Sep. 26, 2016
Who will be the Cavaliers biggest threat in the East?
The Cavaliers ended Cleveland’s 68-year-old professional sports title drought last season with their first championship in franchise history. In the postseason there was not a lot of competition in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers only losing two games both to the Toronto Raptors.
Even though the Cavaliers have not changed, much of the rest of the NBA has changed, especially the east. The Boston Celtics are the most improved team coming into the season and should give the Cavaliers some competition in the east.
The Boston Celtics are one of the up and coming teams in NBA right now. They have a lot of good young talent that includes guard Avery Bradley (15.2 points per game in 2015-2016) and forward Jae Crowder (14.2 PPG).
The Celtics also made a huge splash in the free agent market, signing center Al Horford (15.2 PPG and 7.3 rebounds per game in 2016).
Last season, the Celtics did not get much production from their big men. Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and Tyler Zeller were the three players that played the most minutes at center, and no one had over double digit rebounds per game or over 10 PPG. This is why the Celtics signed Horford and drafted a lot of big men. If Horford and the other draft picks are able to fill the Celtic hole down low, then they will have a dangerous team.
With all the talent that the Cavaliers have and how well they played in the playoffs, it is hard to see them not representing the east in the NBA Finals this year. However, if any team can beat them in the East it will be the Celtics. Their mix of young talent at guard and new players to help down low will make them a top team in the year.
The Cavaliers do not have much of a scoring threat down low. Kevin Love (14.7 ppg) is their main threat down low going into the season. Other than love, the Cavaliers have, power forward Channing Frye (6.7 PPG) and center Tristan Thompson (6.7 PPG) who can give a good defensive presence but are not an offense threat.
Even if the Celtics are not able to knock off the Cavaliers this season, look for the Celtics to keep improving as their young talent continues to develop. It might not be too soon before they are the new team to beat in the East.