It's like LeBron never left (except he actually did). The Cleveland Cavaliers have returned to prominence, making their presence known. With a 20-13 record, the Cavs are sitting pretty in a competitive Central division. How has Cleveland returned to its glory in a post-James era?
For starters, they've emphasized the importance of team basketball. Averaging 25.5 APG (seventh in the NBA), the Cavaliers believe in setting up winning plays. That has been orchestrated by Bernie Bickerstaff, who's turned players such as Darius Garland (19.5 PPG, 7.3 APG) into surprisingly great stars.
Having bigs attack the boards has also helped. Jarrett Allen (10.8 RPG), Evan Mobley (8.3 RPG), and Kevin Love (7.4 RPG) have done an excellent job attacking the boards. With Cleveland's size, it's been tough for opponents to get solid opportunities.
Speaking of Love, he's proven to be a great veteran presence on a young team. The five-time all-star has done an excellent job mentoring the rookies on the Cavs. Not only that, but Cleveland has also forged an identity as a big team that sets up great plays and looks. That's a testament to both Bickerstaff and Love. Couple that with a terrific bench ripe with scorers and you have a secretly great team.
LeBron James might be in Hollywood nowadays. However, it appears that the Cavaliers are in great hands. Cleveland has proven that they can create their own excitement without a certain king, giving the city hope for a bright future--and perhaps another NBA title.