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Biggest Preseason Statements Proven Wrong

Ken Blaze | USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers had a lot of question marks ahead when they tipped off their 2014-15 regular season. Sure, LeBron James made his epic return and the Cavs got Kevin Love, but would it be enough? We’ve found the biggest preseason criticisms and questions the Cavs were getting about their play at the start of the season and how they’ve proven the doubters wrong, starting with number five:

5. Can the Cavaliers defend at an elite Championship level?

To begin the season, the Cavaliers truly struggled due to their team chemistry, learning the tendencies of all their new teammates. On top of that, starting the season Anderson Varejao was the starting center. Andy is a Cavs fan favorite and will be for the rest of his life, but the guy isn’t a rim protector, he’s the energizer bunny in disguise. On any given night, Andy can rack up 10-20 rebounds, but he’s not blocking many shots.

As horrible as it may sound, Varejao tearing his Achilles was a blessing in disguise. It forced David Griffin’s hand, he had to go out and make changes, now. The Cavs were a bad defensive team before the trades were made to bring in J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timofey Mozgov while ousting ball-dominant Dion Waiters, and although Cleveland still isn’t the best defensive team in the league, it has been a world of difference.

Mozgov has been the biggest difference in protecting the rim, but outside perimeter helpers like Smith and Shumpert have made the defensive rotation better. If you can limit the three-point shots going up uncontested, you certainly give your team a better chance at winning. In a league where the last four remaining teams in the Hawks, Cavs, Warriors, and Rockets are all tops in three-pointers made per game, that defense will be key.

The Cavaliers may not have performed at that elite level defensively, but hey, to win 53 games you gotta be doing something right, right?

Click “Next” below for the fourth criticism the Cavs proved wrong!

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