The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to win the 2016 NBA Championships according to a recent poll.
The Eastern Conference champions fell short of bagging the 2015 Larry O’Brien trophy against the Golden State Warriors last season. After losing key starters Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to injuries, the job was left for LeBron James to finish. Ultimately, Stephen Curry and the GSW crew took over the series, winning the championship in six games.
However, with Love back and a healthier Irving expected to join the Cavs during the Playoffs, many think the Cleveland is ripe for its first NBA Championship in franchise history.
In a poll conducted by ESPN to its forecast panel, the Cavaliers are number 1 projected to win in the 2015-16 NBA Season with 119 voting points. The team’s season record is predicted to be around 59-23.
The Cavs are followed by reigning NBA champions Golden State Warriors with 84 points. Notably, the regular season record of the team is projected 60-22 — higher than number 1, Cavs.
With superstar signee LaMarcus Aldridge in the team, the San Antonio Spurs are seen as one of the top contenders for the crown, coming at third. With 52 vote points, the Spurs are expected to have end the regular season with a 56-26 slate.
Rounding up the top 5 are the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Zach Harper of CBS Sports also thinks the Cavaliers will make it to the Finals, and even win the championship compared to other Eastern Conference teams.
“It’s a lot easier to argue [Cavaliers] for sure going to the Finals barring major injury…none of those teams have LeBron. Or Kyrie. Or Love,” Harper of CBS Sports noted.
“The Cavs are completely loaded, and they proved they can figure out the ugly, gritty defensive game in the playoffs.”
While the future looks bright for the Cavaliers, it’s still too early to tell if the team will indeed bag the championship. Notably, Kyrie Irving isn’t expected to play until January of next year, so the point guard responsibilities will be mainly on Matthew Dellavedova and newly acquired Mo Williams.