Cleveland Cavaliers, the reigning NBA champions, have the odds stacked against them this coming season as many analysts are already ruling out their chances of repeating as champions.
While Las Vegas oddsmakers are convinced that Golden State Warriors, who added former MVP Kevin Durant this offseason, are hands-down favorites, NBA insiders and analysts feel LeBron James’ team are no match for the Oakland-based franchise.
The only consensus seems to be that Warriors and Cavaliers will meet for a third consecutive time in the NBA finals – something which has never happened in the league’s history.
According to these panel of ESPN insiders, the Cavaliers are major underdogs against the Warrors, especially in the aftermath of losing Matthew Dellavedova (to free agency) and Mo Williams (who retired).
The Cavs are also still to re-sign starting shooting guard J.R. Smith, who played an integral role during the finals in June.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Out of the race?
It’s wise to rule out the Cavs since LeBron James has shown the ability to up his game during the postseason.
However, one mustn’t forget that the Warriors were up 3-1 in the Finals until a suspension to Draymond Green, besides injuries to Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut helped the Cavs bounce back.
Initially, analysts felt that Durant would take some time to adjust to the Warriors’ offensive schemes.
However, Durant seems to have fit in nicely as the Warriors are playing excellent basketball during the ongoing preseason.
Incidentally, Durant said earlier this week that Warriors’ meltdown during June’s finals was the primary reason for him to take his talents to the Bay Area.
“As they (Warriors) lost (in the finals), it (the possibility of joining them) became more and more real every day,” said the 2013-14 MVP.
“You start to think about it even more. To see if I would fit. Then once I sat down with these guys, everything that I wanted to know about them, they kinda showed me.
“But we don’t have to talk about (what would have happened if GSW won the championship), because they didn’t get the job done, and they came after me,” added Durant.
For a second consecutive year, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will clash during the Dec. 25 Christmas special game.
In many people’s eyes, the Cavs-Warriors rivalry is the new Lakers-Celtics feud.