Ben Taylor


The NBA season is right around the corner, which means that it’s the right time for some perfectly safe, well-reasoned claims about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ chances this season. But first, let’s start with a bold claim.

The Cavs will go 82-0 this season.

While you stand there in aghast bewilderment wondering how someone with a propensity for making such dubious and obviously nepotistic (they’re like a family to me) claims concerning the fate of his most-beloved teams could ever wind up as a sports editor (a question that is worth more than a mild amount of consideration, I do agree), let me defend the veracity of the assertion. Granted, it is predicated upon little more than homerism (n. of or relating to being an ardent supporter of one’s favorite sports team, believing the  best outcome will result, irrespective of facts to the contrary), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t find some mediocre reasons for it.

First, Kyrie Irving is really, really good. ESPN currently has him ranked seventh overall in their fantasy projections for the upcoming season, noting that “The book on Irving is pretty simple: The PG will be a superstar as soon as he can make it through a season in one piece.” Clairvoyant Ben (a role that is admittedly very similar to that of “Clairvoyant Bill” taken on by Bill Simmons, — who erroneously has the Cavaliers ranked as only the 21st-best team in the league — but, if we’re being honest, all of this is heavily influenced by analysis anyway) is making the prediction that this will be the year Kyrie stays healthy. I have no grounds for this claim other than hopeful thinking and a wish I made on a shooting star sometime last week. Let’s hope it’s enough.

Second, it just feels like it’s time for Cleveland to succeed at something. The movie-filming industry has picked up of late, the aquarium is still pretty awesome and kind of new, the Indians made the playoffs, the Browns still look like they could go a solid 12-4 this season (especially after that killer game against Green Bay) and reports that October has been the most cloud-free month out of the last 12 in the Cleveland area. Basically, things are picking up for Cleveland.

Third, the average height of the current Cavaliers roster is about three-quarters of an inch less than that of the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls team that had a 72-10 record. When adjusting for the NBA’s recent dearth in legitimate size and accounting for the fact that the roster currently has a number of players who will not be on it by the time the regular season rolls around, it’s safe to assume that the current Cavaliers roster is proportionally larger than the Chicago Bulls roster from their record-breaking season. On its own, this is not much of a reason. However, combined with the first two reasons, it seems to be a legitimate justification for why the Cavs will go 82-0.

These three causes are the foundation for essentially the totality of my argument concerning why Cleveland is going to have unprecedented positive results this season: Irving and Divine Providence (the assumption being that things could not have been going this well overall for Cleveland [and that the players could not have been as proportionally tall as they are] without some sort of supernatural intervention).

These reasons seem like a mildly weak basis for asserting the perfection of the Cavaliers’ season, but, even assuming arguendo that the Cavs don’t go 82-0, there’s still a decent chance that they’ll do pretty well. Kyrie Irving is very good, Andrew Bynum should be a solid contribution to the team, Anthony Bennett might be half-decent, Tristan Thompson has put up good numbers so far in the preseason and Waiters and Varejão are Waiters and Varejão. (Also, Bill Simmons thinks that the Cavs might flip the two of them to LA for Pau Gasol, which would probably be pretty sick.) Overall, it looks like sunny days are ahead for Cleveland Cavaliers basketball. While they may not go 82-0, playoffs from a low seed and a nice little run of a series or two is not unrealistic.

As always in Cleveland, we can only hope for the best.