LeBron + Love should = speed

Another featured set will see Love in the pinch post with James in the same side corner, with the rest of the Cavs on the other side. When Love gets the catch, he'll turn and look at James immediately. If the defender stays low on James, James can race forward and take the handoff from Love; if that defender rushes up the floor to defend, then James will make a quick backdoor cut. And if the defender plays James "straight up," then he can slice-cut over the defender and take the quick pass from Love as he moves into the paint. This is a devastating sequence of actions to defend.

Of course, James always can just slip into the post for some quick high-low action, the kind of short spacing from post-to-post that prevents defenses from being able to get help inside fast enough (especially if two of those three players not involved in the action are 3-point threats). We all know how James will help Love and Irving get their points, but Love will help them as well, far more than people realize.

It's the full-court game where Love can have the most impact. His outlet passes are legendary, and deservedly so. Corey Brewer is every bit as fast as James, and he led the league in transition points last season, mostly thanks to those passes from Love. James, though, is a better finisher at the rim than Brewer, and better at drawing fouls.

Love's incredible rebounding talent also suggests that Varejao, along with James, can often release early and race down the court. Nikola Pekovic was a devastating offensive rebounder last season due not just to his incredible strength, but also his willingness to run and seal, waiting for a teammate to take a quick shot (Minnesota played at the fourth-fastest pace and tied for sixth in offensive rebound rate). Varejao can have an increased role in this manner, with his four starting teammates helping to keep the paint clear in the half court and with his ability to run in their fast-break game. Yes, James will expend some energy running more, but he will save even more by absorbing less of a pounding and by having to do less in the offense because other guys are getting quick buckets. He can also choose to let Irving race out with the others when Love rebounds, thus playing the point if the long outlet is not there and getting into some delayed or "drag screen" action with the trailing Love (much like Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire did to great effect).


The Cavs will need to add some athletes to play alongside Mike Miller and James Jones, but if they do, this team will be capable of playing a style very similar to that of the current Spurs and Nash-era Suns. More possessions in a game often heavily favors the more talented team, if that squad is coached right. Blatt is an elite coach, so there should be no problem.

Having great shooters combined with great passers, the world's best player (and possibly its best athlete), and one of the top rebounders the game has ever seen gives the Cavs a multitude of offensive options. The key will be just how fast they choose to play. The Spurs looked like surgeons during much of the 2014 NBA playoffs. And they are champions now. The Suns had the "sexiest" team in pro sports during a large stretch of the 2000s, routinely winning 50-plus games and doing so in fun fashion.

This Cleveland team could very well have more offensive talent than either of those squads and could end up being just as effective or better -- only if it doesn't give defenders a chance to breathe.

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