It’s official: Kevin Love is out for 4-6 weeks after it was thought he could return in 2-3 weeks. GM David Griffin said it’s “highly unlikely” that Love returns for the playoffs, despite the 4-6 week diagnosis that could have him return for the NBA Finals. With Love out for the remainder of the season and also J.R. Smith out for the next two games, here are the six guys who HAVE to step up their game in order for the Cavs to have a chance at an NBA Championship:
6. James Jones / 5. Mike Miller
James Jones and Mike Miller are likely to see some playing time at the two and three spots as LeBron James will likely play the power forward spot. Jones has gotten consistent playing time this season and made an impact spreading the floor, but Miller has been mostly an afterthought most of the season with the Cavs acquiring J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. Miller and Jones will need to do a lot of this is the Cavs are to advance further into the playoffs.
Click “Next” below for the number four player who needs to step up for the Cavs to make a championship run!
4. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie has been an absolute beast all season and especially all series long. He has struggled with consistency, but Irving is a scorer, and the Cavs will need his scoring and dishing to be at his all-time high if they’re to make a run at a championship this season without the services of Kevin Love.
Click “Next” below for the number three player who needs to step up for the Cavs to make a championship run!
3. J.R. Smith
Smith made a bonehead move in striking Crowder in the face. He apologized for the incident after the game, but the damage was already done as Smith is now serving a two-game suspension that will be served during the first two home games of the second round. When Smith does make his return, he’ll have to be the absolute offensive force from his Sixth Man Campaign with the Knicks.
Click “Next” below for the number two player who needs to step up for the Cavs to make a championship run!
2. Iman Shumpert
Shumpert is projected to start for the Cavs with Smith serving his two-game suspension to open the Cavs second round playoff series against either Chicago or Milwaukee. Sure, Cleveland’s depth gets a little thinner, but Shumpert plays the same game that Smith does as a lockdown defender and floor spacer. He can even put the ball on the floor and play some point guard for the Cavs. Although he’ll be returning to the bench for Game 3, his value will still be high as the Cavs need Shumpert’s activity defensively and shooting offensively to keep defenses honest.
Click “Next” below for the number one player who needs to step up for the Cavs to make a championship run!
1. Tristan Thompson
Thompson will be the most important player for the Cavs over the next month and a half. It seems Kevin Love will miss the remainder of the playoffs, and Thompson’s role as rebounder will have to expand to rebounder, scorer, and defensive presence as the Cavs will need his absolute best if they’re to have any chance at winning a championship this season.