The Cleveland Cavaliers have won two out of their four preseason games this year, with both wins coming against the Boston Celtics.
As the Cavs prepare to play the Toronto Raptors for their season-opener on Oct. 17, there is some general excitement on how the Cavs will fare this season, given LeBron James‘ departure over the summer.
Overall expectations for the Cavs are quite nebulous, with some saying the team will underachieve while others say the exact opposite. However, there is no denying the fact that the Cavs — in addition to Kevin Love — have young and talented pieces on the roster who may very well shine this season.
With that being said, here are four bold predictions for the Cavaliers this season.
1. Collin Sexton Will Win Rookie of the Year
From the moment he was drafted, Sexton has shown a pitbull-like mentality: this overt desire to dominate on the basketball court. His jump shot has been consistent throughout the preseason so far, which already dispels some of the concerns that were expressed by critics. But Sexton has the mindset, skills, and work ethic to bag home top rookie honors.
After all, he’s called “Young Bull” for a reason.
2. Kevin Love Get Back to His Minnesota Numbers
During his first four years with the Cavaliers, Kevin Love‘s stat lines dipped significantly from his years with the Minnesota Timberwolves, largely due to playing alongside and adjusting to James and Kyrie Irving. Most notably, his scoring and rebounding averages took a hit, as he was often made a scapegoat during rough stretches of the season.
Love was a walking double-double during his days with the Wolves; look for him to return to greater prominence as he becomes the centerpiece of the Cavs offense.
3. Cedi Osman Will Win Most Improved Player
I wrote in a previous article that it should not be a far-fetched idea to envision Cedi Osman as a future Manu Ginobili. Osman had a highly productive offseason, playing for the Turkish national team and shining in NBA Summer League.
And James is known to extend invitations to those whose work ethic he respects and potential he believes in, as evidenced by his invitation to former Cavs guard Jordan McRae a few summers ago. Look for Osman to have a breakout year this season as he becomes a more comfortable scorer and playmaker.
4. Cavs Will Finish With Top-5 Record in East
In the wake of James’ decision to depart Cleveland, pundits and analysts immediately jumped to conclusions and said all was over for the Cavs. Now that the regular season is upon us, the narrative seems to have shifted a bit. The Cavaliers should be in much better shape than some initially thought.
Throughout their preseason games so far, the Cavs have demonstrated superior ball movement, frequent rotations, and a commitment to fostering solid team chemistry. These are all good signs, and should they be supplemented with the fast development of the young players on the team, the Cavs should have a successful year and finish with a top-five record in the East.
To put it simply: the Cavs will surprise (and shock) many this season.