In many ways, the first half of the Cleveland Cavaliers season has left us with more questions than answers. While there is still plenty of basketball to be played, it’s never too early, especially in Cleveland, to make some spirited speculations as to how the rest of the season will play out. Here are our five bold yet highly attainable predictions for the second half of the 2014-15 season.
1. Cavs Will Make One More Trade
Brendan Haywood’s contract, Delly’s inconsistency, and the cost of Joe Harris are all signs that a trade could happen with any or all of three of them. Factoring in their new depth of the wings as well as the likelihood of playing LeBron at backup point guard late in the season, it seems like Cleveland may not be done moving the pieces. We also have room for another player, an important asset to consider before the trade deadline. Nate Robinson, Tayshaun Prince, Jordan Farmar and Miles Plumlee, the eldest Plumlee who plays for the Phoenix Suns, are all reportedly being shopped. Any of these players would add depth outside and a huge boost in athleticism inside.
2. Cavs Will Sign Ray Allen
A deadline trade could also make room for a certain indecisive, semi-retired three-point shooting leader in the history of the NBA. The story already broke that LeBron is still recruiting Allen for the stretch run, and with how we’ve played since LeBron came back from vacation/rehab/protesting for a trade, it seems like a good landing spot for a veteran sharpshooter. Many expect this to happen, but Cavs fans won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t. It’s also very likely that Allen sees a lot of value in signing with a team in the East, as opposed to the potential first-round exit on any team in the West.
3. Cavs Will Earn the #4 Seed
And we should be fine with that. There is only one team in the East that should really put a scare in the Cavs and if the standings remain the way they are, the #4 seed would be perfect to avoid them. Cleveland would likely have home court against the Chicago Bulls or Toronto Raptors in the first round, which would make for a very interesting series. Cleveland seems poised to play their best basketball late in the year, and the additions of Mozgov, Shumpert and Smith will be most valuable against a team like Chicago.
4. Cavs Won’t Have To Face Wizards Till Conference Finals, If They Play At All
The Wizards should worry the Cavs and their fans more than any other team in the top half of the Eastern Conference. John Wall is running by almost everyone, Paul Pierce is still clutch, and their frontcourt trio of Marcin Gortat, Nene Hilario, and Kris Humphries would position the Cavs for a physical battle down low for Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov, and Tristan Thompson. Throw in Bradley Beal, an underrated athlete who is shooting the lights out of late, and there isn’t a glaring weakness to point to. Look for the Cavs to lock up the #4 seed, but also keep an eye on the standings to mix in some convenient rest for the Big Three in order to avoid Washington in the first and second rounds.
5. LeBron Will Get More Rest
A lot of people thought he had lost a step, that he wasn’t playing hard enough, or that he was too frustrated to play his own game. Then, LeBron got healthy. Since his return from the two-week hiatus to recover from nagging injuries, James’ stats haven’t changed much, but his style has. He is, as we expected at the beginning of the season, well above the rim again. He has been locked in on both ends of the court, setting up teammates for dunks and wide open threee-pointers while also playing great defense at the same time. Coach Blatt knows that as great as LeBron is, he is still human and needs to be kept fresh. That mean’s occasionally sitting on the first or second night of back-to-backs, especially on the road, depending on the matchups.