The Cleveland Cavaliers tip off the 2018-19 season Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. against the Toronto Raptors. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Ohio and the Cavs will look to kick off the second post-LeBron era on the right foot. I will make some predictions and preview the season here.
The Cavs will finish with the eighth seed
The Cavaliers lost their best player to free agency last year in LeBron James and it is going to take a big hit on everyone. But the Cavaliers are in a much better state than they were in 2010. The Cavaliers actually have an all-star on their roster in Kevin Love and some young pieces in which to build their core around. Good young players like Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, and Larry Nance Jr. are all young players that the Cavs can build around to become contenders whenever the Golden State Warriors’ reign of terror is over.
This season I think the Cavs can still compete in a weaker Eastern Conference. The Cavs can get some good play from the veterans on this team in Love, JR Smith, and Rodney Hood can help lead this team to the playoffs in the east. Overall, I think the Cleveland Cavaliers will be able to handle the tough loss of LeBron James in some ways and narrowly beat out the Detroit Pistons for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Cavs will trade PG George Hill and SG Kyle Korver
The Cavaliers season could go one of three ways; it could go really well and they could make the playoffs, injuries and the youngness of the team will show and the team will suffer because of it, or both of these. I think it will be both of these. I think at times the youngness of the team will show and the Cavs will struggle and at other parts of the season, and thrive and look good on th court at other times. I think this will cause the Cavs to continue to build a younger core and acquire more draft picks for some aging veterans that can help other teams.
One of these players is George Hill. Hill came to the Cavs at the trade deadline of last season and he was just about average for the Cavs throughout his time here last season. Hill is coming into this season as the starting point guard and will be the mentor to the “Youngbull” Collin Sexton. Eventually, I think the Koby Altman and the Cavs will want to do right by Hill and trade him to a contender in need of a point guard like the San Antonio Spurs. I think the Cavs could get back at least a second round pick back and some expiring contracts from Spurs if not somehow be able to swing back something bigger. Overall, I think George Hill will be traded by the trade deadline in early February.
Another player that could be traded this season is the veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver. I think as much as the fans and the Cavs would like to keep him around, I am not sure how much longer Korver will play in the NBA, this could be his last season. I think the Cavs should and would do right by Korver and try to trade him to a contender like the Philadelphia 76ers or the Los Angeles Lakers. I think like Hill, the Cavs will be able to bring back at least a second-round pick in return and maybe some salary cap filler.
Rodney Hood will score over 20 ppg this season
When Rodney Hood came over at the trade deadline of last season, the Cavs thought they were going to get the 17 ppg scorer he was in Utah but instead, the Cavs got an inconsistent player who at one point in the playoffs refused to come off the bench and play in some garbage time. Hood is looking to win back some fans and play better starting now. Hood averaged 13 points in his four seasons with the Utah Jazz. After a filed free agency, I think Hood will come out with a vengeance and prove that he is worth what he wants to make in the offseason. I think Hood will come out of this season and be our second leading scorer and average about 21-22 ppg. This season will one to remember for Hood as he could even be selected to the all-star game. Rodney Hood will play well and become a force on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball and help lead this Cavaliers team to the playoffs.
Collin Sexton will win the Rookie of the Year
To finish off the Kyrie Irving trade, the Cavaliers drafted the point guard out of Alabama in Collin Sexton. Sexton was regarded as one of the best prospects in the draft and has a high chance to win the Rookie of the Year Award. He will have some tough competition in the likes of Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic. Even with this stiff competition I still think Sexton can win the award. I think “Youngbull” will average around 12-15 ppg and around 6-7 assists. This will start to become more apparent whenever Sexton takes over for George Hill in the starting role. Overall, Sexton will have a great rookie season and he will help lead the Cavaliers now and in the future.
Overall, I think the Cleveland Cavaliers could have a great season, finishing 39-43 all about competing and development of the younger players. This is a good team and they are ready to #BetheFight.