The 2010-11 season is right around the corner. No, it is like literally right around the corner. The preseason has started and we can finally stop conjecturing and start making sense of this summer of upheaval. The new season will be much different than the old. So let’s start thinking 2011 and all the hope and promise that comes with it.
Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog.com has organized the NBA Blog Preview, consisting of all the best basketball blogs across the Internet, to help everyone get ready. The Magic will be coming up sooner rather than later and the season will be around the corner. I will be trying to keep up and give a Magic-centered look at each team being previewed.
Last Year: 61-21, Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals
Last Year vs. Magic: Lost 102-93 in Orlando (11/11); Lost 115-106 in Cleveland (2/11); Won 101-95 in Orlando (2/21); Won 98-92 in Cleveland (4/11)
This Year vs. Magic: Nov. 26 in Orlando (7 p.m.); Dec. 28 in Cleveland (7 p.m.); Jan. 30 in Orlando (6 p.m.); March 21 in Cleveland (7 p.m.)
Magic Connection: Anthony Parker (Player, 1999-2000); Assistant Coach Chris Jent (Coach, 2004-05); Assistant Coach Paul Pressey (2000-04)
Cleveland had the biggest loss of any team in the offseason. And it left a gaping big hole in the side of the franchise. If The Decision had ripples throughout the NBA, it had no bigger ripple outside of Miami than Cleveland. The Cavaliers went from one of the best teams in the league to possibly one of the worst. Or at least hardest to predict.
Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams, two former All Stars, are still around and Cleveland did a good job bringing in some young players to begin the healing and rebuilding process. JJ Hickson had his moments last year on a veteran-laden roster and has been impressive early this season. Ramon Sessions is also a nice addition to the team.
There are plenty of chances for this team to surprise.
But nothing may be more important the acquisition Cleveland made to the bench. The ultimate rebirth and renewal of this team relies upon new head coach Byron Scott.
Scott was known for his fast-paced offense and his ability to get younger players to fill in around veterans. the previews above lament the firing of Mike Brown may have come a year too late as Scott seems like the perfect coach that would have sped up the CaveBrons and unleashed an even better and offensive efficient LeBron James on the league. That obviously did not happen.
Instead Scott takes over a young team eager to learn and trying to hold on to the fresh taste of winning that LeBron left behind. How he molds and shapes the talent on this team can ultimately determine whether Cleveland will be a potential playoff team or the worst team in the NBA. Both are distinct possibilities.
Life without LeBron is going to be tough.
How the Cavaliers will beat the Magic: The Cavaliers will not be a fast break at all points team like the Knicks, the Suns or the Warriors, but they will be pushing the pace for sure. What Scott does have to work with is a lot of guys who know how to create offense. Jamison and Williams are decent one on one players and will be the feature of the offense. Sessions is a decent shooter and can get in the paint as well.
Of course I used decent a lot in that last sentence. This is still a pretty big reclamation project and there are going to be a lot of hiccups on the road for Cleveland. The best thing the Cavaliers can do is play hard and attack the basket to keep Orlando off balance in this matchup.
How the Magic will beat the Cavaliers: Depth and talent should do it. Dwight Howard gave Cleveland problems even when LeBron James was on the roster, now without him there does not appear to be anyone on the roster who can force him to commit fouls and there is still no one who can stop him defensively. This is a very young team with not a lot of offensive options.
Orlando should have no problem dispatching Cleveland as long as Orlando plays hard and executes.