ESPN asked 53 basketball analysts (and apparently every one else at their lunch table) to predict who would be the best newcomer this season. Blake Griffin (1 vote) was the only rookie mentioned, so the question really was which team made the best off-season acquisition. The Spurs ‘won’ the poll so to speak with Richard Jefferson (14 votes). Can’t say that I would be able to disagree with that. He is a perfect fit for that team and their needs. If he stays healthy he will help them contend in the West next season.
In second was our own Shaquille O’Neal. (By the way, it still sounds weird to call Shaq our own. Probably always will.) Shaq received 8 votes, edging Ron Artest (6). Here is what the article had to say about the Cavs new lost post weapon-
Witness this: Seven of our voters — and Cleveland’s front office — are banking on a motivated Shaq to take the Cavs to new heights. Although some wonder whether Shaq can take a backseat to LeBron or handle Dwight Howard come playoff time, there’s no question there’s still some Diesel left in the tank. Adding his post presence to a team that won 66 games last season without one makes Shaq’s mission — “Win a ring for the King” — look highly possible.
Take this poll with a grain of salt. The Cavaliers’ off-season is all over the charts when it comes to ‘experts’ and analysts. But obviously we hope they are right. But if the Cavs are going to win a title this season, it won’t just be because of Shaq and LeBron. The Cavs will have to get better production from the backcourt against top level opponents. The bench is another area that has to, and should improve dramatically. With Zydrunas coming off the bench, plus Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker the second unit will have some scoring capabilities. Add Leon Powe for the second half of the season and you have your toughness off the bench.
The picture is from the Cavaliers’ official site, which has an awesome comic book hero theme for the team. You should check it out.