After months of speculation, hear say, and rumors, the Cleveland Cavs and Minnesota Timberwolves have finally agreed to terms to exchange number one picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett for Kevin Love.
While this instantly give the Cavs one the most talented rosters in the league with the best player on the planet, top five point guard, and arguably the best power forward, there are still plenty of questions to be answered before the city of Cleveland starts planning a parade down Superior road.
The Cavs are no doubt the front runners of the Eastern Conference, however they are not without flaw and competition. The Chicago Bulls with a healthy Derrick Rose and adding Pau Gasol will be a dangerous team that will cause havoc for many front lines in the league. The Bulls have the potential to give the Cavs headaches with the combination of Joakim Noah and Gasol compared against Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, and Love. Defensively you would give the nod to the Bulls, Love hasn’t proven to be a defensive stall-wort despite his rebounding prowess and while Thompson is decent, he’s still developing as young big. Varejao will be dependable if he’s healthy, but as you get older you don’t get healthier, which if the Cavs suffer an injury to the oft injured Love or Varejao as Dolla Bill from Playa’s Club would say, there’s gonna be ‘trouble, trouble’.
The Bulls aren’t the only team that could derail the fairy tale ending for the Cavs, the Washington Wizards, and Miami Heat will also be formidable opponents. The Wizards with John Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene, Marcin Gortat as their core made it to the second round last year and with that experience might give them a leg up over some the Cavs young talent. The Wizards also added Paul Pierce which gives them a guy who has made big shots and can give that team confidence needed when adversity comes. Not to mention, they now have most ‘old man game’ players on their team with Pierce and Andre Miller. The only hinderance with the Wizards is their coach, Randy Wittman.
And finally the Miami Heat, reigning Eastern Conference Champions. Resigned Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh and acquired Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger and Luol Deng. Those five guys in a more balanced Eastern Conference can get you to .500 and if their role players can provide much assistant for a depleted Wade they could win close to 50 games. The Heat won’t be as dead as some would like to proclaim. Chris Bosh will now be the number one guy and should flourish considering he’s added the 3 point shot to his game over the last few years. Never forget in Toronto he averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds a game. With LeBron gone he’ll have more room and more shots to operate with. The biggest questions is going to be how long can Wade hold up. Can he play every other day when it comes time to the playoffs? Will his knee allow him to guard his position effectively and not be a defensive liability? History would tell us no from last year, but ego and motivation do wonders for the aged and hurt athlete, which he will have plenty of.
The Cavs as it stands today are my pick to win the Eastern Conference, but they are not perfect. Outside of finding some more big men, another question I have is, who is their back up point guard? Who’s the guy that’s going to run the second team? Obvious choice would be Dion Waiters however, it’s rumored he wants to start, and while he could reek havoc as a sixth man reference James Harden in Oklahoma City, he doesn’t seem to want that role. The Los Angeles Lakers in 2003-2004 that they had all the answers until their big 4 ran into the Detroit Pistons, the 2013-2014 Miami Heat were poised to win their third championship until the San Antonio Spurs went NBA Jame the arcade version from the 3 point line. Let’s not be so quick to schedule the ring ceremony, this process may take a little longer. While the pieces to the puzzle are on the table, they still have to be properly arranged into a cohesive picture.