Many experts are picking the Cavaliers to win the NBA title. That’s a good thing for Cavalier fans.
On the other hand, many experts are picking a Cleveland team to win the NBA title. That’s never a good thing for Cleveland fans. Or people making predictions.
Remember 1987? Young Indians outfielders Cory Snyder and Joe Carter on the cover of Sports Illustrated? The headline, “Indian Uprising: Believe It! Cleveland Is The Best Team in the American League”? Sure you do. You probably remember the Tribe was actually the WORST team in the American League that season, finishing with 101 losses. Snyder and Carter got theirs, combining for 65 homers and 188 RBI, but the pitching staff posted a 5.28 ERA. Not a single pitcher won 10 games.
Remember Browns training camp last season? Fans were chanting “Super Bowl! Super Bowl!” as camp opened. Sure, they were just Browns fans, but league officials thought enough of the Browns to give them three Monday Night Football games. Oops! The Browns are still falling off a cliff and looking for a branch to grab onto.
Remember back to the beginning of baseball season? The Indians were a popular World Series pick. For some reason. No one can really remember them now after the Indians posted their worst record since 1991. Something to do with Kerry Wood and a lot of left-handed slop throwers.
The track record’s just not there for picking a Cleveland team to win it all. Heck, the track record’s just not there for a Cleveland team to win it all. Don’t pick one, and you can fell pretty safe.
With all that in mind, here are 10 reasons NOT to pick the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the NBA title this season:
1) SHAQ IS FAT
— ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons is correct when he writes that Shaquille O’Neal is fat, although he tempers it by saying he doesn’t look THAT fat. Not Shawn Kemp fat. But Shaq is definitely bigger than he was last season. At 38, that’s not a good thing. Heck, it’s not good at 28.
2) DELONTE IS NUTS
— Before last season shooting guard Delonte West admitted he suffered from depression. Then he went out and played the best season of his career and provided the Cavs with stellar defense. So far this summer he’s already a) filmed himself sitting in his car and freestyling for 20 minutes while waiting for KFC to put “hot sauce in my bag”, b) been pulled over alongside a Maryland highway while carrying three guns on his three-wheel motorcycle, and c) had his wife file a domestic-violence charge against him. The Cavs signed Anthony Carter and Jamario Moon for defensive depth, but reason 1B for signing them might have been as Delonte West insurance.
3) MO IS NOT CONFIDENT
— After turning in a dismal performance during the Eastern Conference Finals last season (down 1½ ppg, down 12% in field-goal shooting, down 6% in 3-point shooting, down in rebounds, down in assists … well, you get the idea), it’s important for point guard Mo Williams to get off to a good start this year. It might not immediately erase the memories of last season’s finish, but it would certainly restore his confidence. With Shaq as a new option on offense and LeBron James playing more in the post, Mo might be asked to do more passing and less scoring. It remains to be seen how the new wrinkles affect his state of mind.
4) VINCE IS CONTENT
— Vince Carter joined the defending champion Orlando Magic, replacing Hedo Turkoglu. Now, while Carter has never led any of his team’s anywhere, he’s also never played with as many good players as the Magic have. With Dwight Howard manning the middle, Jameer Nelson holding down point-guard duties, and Rashard Lewis launching 3s galore, Carter will be free to do what he does best, score. For his career, Carter’s averaged 23.5 points per game. Turkoglu averaged 19.8 points per game at his best, and that was two years ago. And he was never known as a premier defender.
5) MIKE IS STILL OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED
— Much of the credit for last year’s offensive output went to former assistant John Kuester, who now coaches the Detroit Pistons. Cavs head coach Mike Brown named Kuester the de facto offensive coordinator, and the Cavs went from 96.4 ppg on 43.8% shooting to 100.3 ppg on 46.8% shooting. It marked the first time the Cavs broke 100 ppg since the 1993-94 season of Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Hot Rod Williams, and Larry Nance. With a lot of new faces but without his offensive coach, Mike Brown needs to find a way to keep the Cavs scoring at 2008-09 levels.
6) CLEVELAND IS HATED BY GOD
— Isn’t this obvious? After all, there’s a blog dedicated to it and everything.