Cleveland Cavaliers 2001-02 Capsule
COACH: John Lucas (first season, 136-171 overall)
LAST SEASON: 30-52, sixth in Central Division
ARRIVALS: C Michael Doleac (trade with Orlando), F Tyrone Hill (trade with Philadelphia), F Jumaine Jones (trade with Philadelphia), G Bryant Stith (free agent), C DeSagana Diop (first-round pick)
DEPARTURES: F Chris Gatling, F Clarence Weatherspoon, F Cedric Henderson, F Robert Traylor, F Matt Harpring, G-F Jim Jackson
SLAM DUNKS: In an annual ritual, the Cavs are hoping C Zydrunas Ilgauskas (11.7, ppg, 6.7 rpg) is healthy. They were 15-9 with him and 15-43 without him last season, when he went down for the fourth time in five seasons with a broken foot. G Andre Miller (15.8, 8.0 apg) is the team's best player and a quietly emerging star. The addition of Hill (9.6, 9.1 rpg) makes the Cavs tougher and Jones (4.7) brings sorely needed athleticism. There is some potential scoring punch in F Lamond Murray (12.8) and G Wesley Person (7.1).
AIRBALLS: Ilgauskas isn't the only injured center. Diop, the man-child of a first-round pick, has a stress reaction in his foot which could slow his needed development. Doleac (6.4, 3.6) and C Chris Mihm (7.6, 4.8) are not the long-term answer. On the perimeter, Murray can score, Person can shoot and Stith (9.7) can play defense. But none does any of the other things very well. Who is rebounding besides Hill, who has developing back problems? The biggest shortcoming is the absence of a star who can keep defenses honest and get the attention of referees.
IN THE ZONE: The Cavs have some shooting in Person and G Trajan Langdon that can beat a zone. What they don't have is an explosive offensive player who can get in the seams and force the defense to move. They also do not have a defensive presence that can camp in the paint.
OUTLOOK: This team really has no chance of making the playoffs and would be the worst in the conference if not for Chicago. Lucas and GM Jim Paxson should use this season as one to take a look at whom they want to build around and whom they want to discard.