Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs’ breakout player will be…

Cedi Osman. Collin Sexton is another prime candidate, but Osman feels primed to thrive in John Beilein’s motion offense. He’s a good, if not very good passer, an improving shooter and a player whose creativity and flair should be on display in an offense that is designed to allow players to be creative and make stand-out plays. After a rookie year were he was a bit player on a Finals team and a sophomore year that asked too much of him, this is going to Osman’s breakout campaign. It’s good timing too, as he’s due a new contract next year.

It all goes wrong if…

Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and the other veterans don’t mesh with the young core. Right now, Koby Altman is balancing a roster that has some good older players (Love should be an All-Star this year) and young players who need time. There is some unavoidable tension in a roster that is built that way, especially with so many players on expiring contracts and looking to earn a new deal next summer. It’s up to Altman and new coach John Beilein to manage that, and if they can’t, things could become needlessly uncomfortable. A pivot has to come for the Cavs, but it has to come on their terms.

What we’ll be saying about the Cavs at the end of the season…

The Cavs are on the right path and building something interesting. The group will still be looking for its head piece, but under John Beilein and with a cache of assets for Koby Altman to work with, Cleveland will be a team on the rise. It’s unclear who it will be, but at least two of Cedi Osman, Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. will prove to be future foundation pieces. For the first time in a long time, the Cavs will be competent without LeBron.

Final prediction

Oddsmakers set the Cavs’ over-under at 23.5 wins this season. This isn’t going to be a good team, but I think they should be just slightly better than that. In the 2019-20 season, the Cavs will struggle on defense, and have a roster that is going to change at some point during the season. But by virtue of playing the weaker conference, they’ll be good enough to eek out 25-ish wins.. It’ll be a slight step forward and another high first round pick as they look to the 2020-21 season.

Final prediction: 24-58

Chris Manning (@cwmwrites)