#7 – The Cleveland Cavaliers

No, this isn’t me being salty about the Knicks blowing a couple double digit leads in Cleveland on Wednesday and giving up what could have been another early-season dagger in the Q (or, as my friend put it, the Cavs deciding to start playing basketball after halftime). It’s really more that I know exactly who these guys are. They’re going to be missing people for the first couple months, they’re going to be sitting people down the stretch, and they are absolutely not going to be playing for the regular season.

Look, I love the mustaches. I love Lebron ripping the sleeves and Shumpert trading the gumby for the anglerfish and the fact that the arena pipes in the Godfather refrain every time Mo Gotti hits a three. Come to think of it, I just love these guys. They’re definitely too low here at 7.

Hmmm, wellll when I was originally making these rankings in the lead-up to the summer, I had visions of a team that would definitely try its best to coast through the regular season. I didn’t have confidence that head coach David Blatt would be able to use Kevin Love any more creatively than last year’s hang out behind the arc, never in any team instagram pics (lolz @ Mozgov) version. I was also more than a little worried that this team would struggle to pass the ball, seeing as they would be missing significant time from Uncle Drew (if you haven’t seen it by now, for shame) and because Lebron “Mr. Invincible Himself” James seemed more than a little mortal, receiving injections in his back before the season to treat some soreness.

Yeah, no. He looks pretty good to me. And the rest of the team looks pretty damn good around him too. Mo Williams is an absolute godsend at a little more than $2 million/year and looked great pushing the ball down the floor and firing away from 3. After a nightmare offseason of contract negotiating, which got just about as tiresome as deflategate nonsense, Tristan Thompson is a stud coming off the bench in a third big role (at one point in that game the announcers mentioned that its rare to see another Cavalier get a defensive rebound while Thompson is on the floor) and James Jones continues to defy age or reason as he continues to knock down three balls and give this team one more “Champ”-type locker room leader.

See, I had really expected injuries and rest to derail what everyone thought would be a guaranteed Eastern Conference 1st seed in the playoffs. It’s never really mattered to Lebron; no one is old enough to remember the last time he failed to make the finals, and I assumed a Washington or Toronto would get hot and win games in the high 50s while the Cavs kept their focus on a bigger prize. But hot damn, this team is locked in.

Again, this is going to be a team that I cannot wait to root for in the playoffs (giving the fact that my Knicks will most likely sadly end their season in April). I’ve always had a soft spot for Lebron and Cleveland sports, and I’d love to experience the narrative of him bringing that city their first title in over 50 years. The only thing I didn’t consider is that this team might be damn fun to watch in the regular season as well.

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