3 reasons Cleveland Cavaliers can succeed without Kyrie Irving
Star point guard was traded to Boston Celtics
He’s a four-time NBA All Star participant, a former Rookie of the Year winner, an NBA Champion and an Olympic Gold Medal winner. But one title Kyrie Irving no longer holds is ‘Cleveland Cavaliers player’.
The star point guard was traded to the Boston Celtics this summer, much to the dismay of many Cavs fans. However, despite losing a key performer, there’s reason to believe they can still challenge Golden State Warriors…or any other franchise, for that matter.
Cavs haven’t done badly from the trade
There’s no doubt that Irving is better than any of the three Celtics players exchanged for his signature. ‘Kyriediculous’ was incredible from three-point range, near-perfect on free-throws and enjoyed an impressive blocks-per-game record during his time at Quicken Loans Arena.
However, the trio brought in from Boston offer the Cavs quality across the court. Isaiah Thomas is a solid and experienced option at point guard, while Jae Crowder offers strength and versatility. However, it’s the power and physique which arrives in the form of 7ft Croatian Ante Zizic, who has impressed greatly in Europe.
All the other key men have stayed
If Irving was one of several big-name exits, there would be serious concerns about the Cavs. But the Melbourne-born ace is the only departure at The Q.
That means three-time NBA Finals MVP LeBron James, captain Kevin Love and Kyle Korver all remain in Cleveland. With the latter – a January 2017 arrival – beginning to develop a good understanding with the Cavs’ other key men, that’s a huge plus.
Add the fact that head coach Tyronn Lue has also recruited new guys like Turkish prodigy Cedi Osman (small forward) and New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose, and the loss of Irving looks far from insurmountable.
Lue knows how to deliver success with this team
The Cavs roster has changed a fair bit since 2014, but one constant has been Lue. Initially assistant to David Blatt, Lue has been head coach since 2016, and knows how to get the absolute best out of the players at his disposal.
Take Channing Frye as an example. The power forward averaged 5.2 points per game at Orlando Magic in 2015-16. Fast forward to 2016-17 and he chalked up 8.9 PPG. That’s symptomatic of a wider trend throughout this side.
With the 40-year-old coach also recruiting superbly, from both NBA rivals and collegiate stars, it seems the Ohio side are far from a fading force.
Cleveland begin the NBA season by hosting Irving and the Celtics, with 3/5 for the Cavs to come out on top at The Q.
Meanwhile, the Cavs can be backed at 5/1 to win this season’s NBA Championship.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing