Are the Cleveland Cavaliers in trouble without Shaq?
This season no other NBA team has been as dominant in the Eastern conference than LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. No matter what opposing defenses do, even the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers who the Cavs have beaten twice this year, Cleveland always seems prevail in as a result they have the best record in the NBA right now and probably will have the best record at season’s end just like they did last year.
This past off-season GM Danny Ferry attempted to try and do all he could in order to convince arguably the best player ever to play in Cleveland Cavs uniform, LeBron James, to stay playing in a Cavs uniform for the long term.
Over the past couple of years, just like Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, a lot of people said that LeBron James can’t win an NBA title without playing alongside another superstar. This fact was never more evident than when the Cleveland Cavaliers got always in the NBA finals faced off against Tim Duncan and San Antonio Spurs and lost in an ugly fashion losing four straight games in a sweep.
Following season LeBron James continue to improve his game becoming a better defensive player than even better scorer, the same result happen in the Boston Celtics made it to the NBA finals and were able to defeat Kobe Bryant and company.
Last year it looked like the Cleveland Cavaliers have a legitimate shot of becoming NBA champs as they were the best team in the Eastern conference by far dominated all the way through the NBA regular season with suffocating defense in an unstoppable offense, but in the Eastern conference finals against the Orlando Magic, they have absolutely no answer for Dwight Howard in the paint and were basically dominated and knocked out of the playoffs after only winning one game against the Magic.
The result is obscene not look Cleveland Cavaliers wanted and send shockwaves through the franchise as fear of LeBron James leaving this summer start become more like a reality since the only player on the Cavs that could actually hold his own besides LeBron was point guard Mo Williams.
The versatile Williams is one of the better guards in the league, but he isn’t a game changer like saying Pau Gasol for the Los Angeles Lakers or Chauncey Billups for the Denver Nuggets who have drastically made their teams better and perennial title contenders in the Western Conference.
With that being said, Danny ferry brought in Shaquille O’Neal via trade with Phoenix Suns in order to put a body on Dwight Howard during the playoffs, if the two teams were to meet again and solid paint presence besides Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
At first, the trade seemed to be a step in the right direction, not enough to keep LeBron James in Cleveland, but definitely improve the chances of winning an NBA title this season and dethroning the Orlando Magic as Eastern conference champs.
Unfortunately, Shaquille O’Neal just recently went down with a finger injury is will require surgery and 6 to 8 weeks of healing. The Cavs did acquire All-Star caliber forward Antawn Jamison before the NBA trade deadline on February 18th, which might be enough to convince LeBron to stay, but without Shaq in the paint and the fact they had to trade Ilgauskas in order to get Jamison, there is now a big void in the middle.
Legally the Cleveland Cavaliers are allowed sign Zydrunas Ilgauskas after 30 days being waved from the Watson Wizards, but during that time they don’t have to deal without true center.
Fortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they’ve gone out to such a big lead in the Eastern conference and are playing is extremely well at the moment that I believe it won’t affect the team enough to derail their title contending hopes.
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