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Will The Additions Of J.R. Smith & Iman Shumpert Help The Cavaliers Win An NBA Title This Season?

Submitted by on January 6, 2015 – 10:28 amNo Comment

As we’ve told you several times over the course of the last few weeks, the Cleveland Cavaliers are not playing very well as a team right now. Even though they were picked to finish at the top of the NBA‘s Eastern Conference this season because of their offseason acquisitions of LeBron James and Kevin Love, the Cavs are only a few games above .500. And because LeBron James is going to spend the next couple of weeks on the bench with injuries to his knee and back, the Cavs aren’t going to turn things around quickly. But even in LeBron’s absence, Cleveland may have just improved their chances of making a deep playoff run this year.

How did they do it? Well, they managed to work out a deal that will, in all likelihood, improve their roster. Last night, they agreed to send Dion Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson to the Knicks in exchange for J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert (the Knicks also landed Lance Thomas from the Thunder in the six-player deal). And while it’s a bit of a risky move for the Cavs—Smith was a headache at times for the Knicks, and Shumpert is recovering from a dislocated shoulder that he suffered last month—it’s a move that could ultimately pay off for the Cavs in the long run.

At the moment, one of the Cavs’ biggest weaknesses is their bench. So the additions of Smith and Shumpert should help them in that area. Smith was once an NBA Sixth Man of the Year, and Shumpert is a high-energy player who excels at playing good, solid defense. Smith and Shumpert have both been good players in the past, but they were stuck in a bad situation in New York. So the belief is that a change will be good for both of them and will give them an opportunity to get a fresh start.

That fresh start will be welcomed by the Cavaliers. The bad news is that they have so many players on their team this year that haven’t played together before that it’s going to take some time for them to gel as a unit. But the good news is that, at the very least, they’ve put a bunch of weapons around LeBron James and given him all the tools he needs to succeed. Now he just needs to figure out how to use them best. And if he’s able to do that, the Cavs should have no problem getting back on the right path this season.

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