Hollinger's Team Forecast: Cleveland Cavaliers

Originally Published: October 3, 2006
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
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Cleveland's LeBron-led basketball revival saw more progress, as King James continued on his path to basketball domination and brought the Cavs along for the ride. The third-year prodigy finished second in MVP voting after leading Cleveland to a 50-win season, and put the Cavs into the second round of the playoffs for the first time since Craig Ehlo was flailing at Michael Jordan. As an added plus, he nearly led Cleveland to a stunning second-round upset of the Pistons, as the Cavs went up 3-2 before falling in seven games.

LeBron James
AP PhotoLeBron's new deal means Cleveland will be in contention again.

It's hard to overstate how good James was. He finished third in scoring at 31.4 points per game, and threw in 7.7 boards and 6.6 assists to finish with the league's second-best PER (player efficiency rating). (Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki edged James by a whisker.) He not only played better than anyone else in the league, but more -- a whopping 42.5 minutes per game. Though he seemed tireless, the Cavs probably erred by playing their young star so much -- they have to be thinking long-term with the man who is the team's future.