Dr. J: Cavs different in playoffs, now favorites

Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers have emerged as title favorites, per Dr. J. (AP)

CLEVELAND — Julius Erving said today’s Cavaliers aren’t the same as the team that finished 57-25 in the regular season and won the East’s top playoff spot.

They’re better, the first doctor of basketball told FOX Sports.

“There’s always this consensus that the better teams are in the West, but Cleveland will be a tough matchup, offensively and defensively, for whoever comes out of the West,” Erving said in the exclusive interview.

Erving, affectionately known as Dr. J, remains the greatest player in ABA history, an NBA legend and a Hall of Famer.

Julius Erving is known as the founding father of ABA greatness.

Julius Erving is known as the founding father of ABA greatness.

He went as far as to call the Cavaliers the current favorites — even over the Warriors, who finished with the best record in history at 73-9.

“Because that’s not the team that played in the regular season,” Erving said of the Cavs. “This team right now, they’re on to something that just kind of makes them a force to be reckoned with, and they’d have to be the favorites right now, in my book.”

Erving offered high praise for LeBron James — but also indicated the Cavs are much more than All LeBron, All The Time.

“LeBron is less of a dominant force and he’s still the key to the mint,” Erving told FOX Sports. “But they’re getting more from more places — Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Channing Frye. Are you kidding me? I just watched (Frye) on Friday and he was all-world, scored 30 points. J.R. Smith, (Iman) Shumpert, Tristan Thompson — I’m just looking at this team, and I’m like, ‘Man.'”

The Cavs meet the winner of the Heat-Raptors series in the East finals.

“Currently, how they’re playing, they’re playing better than the Warriors, better than the Spurs, better than Portland and better than Oklahoma City, and better than Miami and better than Toronto,” Erving told FOX Sports of the Cavs.

“They are playing the best basketball right now.”

Click here for the full interview with Erving on FOX Sports.

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