Ten games into the 2017-2018 season, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are 4-6. They’ve lost to teams they should have beat, such as the Pacers, Knicks, Nets, and Hawks. In their most recent game, the Cavaliers lost to the injury riddled Atlanta Hawks, who had only won one of their first nine games. This slow start has caused some people to ask if it’s time to worry about the Cavaliers. They also lost their center Tristan Thompson for a month to a calf injury. This was a big loss for Cleveland, as Isaiah Thomas, who the Cavs acquired from the Celtics for Kyrie Irving in the offseason, will be out until for an extended period of time. The season is still young, and although the Cavaliers have struggled, there are multiple reasons why this team will make the playoffs when all is said and done.
The Cavaliers did not dramatically remake their roster over the offseason other than the Irving trade. They brought in many new faces including Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, and Jae Crowder. Even with the addition of these new players, the Cavaliers kept the key players who have made them so good over the past few seasons. This team must learn how to trust each other, especially with Isaiah Thomas out. After their loss to Atlanta, frustration boiled over as several bench players called out the starters. This is not uncommon, as teams try to find their footing at the beginning of the season. This is something that will define them as the season goes on. How they deal with the adversity of an 82 game schedule will define their character.
The Cavaliers have one element that no other team has. LeBron James. James is arguably the best player on the planet. James is in his 15th year in the NBA, and he said this is the best he’s felt. He has backed that up with his play as, through ten games he’s averaging 28.3 points while shooting 60.5% from the field. If LeBron keeps playing like this, then he could be in store for his best season yet. This should scare the rest of the league, considering the fact that James has been the NBA MVP four times. No matter the Cavaliers struggle,s having LeBron gives them the possibility to overcome most obstacles other teams cannot. He should be even better once this team gets healthier.
As this team gets healthier, their play will improve. Right now the Cavaliers are missing key players such as Isaiah Thomas, Tristan Thompson, and Iman Shumpert. Shumpert and Thompson have been key to the Cavaliers recent run of dominance while, Thomas is coming off an amazing season with the Celtics. When these players return, it will take time for them to adapt to their new teammates, but once they do this team will be much improved. The Cavaliers have not played anywhere close to their expectations, however fans should not hit the panic button. The NBA season is long, and starts by teams with talent like the Cavs isn’t always indicative of how their season will end.