Just minutes after Golden State Warriors won the 2015 NBA Championship, bookmakers in Las Vegas gave the Cleveland Cavaliers 5-2 odds to win the 2016 title.
Obviously, the fact that Cleveland lost the 2015 Finals (4-2) to the Warriors didn’t have any bearing on their prediction, since LeBron James’ squad was missing two key all-stars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Earlier this week, NBA.com released an annual GM survey which revealed that 53.6 percent of the voters picked Cleveland to hoist the trophy next June.
But all these predictions are irrelevant, according to second-year coach David Blatt. “All the predictions and prognostications, it doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Blatt said after Thursday’s practice session. “Right now we are not as of yet a full team, so it’s hard for me to tell you what we are. I know what I think we can be and certainly we can be a contender, but beyond that today? I don’t think we got the right to talk too, too much about more than that. We’ll take it one day at a time.”
Blatt wants his Cavaliers to make day-to-day progress rather than think about next June. “We’re not even talking about that right now,” he said of the high expectations surrounding this team. “We’re talking about how we can get everybody on the same page, get all our players back, work hard and try to make day-to-day progress. That’s very far down the line and what we’re really concerned with is just becoming a good team right now.”
With LeBron James missing the last few preseason games, there have been concerns surrounding the health of the four-time league MVP. “We’re being very conscientious and cautious with him (LeBron) in terms of his feeling. He’s fine and he’s going to be fine, but we’re just going slowly and carefully with him. He’ll be out there very soon.”
LeBron is expected to play the season opener against Chicago Bulls on October 27.