Friday, October 31, 2008

Game has gotten easier for LeBron

Had a chance to go back and watch several opening-night games that I'd Tivo'd, including the Cavs-Celtics game, which BOS won.

Despite the loss, CLE should have a great season. They have a dominant superstar in LeBron; they have outstanding rebounding; and they have great team speed, especially when they play James at the 4-spot along with Varejao at center, Gibson and Mo Williams. With this lineup they can play "small ball" and really spread out the defense.

When they go big -- with Ilgauskas (at the 5), Varejao (4), James (3) and two guards -- they're equally tough to stop.

So it really comes down to "who" and "how" -- who plays and how do they play on a given night.

Bad news for defenders: LeBron has really improved in pick-N-roll situations. The game has become so easy for him. He doesn't get enough credit for how well he moves without the ball.

Gibson's a perfect third guard with great quickness, solid defense, and the ability to hit the the 3-ball.

The big difference for Cavs this year as opposed to last season is how they get out of the blocks. Last season, CLE didn't start the year with Pavlovic and Varejao, and James was slowed some by injuries. And they still won 45 games. It's likely they would've won 10-12 more if they'd had an injury-free start to the season.

As for coaching, Mike Brown is an excellent X's and O's coach with the right temperment and personality for an NBA coach. And CLE's front office has done a great job putting together a versatile roster with almost no holes.