The NBA season is set to start in exactly 10 (business) days. This provides perfect timing for the ten most interesting storylines of the upcoming season.
This isn’t a countdown of the best teams, best players or anything else. These are simply the storylines that will be the most interesting. The stories, teams, coaches, players and plots that you and your friends will spend your time talking about via email, Facebook/G-chat and covert text messages when you should be working. Yeah, even you, Blackberry guy.
So starting today, and every (business) day, until tip off (Oct 29th, Heat vs Bulls, 8pm., TNT[ii]) we will give you our humble opinion on what you need to know to be ready to debate and discuss with your friends, family and your boss. God save him and his love of the Lakers/Celtics/Knicks[iii].
It’s like an NBA Buzzfeed list…just with actual writing.
#10: The Redemption and Redeemer: Cleveland Cavaliers
The city of Cleveland has been through a lot when it comes to basketball emotions. We all know what happened when LeBron was there. In many ways, he was the high school prom queen who would go on to be Ms. America…and Cleveland was the high school boyfriend who never thought they’d be left behind[iv].
Not much can be considered as painful a sting than watching someone who was once with you, go on to find success and happiness with someone else. You think a Facebook notification that your ex is in a relationship is bad? Imagine what the last three years have been like for Cleveland fans. You can hide someone from your newsfeed, but you can’t just quit the Internet. And television. And… sports. Hell, LeBron is even bringing back his pregame chalk toss ritual this year. Ouch.
But just like in love, in sports, there will be another.
And luckily for Cleveland there has been. Kyrie Irving is the exact rebound relationship Cleveland needed. He’s fast, fun and eager to please. He’s proven he can carry a team and he can have fun doing it[v].
He’s been the Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in only two seasons. The city has embraced him and they’ve already started using the number one reason why people stay in bad marriages to keep him around. Yup, they’re using the children.
Unfortunately, guilt alone won’t be enough to keep Kyrie around. The Cavs are going to have to prove that they can win and win soon.
That’s what this season is about. That’s the story. Can the Cavs keep Kyrie? Will they be able to show him they’re headed in the right direction and that they actually know what they’re doing?
So far, it doesn’t look like they’ve learned anything.
When LeBron was in Cleveland he was paired with a fairly incompetent offensive coach in Mike Brown. This summer, Cleveland brought him back.
When LeBron was in Cleveland he had a starting center who was well past his prime and struggled to contribute offensively. This summer, Cleveland signed Andrew Bynum[vi].
The Cavs did have one advantage this summer that many times they did not when LeBron was holding court: a high first round draft pick. But as luck would have it, not just a first round pick, but THE first pick in this summer’s draft.
Cleveland selected Anthony Bennnett.
The first ever Canadian-born player to be drafted number one overall in NBA history. That’s literally the most remarkable piece of information about him.
Now, there have been concerns before when Cleveland had the number one draft pick. Many people have forgotten that Kyrie Irving wasn’t considered a sure thing by a lot of “experts” because he had only played a few games at Duke before he injured his foot. That choice has worked out just fine so far. So its possible Anthony Bennett may turn into an All-Star. Its just hard to imagine that a kid who only averaged 16 and 8 in the Mountain West Conference is about to set the NBA on fire.
The past two seasons, Cleveland has been a team that was fun to watch and to root for. And that’s how young love is: fun, carefree and easy. But true love is shown through commitment.
This season will be a test of that commitment in Cleveland. Irving will be eligible for a max extension this summer and no matter what he says to help the kids sleep at night, he can’t be expected to commit to Cleveland if Cleveland can’t commit to winning.
The moves the Cavs made in the off-season at best can be considered high-risk, high-reward. Maybe this is a chance for Mike Brown to get redemption and return to the once-named Coach of the Year. Maybe Andrew Bynum can find his redemption and return to the All-Star center he once was. And maybe Anthony Bennett will get his redemption over those “analysts” who made their feelings about his draft selection known, quite loudly, to the world, during what should’ve been his shining moment.
Or maybe, none of them will come through and a certain lesson about those who don’t know their history will be in the mind of Cleveland’s true redeemer as he makes his decision about his future.
Then again, there’s always hope the prom queen comes home.
::::Check Back Tomorrow For #9::::
Scott Christopher is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. Follow him @ScottC247.
 Seriously, stop using a Blackberry. Everyone is talking about you.
[ii] Yes, I know that technically the season starts at 7PM EST when Orlando plays against Indiana on NBATV…and as much as it hurts my feelings (and feelings of friends who work for both of those teams) to say this: This game doesn’t matter. The season starts when LeBron takes the floor and D. Rose returns.
[iii] All three fanbases are equally annoying… umm, I mean passionate. A Lakers fan will talk about the legacy and all the great players who come to LA. We get it. Celtics fans will hold onto the fact their team has the most championships and the player with the most championships (shout out to Bill Russell though). And Knicks fans will always talk about Madison Square Garden and how NYC is the Mecca. Truth is, they’re all correct. It just gets old.
[iv] Know this: No matter where you’re from, there will always be a prom queen. And for that reason, there will always be a guy who gets to take her to prom. But that doesn’t mean that guy SHOULD be taking her to prom. He’s just the best choice in the moment. The problem with that scenario is, sometimes the guy going to prom with the prom queen, doesn’t realize he’s just the best choice of the moment and adopts a certain attitude. The kind of attitude that allows one of the best players the game has ever seen to play with Donyell Marshall, Mo Williams, Boobie Gibson, Antawn Jamison, Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes and Damon Jones! DAMON JONES!! He got a shoe deal from a team in China, just because he played with LeBron. You can say whatever you want, but Cleveland (the organization, not the fans…though, the fans were the equivalent of the HS boyfriend’s friends gassing him up, making him think his attitude towards the prom queen is justified) definitely took LeBron for granted. And just like the prom queen destined to be Ms. America, LeBron could only take being strung along for so long…and then he left. So to every guy who will take the prom queen to prom, remember, “if you like it than you better put a ring on it”.
[v] Shout out to Uncle Drew. It was best ad campaign of the last 5 years in any sport and here’s to hoping he brings it back. Can we start a Facebook group? Or maybe just add it to whatever resolution the Federal government reaches?
[vi] A word on Bynum: He was a major factor in the two Laker championships and he does have the potential to be the best center in the NBA. However, he has proven to be injury prone, unreliable and beyond immature. This will be a defining season for him and perhaps it could be argued he deserves a bigger place in this column. Unfortunately, he has routinely made this writer look like a fool in an on-going wager about whether he or Dwight Howard would have the better 5-year stretch after the Lakers traded him, essentially for Howard. Bynum has every opportunity to resurrect his career in Cleveland, whether he does or not, will be completely decided by his health—both physical and mental.