Cleveland is the city that is the mockery of all sports. The Cleveland Browns won the last championship for the city back in 1964. The younger generation constantly hears the glory stories of the past, while never experiencing true triumph.
The city that is best known for winter blizzards, struggling economy and sports moments best forgotten may soon be the city that will rise quickly, much like it did in the early 1900’s when it was a manufacturing powerhouse.
Cleveland was a different city in the 1990s when the Cleveland Cavaliers had a few playoff appearances and the Cleveland Indians were the king of the city, formerly holding the MLB record for consecutive sellouts. A new record was set at Boston’s Fenway Park.
For the most part after 1964, Cleveland was more like a desert full of bones and remains of those loyal fans who endured the hunger and thirst of a championship that likely will never get seen, as opposed to a winter wonderland. Fans of Cleveland teams are taught to endure the failure of their sports teams since the cradle. Many know about the drive, the fumble, the Jose Mesa choke in the 1997 World Series, the Cavs 2007 NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs and the infamous one hour special dubbed “The Decision”.
Now, the excitement of Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer on the Browns as well the return of the prodigal son LeBron James to the Cavaliers may signal a rebirth of a seemingly ancient sports empire.
While there may be a debate on what this sports chapter may be called, the return of the king signals a highly anticipated new era. Whether the team comprised of the current roster or Andrew Wiggins is traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Cavaliers will be the biggest threat in the Eastern Conference.
The Chicago Bulls are generally considered the second best team in the Eastern Conference heading into the 2014-2015 season. The Bulls major off-season splash was signing power forward Pau Gasol. Chicago now has an effective trio of their own, with Gasol, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose when healthy.
As for the Miami Heat will experience a drop off from last year. Losing James to the Cavaliers is a huge blow that could prove costly this year. Miami has signed former Cavaliers and Bulls small forward Luol Deng, which may take some of the pressure off of Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. It will be interesting to see how far Norris Cole is progressing. Cole averaged only 6.4 points per game last season but with James’ return to Cleveland, he may see more opportunities to score.
Here is a look at the projected final standings of the 2014-2015 regular season for the Eastern Conference:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – 57- 25- key players- James, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Wiggins
2. Chicago Bulls – 51-31- key players- Gasol, Noah and Rose
3. Miami Heat – 49-33- key players- Wade, Bosh and Deng
4. Indiana Pacers -47-35- key players- George Paul, Evan Turner and David West
5. Washington Wizards – 46-36 – key players- Nene and John Wall
6. Charlotte Hornets– 43-39 – key players- Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson
7. Toronto Raptors – 42-40 – Kyle Lowry, DeMar Derozan and Amir Johnson
8. New York Knicks – 41-41 – Carmelo Anthony, Tim Hardaway Jr. , Amar’e Stoudemire and Jose Calderon