June 8th, 2018. The end of an era. “The Return of LeBron”, “The Good Years”, “Wow the Cavs don’t suck this year” and so many other quotes and titles are associated with LeBron’s second act with the 216. Since returning to Cleveland in the summer of 2014, LeBron led the entire franchise into Eastern conference domination and a trip to the Finals four years in a row. But now “Ohio’s Greatest Son” has left his home and caused an explosion. For a few weeks, management and the fan base alike were in confusion. Yes, everybody saw it coming but when the report, “LeBron James signs 4-year deal with Los Angeles Lakers” came through, us Clevelanders could not accept the realization that he was actually gone. It took a few weeks for us to accept the fact that he had left…again, and most of the people did not see a future for the beloved Cavs where they even make the playoffs. A good number of Cavs fans still believe that they will be mediocre, maybe 20-30 wins. Well, I’m here to tell you otherwise.
June 21st, 2018. The beginning of an era. Collin “Young Bull” Sexton was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 8th Overall Pick. Most definitely, one of the better draft choices the Cavalier organization has made in the past 48 years of existence. Already, the selection is on par with the 2011 selection of Kyrie Irving and of course the 2003 selection of LeBron James. Sexton sizes up against most guards being listed at 6’2″ and 183 pounds (NBA.com). He has this raw sense of the world, basketball, and the human body. Going viral for trash-talking NBA Legend Penny Hardaway during a high school basketball game, saying that his son is “trash” and going hard at his team. Dropping 40 points while playing 3v5 in the final 10 minutes of Alabama versus Minnesota. “Young Bull” has made many a stirring and is ready to lead the new wave of Cavs ballplayers. His court vision, ferocity, and dribble drive game are unparalleled among his fellow rookies. Great things will come from the new floor general.
The young talent will be a central piece of this organization now and in the future. 8 players are at the age of 25 and under, 5 of which are returning players and without the ball dominant LeBron James to control every aspect of the game, these young players will have the opportunity to develop into playoff-caliber players. Cedi Osman, the “Jedi”, will serve as an excellent wing player this year, after backing up LeBron James he now has a year under his belt and is ready to be the 3 and D player the Cavaliers need. The name “Larry Nance” means a lot around Northeast Ohio but for the son of the Cavs legend to be playing where his dad made a career has sparked a lot of excitement. Nance Jr. brings a low-post presence on both ends of the floor, facilitates the pick and roll, and is essentially the dominant big for the Cavs. Guard Jordan Clarkson will be able to serve as the distributor and spot up shooter providing energy off the bench. New additions David Nwaba and Sam Dekker will provide even more energy and hard-nosed basketball, adding depth to this new look team.
As always the Cavs will have their prized veterans George Hill and Kyle Korver spreading the floor. With newly extended power forward Kevin Love, big man Tristian Thompson, and a member of the 2016 Championship team, Channing Frye, returning the Cavs will have plenty of men patrolling the paint. This multifaceted approach by General Manager Koby Altman is a promising experiment and will keep the Cavs afloat in the Eastern Conference. Like Cavalier Jordan Clarkson says, “I feel like we’re going to shock a lot of people this year”. Having a young nucleus of hungry players coupled with experienced vets, the Cavs will remain a force to be reckoned with this year. I accept the fact that the days of guaranteed Finals appearances are over, but to say that they are out of the playoff picture entirely is blasphemous. To all basketball fans, though the Cavalier organization has lost the most valuable piece in the history of professional sports, they just may turn everyone’s world upside down just like they did in June of 2016.