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NBA Team Previews: #18 Cleveland Cavaliers

18) Cleveland Cavaliers - 24-58 in the 2012-2013 season. 13th in the East. 5th in the Central.

Things are looking up in the city of Cleveland. Kyrie Irving is developing into a star Point Guard, the other young players in Dion Waiters and Tristian Thompson are starting to catch a groove, and now a new group of players get their chance to make their stand. Andrew Bynum looks to rejuvenate his career while #1 pick in the draft Anthony Bennett looks to begin his with a bang. This team has a lot of youth, and a lot to prove.

Acquired: Jarrett Jack, Andrew Bynum, Earl Clark

Drafted: Anthony Bennett (#1), Sergey Karasev (#19), Carrick Felix (#33)

Lost: Marreese Speights, Omri Casspi, Wayne Ellington, Shaun Livingston

Depth Chart:

Starters: Kyrie Irving (PG), Dion Waiters (SG), Earl Clark (SF), Tristian Thompson (PF), Andrew Bynum (C)

Bench: Anderson Varejao (C), Anthony Bennett (SF), Jarrett Jack (PG), Alonzo Gee (SF), CJ Miles (SF)

Team Stock:

Up: Anthony Bennett - Things have to be good when you're the #1 pick in the draft. In one of the most shocking #1 picks ever, the Cavs took a risk by taking UNLV Forward Anthony Bennett to help this team produce. While he might not even start on the team, he's going to be given a huge role on a young team, and given plenty of opportunities to produce on the Cavs, who could be a sleeper for a playoff spot in the weak east.

Down: Andrew Bynum - It's tough to watch Bynum's career. After being dealt to Philly in the Dwight-to-LA deal, the injury bug has completely plagued him, and now is coming into a year that could be considered one of his last chances to revive his career. After being considered the #2 Center in the league only a couple years ago, now his career might be on life support. Cleveland is a good fit, yet we'll see if Bynum can get his game back on track.

X-Factor: Kyrie Irving: The new face of Cleveland in all of sports is Kyrie Irving. The #1 pick in the 2011 Draft turned out to be one of the best Point Guards in the league in just two years. Stealing fans hearts with his last second shots and insane dribble moves, Irving is a star in the making. The Cavs are going after Lebron big time, and when he thinks about if he should join Cleveland, then he's gonna be looking at Irving. Pressure on Kyrie to help court Lebron back to his hometown. Wait a second...

Question to Ponder...What if they learn early on Lebron isn't coming to Cleveland?

The Cavs have been one of the teams on the "Lebron watch" for his upcoming Free Agency, and the team has a big hole at that SF position, assuming they might be "winking" at Lebron to fill that void. Yet if this team learns Lebron is not returning to the Cavs, where do they go? They have young assets, but they will need more if they want to contend for a title without "The King". They could look for other options at SF, like Rudy Gay or even possibly Luol Deng from Chicago, but it's a hole that needs to be filled whether it be by Lebron or someone else. 

Bold Prediction for the Cleveland Cavaliers: Tristian Thompson averages 15 Points Per Game + 10 Rebounds Per Game this year!

This guy is bound for a big year. Drafted #4 by the Cavs in 2011 along with Kyrie, Thompson has slowly but surely filled the role at PF and proven he's a productive piece. Yeah, Varejao's injuries have halted him putting up even bigger numbers on this team. Now that there are multiple options at Center, I like the outlook for him. He was close to these numbers last year, yet he's going to pull it off and help the Cavs make the postseason. Watch out for Thompson in the Most Improve Player votes too. He's gonna impress this year.

Projected Record: 38-44 8th in the East, 3rd in the Central.

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