James and Varejao made music in the pick-and-roll before, so the Cavs can avoid the growing pains that come along with integrating ball-dominant talent by featuring that action as much as possible. However, it's unclear how Waiters and Irving will feel about playing primarily off the ball, though Waiters is the much better option as a spot-up shooter. Blatt's challenge will be to get two young, ball-dominant scorers who have a history of being sticky with the ball to defer those duties to James. Wade did it, but that took a full season and he wasn't trying to prove himself in the league like Irving and Waiters.
There are a lot fewer question marks with the Heat. Continuity plays a large role here as James, Wade and Bosh can run the Heat's offense in their sleep. McRoberts and Granger are high-IQ players with 3-point range who can integrate seamlessly with the Heat's pace-and-space system. As mentioned in Monday's story, the Heat think of McRoberts as their Boris Diaw -- a playmaking big man who can shoot from deep and make quick, smart decisions. While the Cavs start from scratch, the Heat will be polishing one of the NBA's most dominant offenses.
The Heat's biggest weakness can be found at the point guard position, which happens to be the Cavs' biggest strength. The Heat could rely on Cole and Napier to hold down the fort as they try to bring in a veteran point guard off the scrap heap, but neither is a good bet to lead a high-functioning offense from the start. If Mario Chalmers or Nelson can be had at a cheap price, that would provide a big lift for the Heat's championship quest. With a high turnover rate and poor finishing skills, Cole remains one of the most destructive point guards in the league on that end; his 8.8 PER does not lie.
All in all, the Cavs have a ton of upside offensively, but the pieces aren't likely to fall into place right away. They could be monsters in the open court, but James has never played for an up-tempo team. A top-10 offense would be feasible, but the Heat have ranked in the top two in offensive efficiency in each of the past two seasons. It's hard to see the Heat dropping much in that category after bringing back their core along with McRoberts and Granger.
Even with a defense-minded coach in Mike Brown last season, the Cavs ranked 17th, or just below average, on that end of the floor. Not a good start. Indeed, the thought of peak James and Wiggins flying around on the wing would be terrifying for the rest of the league. But those days of James' dominance on the perimeter may be over. According to NBA.com, the Heat were 2.1 points per 100 possessions worse defensively with James on the court last season, and James' defensive real plus-minus checked in around average.
At full tilt, James can be the best defender in the league, but he rarely went all out on that end last season. Call it coasting or energy conservation or just plain ol' aging, James hasn't been the defensive force he once was. Whatever the case, it's hard to imagine that James will dramatically move the needle enough to turn the Cavs into a top-five defense. And it's an open question whether the offense-minded Blatt can get everyone to buy into a solvent defensive system with all the youth at every position.