Cleveland Cavaliers Preview: Wine & Gold Scrimmage



The last time the Cleveland Cavaliers trotted out onto a basketball court this team was in a much different place. The roster was full of young talent–both proven and unproven–and the outcome of the season was dismal after a glimmer of hope appeared in the off-season prior.  “Moves” were made (i.e. Earl Clark, Jarrett Jack, Andrew Bynum, etc.) in the summer of 2013, and those actually excited fans to some extent. Those moves, however, resulted in big names being fired and those players being traded by the end of July. But one can’t even compare what happened one year ago to what happened this summer. It even goes without saying the names, but we will finally be able to see those names take the court in Cavalier colors on Wednesday during the Wine & Gold Scrimmage. What a difference a year/season makes.


The Opponent: Each Other

Their Record: N/A

Tipoff: Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. — Quicken Loans Arena

Where you can watch: Stream live on

Where you can listen: N/A

Previous Matchup: N/A

Opponent’s Blog: King James Gospel


Cavaliers: LeBron James (back, probable)


This season the Wine & Gold Scrimmage holds more weight than any Wine & Gold Scrimmage in years’ past. Five names remain on the roster from the 2013-14 team (Irving, Waiters, Thompson, Varejao, Dellavedova). One international coach joined on as head honcho (David Blatt). Two All-Stars have been coaxed into coming to Cleveland with the hopes of winning multiple championships (LeBron, K. Love). Three veterans will be providing pesky defense and solid outside shooting, something the Cavaliers have been missing over the past four seasons (The Matrix, Mike Miller, James Jones). Two more players will make the Cavaliers 12-man roster; likely a backup point guard and a reserve big.

There are some question marks surrounding this season as well as givens. No one, not even LeBron, is promising a championship in the first year of the reborn Cavaliers. However, James is committed to being the player-captain that Cleveland has so desperately needed during the King’s absence. His on-the-court leadership will be one of the many givens in the 2014-15 season, and it gets to be seen on display in Wine (or Gold) for the first time on Wednesday. Winning a championship will remain the biggest question mark throughout the entire campaign.

LeBron has renewed the excitement that he once cooked up for seven straight years once again. But this time along he brought friends, most importantly All-Star power forward Kevin Love. Cleveland is buzzing; the town is electric. It has even affected Cavalier players even without them having one minute of game experience as his teammate. We learned from Kyrie Irving, who signed a five-year contract extension in July, this summer that he can be a successful contributor and distributor when surrounded by All-Star-caliber NBA players. His role as a starting guard for Team USA during the FIBA World Cup proved that.

Fans will get to see all of that and more on display Wednesday night, but some notables will be missing. Tyler Zeller, Anthony Bennett and this year’s No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins are elsewhere because the Cavs decided to trade in their black chips for more experience, and already valuable, orange chips. There are still a lot of uncertainties about how the players on the current roster will mesh at the beginning of the season, but choosing proven players over rookies with untapped/unseen potential and talent is the direction that a team wanting to win a championship right now wants to go in.

Once 7 p.m. rolls around on Wednesday, Cavaliers basketball will officially be back. Scrimmages don’t mean much, but seeing the mega team assembled on a basketball court together (and playing against each other) for the first time will be a treat that Cleveland sports fans will not want to miss. Training camp has started. The annual scrimmage is tomorrow. The first preseason game will tipoff on Saturday against Blatt’s former team. The regular season is the next (and very close) step.