Cavs Go West: What We Hope For on West Coast Trip
The Cleveland Cavaliers have played three games so far this season, claiming one win, in a battle with the Hawks at home. This marked the second year in a row with a regular-season win against the talented squad, and it was good to see them close it out.
As they now head West for a four-game spell, here are some things to hope for.
Garland to Get Healthy
Darius Garland is a very good basketball player, and many of the Cavs fans know it. He is somebody that is one of half of their starting backcourt, but he got hurt in the season opener. As a result of this, he has missed the past two games.
Sure, Ricky Rubio can slide in and put in good numbers, but he is supposed to guide the bench. He has been a starter for much of his career and already looks better than he did with the Wolves last year. But, there is a reluctance to use Kevin Pangos from J.B. Bickerstaff.
You need to have two natural point guards healthy. An eight-man rotation so far is not a good thing. The Cavs should be using some younger guys. And hopefully, they will get Garland back on the trip. He is likely to travel with the team, after all.
Mobley’s Continued Dominance
Evan Mobley has looked very much like the real deal through the Cavs first three games. He put up 17-9-6 in his debut, and then posted his first double-double against the Hawks with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and also four blocks. He looks great and can play both power forward and center rather effectively.
He has taken four threes and made just one, but they will come. The six assists from game one are a sign that he can also be a solid passer and hit open guys around him. He has been able to log north of 30 minutes in every game, going for 32, 35, and 38. As long as he holds up, should not be an issue.
Evan Mobley is one of many amazing rookies taken in the recent draft. And Cleveland knows they have a real gem. They will continue to utilize him in all different ways.
Stop Starting Markkanen
Lauri Markkanen was acquired by the Cavs a few months ago and promptly signed to a four-year extension. The plan seemed to be to have him serve as the first big off the bench and split minutes with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. The team had a different idea.
Isaac Okoro started every game he played in a year ago but has been coming off the bench in 2021-22. He is serving as the backup to 7’0 Markkanen, who is for some reason, the starting three. It does not make a ton of sense for them to do this, and bringing Isaac off the bench is not going to make him better.
He is the best defender they have on the perimeter, so choosing to second-unit him is pretty senseless. The battles with both L.A. teams, Phoenix and Denver will be tough. Let’s see how the team plays.
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