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ESPN Offers Projection on Cleveland Cavaliers’ Playoff Chances
- Updated: August 3, 2018
When the Cleveland Cavaliers take the court for the 2018-19 NBA season, there will be a gaping absence in their starting lineup due to the departure of LeBron James in free agency. In the opinion of ESPN, that hole will be enough to turn the Cavaliers from a team that has reached the last four NBA Finals into a unit that will miss next year’s postseason entirely.
While the media giant doesn’t specifically note that the Cavs will miss out on the playoffs, their omission from the predicted matchups makes it clear that little is expected from head coach Tyronn Lue‘s revamped team. For one thing, James last season had what many considered to be an MVP-caliber season and has helped his teams reach the Finals over each of the last eight seasons.
Another added fact is that in the four seasons that James played in Cleveland after returning from Miami, the team managed a miserable 4-23 record in games he missed. Adding fuel to that argument is the fact that the Cavs will enter the upcoming season having lost their last 11 games in that dubious category. Finally, the Cavaliers’ collapse after James left in 2010 will also be cited for such reasoning.
However, in contrast to that disastrous year, the Cavaliers are better equipped to withstand such a devastating blow. With Kevin Love signed to a long-term deal and standout rookie Collin Sexton poised to see plenty of action, the outlook is much brighter than the trainwreck that took place eight years ago. Whether that translates into a playoff team remains to be seen, but ruling the Cavaliers out of the competition more than two months before the season even starts seems right now to be a rash decision.