5. Iman Shumpert – Iman will prove to be worth every penny of the 40 million dollar contract he signed with the Cavs this summer if he can get healthy and stay healthy. When Shump comes back it will provide a lift to the back court as JR continues to struggle with consistency. Shump has made a name for himself on the defensive side of the ball but this season he should look to make significant strides on offense. Similar to Kyrie, Shump is entering his fifth season and the time has come to get buckets. It was evident during last seasonâ€™s post season, that the Cavs needed scoring and Shumpâ€™s offense was much too nonexistent. If Iman adds a consistent jump shot to his game, and the ability to create off the dribble, he will have a breakout year.
4. Tristan Thompson– Fresh from signing a massive 82 million contract TT will have a lot to prove this season and beyond. Last post season Thompson provided a huge lift, after being inserted into the starting lineup when Kevin Love sustained a season ending injury to his shoulder in the first round. This year, I expect TT to still outwork people on the glass but also show improvement in his free throw shooting and on offense. If Trist is lacking anywhere, it is definitely on the offensive side of the ball. If Thompson can add a few strong post moves, gain confidence with playing with his back to the basket and routinely hit a 10-12 footer then he will make the essential growth needed on offense. Serge Ibaka would be a good model for Trist to study. If Trist can add a soft touch and polish his coordination on offense, he will for sure have a break out year which could pay some high dividends.
3. Mo Williams– Mo is no stranger to Cavs fans, as he came up big in many moments during his first tenure with the Cavaliers. Now that Mo Gotti, is back he definitely should add more depth at the point guard position, playing behind the young, Kyrie Irving. The signing of Mo Williams is big because not only does it give the Cavs more scoring off the bench but he should also be able to provide great leadership and mentorship to both Kyrie and Delly. Last season, Mo scored a career high, 52 points while playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves. This Cavs team doesnâ€™t really need him to score 50 but if he can run the offense when Kyrie and LeBron are on the bench, that would be monumental. Mo will have a breakout year for the Cavaliers, if he spreads the floor, knock down open shots, and create offense for others.
2. Kyrie Irving– Kyrie made significant strides last year as a player before he abruptly had to shutÂ his services down, after fracturing his right knee cap. Last season started off shaky for him, as clearly entered the season with a score first mentality, as if he didnâ€™t now have Kevin Love and LeBron James on his team. After logging a few games early in the season with zero assist, Kyrie was able to make adjustments and play better. As he enters his fifth season, I expect Kyrie to increase is point production and his assists. Last season Irving averaged 21 and 5. Those numbers should increase, perhaps to around 25 and 7, as Kyrie can potentially lead the Cavs in scoring. If Kyrie, opts to become more of a facilitator for his teammates, expect his assists to rise and sit back and watch a magician at work. He has a full year under his belt with playing with two all stars, so if healthy he should be ready to have an Uncle Drew type outing.
1. Kevin Love– Kevin Love finished the season with solid numbers as he came close to averaging a double double at 16 ppg and 9 boards but considering his prior numbers, he had an off year. Kev often times looked out of the loop in the Cavs offense, similar to the way Chris Bosh did in Miami, but this year Kevin can be the biggest breakout Cavalier if three things happen. First the Cavaliers coaching staff must do a better job in establishing Kevin in the post and making a commitment to going to him inside. Kevin may never get back to the 26 and 12 that he posted in Minnesota, as he is not the first option with the Cavs, but if more plays are called for him in the interior or the elbow then Kevin can have a super breakout year for the Cavs. Feeding the ball more to Kevin in the post, will widen the floor and put pressure on any defense. If Kevin gains more comfortability in the Cavs offense and improves his defensive rotations then he will have the biggest breakout season for Cleveland.