The King returns, but will Cleveland become royalty?


By Laith Rashdan, The Flyer Staff

LeBron James has come home. King James, the man child from Akron who grew up to be arguably one of the best players in basketball history, decided to leave the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Was it a good decision? Are the Cleveland Cavaliers the 2015 NBA champions?

First of all, it was great decision. How can you go wrong choosing to go back home? The Cleveland Cavaliers already had a lot of young talent before LeBron decided to join them. Now that he’s in Cleveland, he’ll be able to teach the young players like Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and even Kyrie Irving, two-time all-star and 2012 Rookie of the Year.

The Cavaliers also traded Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins (No. 1 draft picks for Cleveland in 2013 and 2014, respectively) to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love, a three-time all-star who can shoot the lights out from three and rebound better than most players in the NBA. Even if the Love trade hadn’t happened, the Cavaliers would still be a contender. But the Kevin Love addition makes them even better.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were busy in the free agency period this summer signing two key veterans.

Shawn Marion, a four-time all-star, isn’t necessarily a great offensive player but is a great defender. Marion adds size and defense to the Cavaliers roster. They also signed Mike Miller, a three-point specialist who will be great for the Cavs when they need someone to spark the offense off the bench.

With what has transpired this offseason, the Cavaliers will have a great chance at getting back to the NBA Finals for the first time in 8 years.

There really isn’t much competition in the Eastern Conference other than the Chicago Bulls, who only have a legitimate chance at knocking off the Cavs if Derrick Rose, point guard and 2011 MVP, can remain healthy for a season. The Washington Wizards have a great young backcourt in Bradley Beal and John Wall but are not deep or experienced enough to contend with the Cavs or Bulls.

Moving on to the Western Conference, several teams could give the Cavaliers a run for their money if they were to make it to the NBA Finals.

The San Antonio Spurs, the 2014 NBA champions, are always at the top of the Western Conference. But don’t overlook the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have Kevin Durant, the 2014 MVP, and Russell Westbrook, an extremely athletic point guard who is one of the best players in the NBA when healthy.

Two other possible contenders in the West are the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors. They both have lots of talent, but never seem to have enough in them to make it to the Western Conference Finals.

So will the Cavs make it to the 2015 NBA Finals? I think the Cleveland Cavaliers will most likely make it to the Finals due to the lack of competition in the East. I can see the Chicago Bulls possibly taking the Cavaliers to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals, but in the end Cleveland’s talent will be too much for the Bulls.

Are the Cavaliers the 2015 NBA champions?

Sorry, Cavs fans, but I can’t see it this year. I think it will take them a long time to gel all their of talent together. The West has a handful of great teams that are deeper and have more experience than the Cavaliers at this point.

My prediction is the Spurs will represent the West and knock off the Cavaliers in an exciting 7-game NBA Finals.