Irving looking to lead Cavs back

Irving looking to lead Cavs back
August 8, 2012, 3:05 pm
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Cleveland is still trying to recover from the exodus of Lebron James two years ago but slowly and surely the Cavaliers are hoping to build back up through their back court. The team drafted two guards with their first picks the last two years. In 2011, the Cavs took point guard Kyrie Irving with the number one overall selection and this past summer they surprisingly selected shooting guard Dion Waiters out of Syracuse with the fourth overall pick.

Irving clearly was the best rookie in the league last season, averaging 18 points and 5 assists, but the Cavaliers struggled mightily to a 21-45 record. Irving proved why he was the top pick, showing off his incredible quickness and ability to finish around the rim. Irving is good enough to get the Cavs back at least to being more competitive, something they were not last season.

The Cavaliers think they have found a running mate for Irving with the 6'-4" Waiters, who only averaged 12 points a game in his sophomore season at Syracuse but is capable of being a very streaky scorer.

The Cavaliers also picked up rookie center Tyler Zeller in a trade from Dallas in June. The 7-foot Zeller averaged 16 points and nearly 10 rebounds last season in his senior year at North Carolina. Couple that with the Cavaliers second first-round pick last year in forward Tristan Thompson, and the Cavs hope they have a nice corps to build on going forward.

The fourth overall selection in 2011, Thompson averaged 8 points and 6 rebounds in about 23 minutes a game. Thompson scored 10 points and had 7 rebounds as a starter and his nine double-doubles was third best among rookies.

After only playing in 25 games because of a broken wrist last season, power forward Anderson Varejoe is back. Before he got hurt, Varejoe averaged 10 points and 11 rebounds a game and brings that much needed veteran presence to the court.

The Cavaliers bench is a major concern. With names like Luke Harangody, Daniel Gibson, Samardo Samuels and Alonzo Gee, Cleveland is not scaring anybody.

Cleveland's success will depend on the continued development of Irving and how he integrates other players like Waiters, Thompson and Zeller into the team. The Cavaliers likely won't make the post-season for the third straight season but they should be much improved with Irving leading the way.