Can The Cavs Finish Top 5 In The Eastern Conference?
The Cavs are looking to make a splash in the Eastern Conference. After an exciting season of basketball that ended with a play-in-bracket bounce, the Cavs and GM Koby Altman have made sure to stack the deck against the rest of the fierce competition in the East.
New addition Donovan Mitchell gives Cleveland a new superstar to rally behind. While he may not be able to fill the void that Lebron left (twice), Mitchell seeks to be an immediate contributor to be the backcourt running mate Darius Garland has needed.
After all, we never really got to see Darius Garland and Collin Sexton work out the fit beside each other.
Mitchell also has some experience playing with Ricky Rubio, who the Cavaliers brought back after he was initially traded for Caris LeVert midseason.
The starting lineup for the Cavs projects to be Garland and Mitchell at the one and two spots. Rookie of the Year snub Evan Mobley and the block-machine Jarrett Allen will be down low.
That leaves one place at the small forward position yet to be filled. The early favorite for this spot will be LeVert, who most call a bucket-getter.
Levert adds another dimension of attacking inside the three-point line and can create opportunities.
The runner-up for this spot is Isaac Okoro, who has shined in the preseason and is a stout defender who can easily switch across multiple positions. The bench is rounded out by Kevin Love, momentous swingman Cedi Osman, and the point guard passer Ricky Rubio.
The East has plenty of talent at the top. The returning Eastern Conference Champs in the Boston Celtics have upgraded their team with the addition of Malcolm Brogdan, yet lost their head coach Ime Udoka to a workplace scandal.
The Milwaukee Bucks will return similarly as last year, led by the man who’s referred to as the “Greek Freak.” Of course, there are the 76ers, led by Joel Embiid and James Harden, but expectations are still tempered in Philly.
That brings us to the Brooklyn Nets. Star power is there with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but considering both wanted off the team this offseason, who knows what that soap opera of a team brings this season.
Missing the playoffs would be a huge failure for the Cavs and Koby Altman. The top of the east is certainly competitive, but head coach J.B. Bickerstaff had this team playing sound team basketball last season that no other team in the east besides the Celtics were matching.
Injuries derailed the Cavs last season, especially in the last 10 games where playoff seeding was decided.
If the Cavs want to finish in the top five of the eastern conference, they need to rely on health being on their side. It seems that Donovan Mitchell has already adopted Cleveland into his heart and is set to be the leader a playoff team needs.
Mitchell brings a lot of playoff experience to this young team, and the Cavs want to put the league on notice.
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