How good are the files Cleveland Cavaliers? Have they improved this season? Where do you expect them to end up in the Eastern Conference?
Added: Donovan Mitchell, Ricky Rubio, Robin Lopez, Raul Neto
LOST: Laurie Markkanen, Colin Sexton, Tons of Snaps
I definitely respect the step of sharing with this group. It’s not often that you can add an All Star to your growing young group and have them all relatively on the same timeline. How everything on Earth works is the next big question. I think it could work beautifully and the key element that holds it all together is Evan Mobley. He and Garrett Allen supply the front court defense that should make up for some of the shortcomings that the smaller backcourt can suffer from. Then Evan’s continued development on the offensive end should open up a lot for Mitchell and Darius Garland. This group may need another year of spice to figure it all out, but it will be dangerous for years to come.
This group is a real sleeper in the East. Darius Garland is an offensive drive and it’s hard to imagine a companion who runs in an offensive manner better than Donovan Mitchell. Both should lighten the massive scoring and formation burdens each player carries for their teams. Mitchell shot 42.9% of the photo opportunities in 2020-2021. Garland buried 43.2% of playing alongside Colin Sexton that season. They’ll need to know how to get around starting a pair of 6-1 guards without much wing depth. Mitchell’s trade has left them with a pair of future first rounds to offer, as well as expiring Kevin Love and Caris LeVert contracts to match almost any deal in the league.
Isaac Okoro and LeVert leave a lot to be desired in this most important position in the sport, even though Okoro is only 22 years old and has great physiques. They need a wing to come out and provide at least some three-point shooting. They will miss Ochai Agbaji and Laurie Markanen. Evan Mobley was supposed to win the Rookie of the Year for a defensive rookie season as you can imagine. Jarrett Allen might be the second best rim guard in basketball behind Rudy Gobert and could score as well. The return of Ricky Rubio is huge. He staged this group’s best play last year and his comeback and lack of an accessory berth in last year’s playoff allowed them to virtually take over Levert in the second round. If the offense takes a step forward, it will be a tough team to defeat in the playoffs and finish fourth in the East.
Well, this trade has definitely changed a lot, right? The Cavaliers already had a very compelling – but very young – base trio of Evan Mobley, Darius Garland and Garrett Allen, and now with their hit deal with Utah Jazz, they’ve added 25-year-old Donovan Mitchell, three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell. The Cavs now have four men who should earn All-Star buzz this season, and Mitchell is adding an element of playoff spice that they otherwise lacked (other than the always-reliable Kevin Love, who is now this year’s Sixth Man candidate). The very small backcourt of Garland and Mitchell will be tested defensively, but if any team can ever make up for that weakness, it will be the team where Mobley and Allen patrol the paint. This should be, at worst, a mid-level team in the Eastern Annex of the conference; I’d be shocked if they ended up in the Play-In tournament. (modified)
Before the Donovan Mitchell deal, the Cavaliers were fighting for a playoff spot. But now, they will fight… for a watershed spot? The trade definitely made them better, but it only put them on the same level as the Raptors and the Heat. The Celticsdollars, 76ers, and the networks must remain above them, meaning that one of these seven teams will be in Play-In. (Side note: Are Mitchell really Lauri Markkanen and Ochai Agbaji, three times in the beginning, and two swaps better than Collin Sexton? I don’t think so.)
Donovan Mitchell’s trade has propelled the Cavs into the rare territory of having three stars on their roster – and that doesn’t include Evan Mobley! There is a great deal of talent here, and many of the pieces mesh well together. The Cleveland club snuck into play last year after a poor end to the season. Injuries have really held them back along the stretch. How good the Cavs are depends on the leap Mobley takes. The Cavs are still young in essence, so it looks like they’re a year away. I feel they are in the mix to be 6 to 7 seeds in the East.
I’m amazed that Donovan Mitchell’s trade has been so universally acclaimed, because I don’t think it guarantees them 50 wins or top 6 players. Levert, Mitchell and Garland are all going to need their shots, and I’m skeptical if they’ll stick to an offensive system that allows them to coexist. Kevin Love was a good sport in regards to coming off the bench on the youth roster last year, but now that they’re in winning position now, he probably thinks he should start. Because of this, I think JB Bickerstaff would start Mobley in the three with Love and Allen as big guys. Sure, Mobley has his outside shooting style and perimeter defense to keep his special skills up, but aren’t those skills more valuable when playing the five? Lacking veteran wingers, Dean Wade and Cedi Osman must embrace 3D roles and allow their talented guards to control the ball when attacking.