NBA superstar, LeBron James, shocked the league and its fans today, Friday, July 11, when he announced his decision to leave the Miami Heat and return home to play for the young and talented Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2014-15 season.
So with "The Decision 2.0" firmly in the rearview mirror of the NBA's free agency period, the question now arises as to just how good next year's Cleveland Cavaliers team will be? And, while it's impossible to predict upcoming trades or potential injuries, if the current team holds form, then history tells us that they will be very, very good.
And here's why:
Assuming this current roster stays the way it is, the 2014-15 Cavaliers will be the first team with four number one draft picks on the same roster since the 1986-87 Lakers; which cruised to an easy NBA Finals win (4-2), despite playing against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in the same year.
Subsequently, the 1987-88 Lakers went 62-20 in the regular season en route to winning a second consecutive NBA championship over Isaiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons.
In fact, that storied Lakers team made it to the NBA Finals in four out of five seasons after the four number ones got together.
Arguably, the Cavaliers' group of number ones (LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins) doesn't have the same ring to it as the Lakers' four number ones; which was Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Mychal Thompson. But comparing the Lakers' four stars after their storied careers to the up-and-coming talents of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and calling one group significantly better than the other, would be unfair at this point.
All one can do at this current time is note that this Cavaliers team is comprised of the same, according to their pick rank, kind of talent of one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.
But even if the Cavaliers' four number one picks don't live up to the caliber of the 87' Lakers, the good news is that unlike the NBA in the 80s, where hall of fame players like Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Isaiah Thomas etc. seemed to be coming into the league in waves every year, no other teams besides the Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs seem to be loaded with hall of fame caliber players in 2014.
Sure, the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, or the Charlotte Hornets may give Cleveland a run for their money in the Eastern Conference, but it seems very difficult to imagine a scenario where any of those aforementioned teams would beat Cleveland in a seven-game series.
Additionally, and I know sportswriters write this before every season, but the Spurs are getting another year older. The Spurs currently have an average roster age of 28.5 years old, one of the oldest averages in the league, while the Cavaliers only have one player over 30. Meaning, at some point in the near future, the legacies of Tim Duncan (38 years old), Tony Parker (32), and Manu Ginobili (36) have to come to an end, and the result would be a wide-open league for the very young Cavaliers to step in and dominate.
Finally, there does exist the possibility that the Cavaliers WON'T be the first team since the 87' Lakers to have four number one draft picks on the same team. If this were to be the case, that would mean the rumors of former Cleveland top pick, Anthony Bennett, being included in a trade for the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love have came to fruition.
And if that were to be the case, then the 2014-15 Cleveland Cavaliers just might create their own history.