With the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2015-16 season on the cusp of beginning, one veteran Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist is projecting a 53-win season that will match last season’s victory total, and a season that will once again end in defeat in the NBA Finals.
Terry Pluto, who once served as the beat writer for the team during his days with the Akron Beacon Journal, stated that the multiple injuries they’re currently dealing with would be the main issue that holds back the team during the regular season.
Pluto pointed out that when things tip off in Chicago on Tuesday night, both starting guards Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert, will be on the sidelines due to either injuries or rehabilitation. Neither is expected to return before January.
Of course, perhaps the biggest issue is the status of LeBron James’ back. He recently received an anti-inflammatory shot for his ailing back, with head coach David Blatt undoubtedly reluctant to play James too much in the early going.
In attempting to determine what it will take for the Cavaliers to win, Pluto cites Love’s need to expand his offensive game, and that J.R. Smith must stay focused on defense and rein in any self-destructive impulses that he’s shown in the past.
Finally, Pluto states that Varejao needs to stay healthy after battling though injuries for most of the last five seasons.
The path to the NBA Finals will be more difficult for the Cavs according to Pluto, and reluctantly adds that they will come up short again.