defender (Varejao) has struggled with injuries the last few seasons. However, three stars learning to work together is a much bigger challenge, especially since this wasn’t a pre-planned gathering like the Heat’s Big Three. Kyrie will have to learn to stop ball-hogging and play off ball. Love will have to adjust to being the third option after being the big dog in Minesota. Lebron will continue being Lebron, but he faces a lot of issues with his team-mates (the whole Waiters/Irving drama, the complete lack of playoff experience from any of his co-stars).

    Meanwhile, Blatt is a rookie coach. Sure, he has been the best coach in Europe for a while, but the nba plays different from either Euroleague or international ball. There are differences in rules, in talent level etc. He’s going to have to adjust, and he wasn’t exactly known as a great defensive coach in Europe either. The offense can pretty much handle itself, but if he can’t get his team to play good defense, Western Conference teams could slice and dice them up even worse than the Spurs did last year.

  7. harriethehawk says:

    Kyrie Irving’s health.

  8. lacolem1 says:

    Yeah, these defensive ‘concerns’ are vastly overstated, imo.

  9. Kirby Record says:

    It’s defense obviously. But that will depend on coaching to minimize deficits in player skills. But the other teams, even good defensive ones, will have their hands full. This team has younger, healthier and better support for Lebron than Miami ever did. Wade was still great but often injured or hampered and not as great as he was even a few years before Jame came. And Bosh was Bosh–great at times but seldom in the clutch. Cavs have a better supporting cast around the THREE than the Heat did too and they have a real point guard. Spurs played great last year in the finals no doubt–but I’m not as over the top on them as many are. They will be challenged all year from an improved, Mavs, improved, Clips, and an improved Warriors. And OKC when Durant returns and Portland are still there.

  10. Gary says:

    I agree with Sekou the most. Chemistry will be the biggest issue to overcome. Once the season starts and guys start to see what their real minutes and touches will look like it can make or break the team. I don’t see defense being a big issue with the guys they have, it’s mainly about the system. Not everyone on your team has to be a great defender for your system to be effective.