The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the 2013 offseason coming off a 58-loss campaign with a young roster desperate for some veteran help.
General manager Chris Grant seemingly delivered, adding the services of Jarrett Jack, Earl Clark and Andrew Bynum to a core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao.
This free agent haul, coupled with draft picks Anthony Bennett, Sergey Karasev and Carrick Felix, have helped add talent, depth and likely a good number of wins to the Cavaliers for next season.
Just how many wins these additions will contribute is anyone's guess at this point.
Still a few months from the season's tip-off, we can only speculate as to what kind of record the Cavs will end up with and if a playoff spot is indeed a possibility.
Beginning their full transformation in 2010, the Cavaliers have stocked up on draft picks and young talent to build their franchise around.
Three years later, it's time to cash in on those assets.
Gaining those high lottery picks has come as a cost. The Cavaliers finished with 19, 21 and 24 wins the past three seasons, playing at times nearly unwatchable basketball.
They have finished last in the Central Division the past three seasons, missing the playoffs every time.
The Cavs seem to be on pace to increase their win total once again, but by how much?
The Cavs' lottery picks have slowing been gaining valuable experience. Part of developing a young team is enduring some losing seasons, but doing it with players that will one day become better by getting them experience on the court.
In essence, a team is sacrificing wins in the present for even more victories in the future.
This has precisely been the Cavaliers' plan.
Kyrie Irving was named a starter from day one. He now enters his third professional season, already an All-Star and former Rookie of the Year.
Tristan Thompson also enters his third season after showing tremendous development last year. He started all 82 games for the Cavs, averaging 12.1 points and 10.1 rebounds after the All-Star break.
Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller are no longer rookies and are coming off their second straight year playing in the NBA Summer League.
All four players were starters for the Cavaliers last year, and they will now bring 10 years of NBA experience to the court with them next season.
Draft and Free Agency
As mentioned previously, the Cavs have made quite a few moves this offseason.
Bringing in Bennett adds a pick-and-roll partner for Kyrie Irving who can score from the inside and out. Karasev is an outside-shooting threat and Felix can guard multiple positions. All give the Cavs added skill in multiple areas.
In free agency, Jack is the veteran backcourt player the team needed. He helped the Golden State Warriors turn around from a lottery team into a playoff squad. His presence in practices and games will only aid in the development of Irving and Waiters.
Clark gives them added depth at both forward positions and should challenge for the starting small forward role. He's a good rebounder with great size at 6'10".
The wild card will be Andrew Bynum. The former All-Star center is still about 20 pounds away from game shape, but he is a monster down low when healthy. Irving and a healthy Bynum are already a strong core for a playoff team, regardless of who else is on the roster.
Bynum will be the biggest factor in the Cavs win total this season, bar none.
Only eight teams in the Eastern Conference can make the playoffs, regardless of how many improved this offseason.
The Celtics traded away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and are entering into their own rebuilding mode. The Hawks lost Josh Smith to free agency, and the Bucks saw Monta Ellis sign with the Dallas Mavericks and have yet to re-sign Brandon Jennings.
This likely means that three playoff spots are wide open for the taking, with the Cavs having as good a chance as anyone else in the East to snag one.
Besides the Cavs, some other young teams are also on the rise.
The Detroit Pistons added Josh Smith to their core of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, and with good point guard play could challenge for a playoff spot. The Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards should also be much improved, and they finished ahead of Cleveland in the standings last season.
The Cavs final win-loss number will ultimately come down to the health of the team. Andrew Bynum, Anderson Varejao and Kyrie Irving all have a history of injuries and must stay healthy for the Cavs to reach the postseason.
We've seen young teams like the Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder endure dramatic turnarounds in just one season, due to development of their young players coupled with a few veteran free agent signings.
The Cavaliers could definitely be the next in line for such a turnaround.
Cleveland will be a much improved team next season, and under the assumption that their players stay healthy, will make the playoffs with a winning record.
2013-2014 Projected Record: 42-40
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!