For Cavaliers’ fans, last season led to a question of “what if?”
What if Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving had been healthy through the playoffs and into the Finals? What if the threesome found a more comfortable groove earlier in the season? Would the drought have ended?
LeBron James is thinking the same thing, based on this Instagram post from Sunday night.
When Irving, Love and LeBron were on the court together last season (1,441 minutes), they outscored opponents by 13.6 points per 48 minutes. After the All-Star break, they were +14.7 and did that mostly with a defensive rating of 99.2 (points per 100 possessions). For the season, the trio had an offensive rating of 113.5 points per 100 possessions when paired, which was 5.8 per 100 better than the team average and 3.7 per 100 better than the best offense in the NBA for the season (the Clippers).
LeBron is right to be excited — they should be better this season.
If they can stay healthy, if David Blatt can use the increased depth on the roster to keep that trio rested, the Cavaliers are the team to beat. And not just in the East.
After months-long negotiations and various reports that he was on the verge of coming over, the Cavs have finally signed Russian center Sasha Kaun to a contract, according to David Pick. Kaun was the 56th pick of the 2008 draft after playing four years of college ball at Kansas.
Kaun probably won’t play much in Cleveland. They’re pretty crowded up front between Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson (assuming he re-signs) and Anderson Varejao (if he stays healthy). But he’s 30 years old, so this the time to make the jump from Europe to the NBA if he’s ever going to.
How good is Andrew Wiggins? So good that a few days ago, the Timberwolves’ official PR account posted a tweet drawing attention to the anniversary of their trade for him, despite that trade involving Minnesota giving up a consensus top-1o player in Kevin Love.
Wiggins was outstanding in his rookie season for the Timberwolves, winning Rookie of the Year and establishing himself as a cornerstone of a young core in Minnesota that looks to be competitive for a long time. And his teammate Ricky Rubio thinks that’s just the beginning, according to an interview with Rappler.com:
“I think Wiggins is going to be an MVP one day,” said Rubio, who missed a large chunk of last season due to a severely sprained ankle injury.
“He’s a great player, [has] fit in this league very well since day one, and I think as a team we’re really young but we’re adding some veterans that’s going to help us to grow up and follow where we’re going to go – going to make the playoffs.”
As crazy as that sounds now, Rubio might not be wrong. But it’s still a ways off, and the field is crowded. It’s going to be several more years before LeBron James and Kevin Durant stop playing at an MVP level, and Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis are just entering their primes. But Wiggins is only 20 years old and already showing star potential. If he and Karl-Anthony Towns keep developing and the Wolves become a playoff contender in a few years, it’s not hard to see him pushing himself into that conversation.