After a four-year hiatus, the NBA spotlight makes its return to Cleveland on tonight as the Cleveland Cavaliers open up the 2014-15 season against the New York Knicks.
The Cavs are emerging from NBA purgatory after losing 215 games over the past four seasons and are set to embark on what should prove to be one of the most exciting seasons in franchise history thanks to the return of LeBron James, the addition of Kevin Love, and the continued maturation of Kyrie Irving.
Because the Cavs pulled off one of the most amazing (and unpredictable) off-seasons in league history they are considered by many as favorites to not only return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007, but also bring home the franchise’s first NBA title – whether they are ready to or not.
“Anybody talking about us winning it all, I think they’re being unfair to those great NBA teams that are out there that have either won it or have been there to win it, and also to us as a team that’s talented but new,” head coach David Blatt said earlier this week. “We have a lot of work to do before we can start claiming anything before it’s time.”
Fair or not, the expectations are there for the Cavs and they will have to deal with them on a nightly basis. In addition, they will have to cope with heightened scrutiny from the media, take their opponents’ best shot night after night, and carry the burden of being the closest team to ending the city’s 50-year championship drought.