Pretty Much Screwed: The 2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Rick Chandler

Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our definitive guide to the upcoming NBA season. This team-by-team preview details why it’s probably not your favorite team’s year. Today: We’ll talk about the Cavaliers.

So Cleveland coaches were wondering why Anthony Bennett, the UNLV forward taken No. 1 overall in this year’s draft, was getting so winded in games and practices. Turns out it’s because he has asthma and sleep apnea. That this was not known before draft day is probably the most Cleveland thing that could have happened. Associated Press:

Bennett has had some breathing issues during workouts and in preseason games, and him being sometimes winded had been attributed to him not being able to work out as much this summer after undergoing shoulder surgery in May. But Brown said Bennett also deals with asthma and wears a mask at night for his sleep apnea.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of things,” Brown said. “The shoulder, he’s been out for a while, he’s got asthma.”

Oh, also:

“He’s got sleep apnea and some other things. He likes to stay up late.”

Bennett was only 2-for-12 in his first preseason game, but look what he did in the fourth quarter of his third game, vs. the Magic. Impressive.

In Second Place Is This:

The Cavs will start Anderson Varejao at center with Zeller as his backup on opening night, most likely. Andrew Bynum will join the rotation once he gets healthy (issues with both his knees — probably won’t play meaningful minutes until after the All-Star break). And Varejao is also injury-prone, having missed several games last season with a blot clot in his lung. Yikes. Their new mascot is a very old dog with a walker.

Why They Might Not Be Screwed

If Bynum somehow comes back ahead of schedule, he’ll team with Kyrie Irving to give the Cavs two 2012-13 All-Star starters. Add new signees Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark, and returners Deion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, and suddenly Cleveland has a real chance to rock.

But …

The Bulls and Pacers are both in their division. Serenity Now!

Cavaliers Fun Facts

• Mike Brown hasn’t missed the playoffs in this century. The last time a team involving him as a coach didn’t make the playoffs was 1999.

• The Cavs’ mascot, Moondog (born in 2003), is named after legendary Cleveland DJ Alan Freed. The team’s previous mascot? Whammer, a polar bear.

• Pepsi is bringing back Uncle Drew!

Actual season prediction: 44-38, 2nd Central.