Wednesday , Oct , 07 , 2009 Oly Sandor

LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal not enough for Cleveland to win NBA Title

Their interest is justified. The five-man, even at 37 and rocking the ‘XXL’, can still battle elite posts like Dwight Howard, which gives James his best opportunity at an NBA Title. Raising a banner, in turn, gives the organization its best opportunity at re-signing the reigning MVP when he hits free agency in July …

LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal not enough for Cleveland to win NBA TitleEvery day until the regular season begins, HoopsVibe the Blog will ask and answer an important question facing each of the NBA’s thirty teams. Weigh-in with thoughts on our Key Questions feature in the comment box below.

Today’s team: Cleveland Cavaliers.

Key Question:
Can Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James win Cleveland an NBA Title?

The Answer: Yes, but they need help.   

For months, the city of Cleveland has been taken with O’Neal, their newest addition acquired in an off-season trade with the Phoenix Suns. Fans and media have followed the perennial All-Star’s every move like teenagers stalking the cast of Twilight.      

Their interest is justified. The five-man, even at 37 and rocking ‘XXL‘, can still battle elite posts like Dwight Howard, which gives James his best opportunity at an NBA Title. Raising a banner, in turn, gives the organization its best opportunity at re-signing the reigning MVP when he hits free agency in July. 

While James and O’Neal will form a dynamic duo, other dominoes, particularly on the perimeter, must fall into place for the Cavaliers to upstage the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, and San Antonio Spurs for the 2010 championship.

Point guard Mo Williams must rebound from a mixed year. The scoring table-setter was named to his first All-Star game because of strong play in the regular season, but vanished in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Magic. Greater consistency is needed.

The two-spot is also uncertain. Like Williams, Delonte West had a solid regular season before stumbling in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Magic’s larger perimeter players. Recently, the combo guard was arrested for gun possession and missed the start of training camp with mental health issues (hopefully, West is taking care of himself).

Realizing his backcourt was unsettled, GM Danny Ferry wisely signed Anthony Parker as a free agent. The former Euro league star and Toronto Raptor is steady, plays all perimeter positions well, and, at 6-6, possesses the size to defend the NBA’s biggest swings. Parker will see major minutes if Williams or West stumble.

The rest of the supporting cast is solid but hardly spectacular. Super-pest Anderson Varejao will start at the four-spot, while Daniel Gibson, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jamario Moon round out Coach Mike Brown’s rotation.    

Prediction: Championship contenders. ‘Big Threes’ and ‘Fantastic Fours’ have become the norm, so winning an NBA Title depends on the Cavaliers’ supporting pieces assisting the James-O’Neal duo.   

Sound off: Where will Cleveland finish in 2010? Get at us in the comment box below; follow Oly on HoopsVibe and Twitter. Photo courtesy of Kyle Kutuchief.