The preseason is wrapping up, and the Cleveland Cavaliers will open their regular season on the road against the Brooklyn Nets on Oct. 25.
Following an eventful offseason, the Cavaliers enter the year with newfound offensive versatility from deep and internal growth from their star-studded core. In the preseason, Cleveland had an opportunity to see how the newest members of the team fit the system. While Max Strus and Georges Niang were the most intriguing additions, combo guard Ty Jerome made his impact as a backup behind Darius Garland to lead the second unit.
While the Cavs showed the offseason improvements in the preseason, the regular season will put them through a new slate of challenges, testing the cohesion they built over the summer. In their first 10 games, Cleveland will square off against top teams, including a back-to-back against the New York Knicks, the team that sent the Cavs packing after a five-game series.
Additionally, the Cavs will play the Golden State Warriors twice and the Sacramento Kings once in their first 10 games. With a tough opening schedule, Cleveland will be put through the ringer early. If they want to be a serious contender, they will need to come out and take the season serious. They will not have time to work their way into the 82-game marathon, as an early slide in the standings could mean another failed playoff appearance.
With so much discussion and proclamations this summer about the team’s improvements and growth, now is the time to prove that. Otherwise, the Cavaliers will have a long summer ahead of them once again. If they believe last year’s playoffs was not a fluke, they have to show that this year.
Under their circumstances, the Cavaliers will have plenty to prove in the early season. As the regular season begins, there will be critical elements of the team’s play that could hint to bigger implications later down the road.
The first has to do with Cleveland’s frontcourt.