There is probably more optimism surrounding the 2-2 Cleveland Cavaliers now than there has been at any point since LeBron James’ last game with the team. It’s not about the wins total – nobody is going to be setting off fireworks over .500 ball after one week of basketball. It’s the general outlook that the franchise and its young stars seem to have for the future that is really making this squad a pleasure to follow.
Recently the team’s two biggest stars, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, spoke with Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. While a lot of their discussion was interesting, the most intriguing part of the whole thing had to be their analysis of the Cavs’ playoff odds. Mind you, this is a squad that two years ago was considered the worst in the league – now its players are talking postseason.
“If we come to play every single night, I feel like we can play with the best of them on both ends of the floor,” Irving told Kennedy. “We have the aggressiveness. We have the confidence. Whether anybody else believes it doesn’t matter. It’s just about us, everyone in the Cavaliers organization, believing in ourselves. I believe we are a playoff team.”
His rookie teammate, Waiters, echoed those sentiments.
“Hopefully we can make the playoffs,” Waiters said. “We want to achieve that. We have to work our way up to that next level. That’s the main thing. For us to do that, it’ll take hard work, dedication and sacrifice. Everybody has one goal in mind and that’s to make the playoffs. We’re young, but we’re going to do whatever it takes to get there and keep building off of each other. Hopefully we can get there.”
The Cavaliers are still a long ways away from being contenders. You can’t just get over losing an all-time great franchise player at the drop of a hat. But man, the speed with which they have rebuilt is pretty remarkable. This team is young. (Mostly.) It is loaded with talent at all the right positions. It is extremely well coached. And if injuries don’t derail any key players, this team could very legitimately challenge for the final few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.