Cleveland Cavaliers: Pretenders Or Competitors?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have failed to get to the playoffs since 2018, as they were bounced out of the play-in tournament last season.
However, with the addition of Donovan Mitchell, maturation of young talent and addition of other solid pieces, the Cavs are poised to not only end their playoff drought this season, but be in the mix for the first seed in the Eastern Conference.
At the time of this writing, they sit just two games out of the top seed in the conference, but it’s far from a certainty that they will end up in that spot, as the teams they’re battling it out with are very talented in their own right.
What’s Brewing In Cleveland?
Mitchell has wasted no time in finding his footing with his new squad, as he’s averaging nearly 30 points per game on over 50 percent shooting from the field while being available for most of the games.
Spida has been exactly the guy the Cavs were missing last year, and that is a bonafide scorer who can take over games down the stretch and will his team to victory off his shot creation from all three levels alone.
Mitchell’s presence has allowed for Darius Garland to focus more on his playmaking skills while also having more space to create his own looks.
Jarrett Allen also remains one of the best rim protectors in the league, as he continues to swat away shots and prevent easy looks at the rim.
Evan Mobley is continuing to develop his game as a young prospect but as the season progresses, he should be able to improve on his scoring abilities in the paint and in the mid-range.
The Cavs also have incredible depth with Caris LeVert, Kevin Love, Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens all playing important roles. All of them provide some much needed combination of scoring, playmaking and 3-point shooting.
The Cavs will eventually need more from Mobley, but the pieces are all in place for them to be an elite team.
The East is stacked with elite teams this year with the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks and Miami Heat all in the mix.
Most of those teams have players who have won championships before and have done things at an extremely high level in this league.
The fact that the Cavs find themselves in this group is a testament to how far they’ve come along in just a few seasons and the resolve of the front office to make the right moves to get them here.
However, while the Cavs will almost certainly be in the mix with these teams all season long, it will likely be too tall of a task to ask this team to be competitive with the other elite teams in their conference this season, but over the course of the next few seasons, they will easily be firmly in the championship mix.
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