Are you really so sure of that? Yes, they don't have as much top end talent, and top end talent often is the most important thing, but it doesn't always work that way. Irving and James weren't a great fit offensively as they are both incredibly ball dominant offensive players and their offense would often just be a your turn/my turn type of offense, which generally didn't yield the best results, especially for the other players on the team. Obviously, there will be times when not having Irving's ability to create a shot out of nothing will be a problem for the Cavs, but I wouldn't be so sure the team this year won't end up being better than the Cavs team from last year. They have a much more cohesive unit, have a much younger and more athletic bench that not only has better shooters, but also much better defenders. Remember the Cavs bench in the playoffs last year was Kyle Korver, Richard Jefferson, Deron Williams, and Iman Shumpert with guys like Derrick Williams, Dahntay Jones, Channing Frye, and James Jones playing here and there. You don't necessarily win playoff series with your bench, but you can certainly lose them. And for as great as Irving is, he was -32 against the Warriors in the 5 games, while James was -7. The Cavs will only be as good as James, and I wouldn't bet against the current group being a better fit with James and thus making James even better.
Cavs have improved a lot since the trade, in part because it has re-energized Lebron, and who can blame him.
I really like their second unit. Always liked Clarkson and Nance. Hood was a steal. GM of the year just on this trade alone.
GM of the year?! This might have re-energized Lebron (for who knows how long - don't forget the Cavs had a 13 game win streak earlier in the year), but that award usually goes to a GM who has a noticeably better team than the previous year. I think we can all objectively say that is not the case.
Koby Altman may have moved up from [literally] last place on the list, but look no further than our own Danny Ainge if you are looking for front runners for the award.
Yeah, the Kyrie trade counts in his annual evaluation. The Cavs are worse now than they were last year.
I’m sure of it, yes.
The Cavs cruised into the Finals at 12-1 in the East last year. Replacing Kyrie’s 26 ppg will be easier said than done.
I don't think it will be as hard as you think as the Cavs just weren't a balanced scoring team, especially in the playoffs, with Lebron at 33, Irving at 26, and Love at 17, after that they had Thompson and Smith at just over 8 and Korver at just below 6.
I'd expect Love to go up into the low 20's, picking up 3 or 4 ppg pretty easily (and his 16.8 was on just 12.1 shots, so he was efficient just not enough shots). I would expect Hood, Clarkson, and Hill to all be over 10 a game and Smith might very well be as well. Korver will likely see a boost and Nance and Thompson collectively will be well above 8. This current team is going to be able to spread the wealth around a lot more and won't be so reliant on James or Irving playing the ISO ball they did so well for 3 years.
EDIT: What is odd is the Cavs would currently play the exact same 3 teams if the playoffs started today and their opponent wasn't upset along the way. They would play Boston in the ECS and Toronto in the ECF, so a reverse of last year, but Indiana is currently their round 1 opponent just like last year. I doubt they make it through with only 1 loss, but I honestly don't see Indiana challenging them at all and without Hayward don't think Boston is more than a 5 or 6 game series. Toronto is a lot better than last year, but I still don't see them beating a Lebron James led team in the playoffs. Let's say that is 6 games with Cleveland clinching at home.