The Cavaliers were the most unexpected team of the season. Cleveland ended up with 44 wins despite Las Vegas only picking them to win 27 games. Injuries also played a role in the Cavaliers falling out of the top 6 late in the season, and they ultimately lost in the play-in games to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks.
The defensive big man tandem of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley was the team’s safety net, while Darius Garland made a significant improvement and turned into one of the NBA’s top playmakers.
Both he and Allen received their first All-Star Game invitations; Mobley narrowly missed winning the honor for Rookie of the Season but would have been an as excellent choice as Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors.
The foundation of the Cavaliers is this trio, who are all still bound by long-term deals and are anticipated to guide the team into its most prosperous era outside of LeBron James. To make this work, outside assistance was also recruited. The Cavs acquired Donovan Mitchell in a trade, which was a more than unexpected move, and now have four players who may all be All-Stars but aren’t even in the prime of their careers.
Four years after LeBron’s second departure, the rebuild is complete, in part because they essentially traded their whole future for Mitchell (three first-rounders plus 2 exchange rights between 2025 and 2029). With this quartet, Cleveland sought to play at the top while also making significant personnel adjustments. While Sexton and Markkanen’s absences can be overlooked, backups Neto and Lopez are solid centers and guards, respectively. Garland didn’t get along with Sexton, and Finn was ineffective as a small forward.
The shortcomings of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Aside from Garland Shot Creation, the main issue at this building site was resolved the previous year with the inclusion of Mitchell.
The Cavaliers currently have one of the smaller backcourts in the NBA, and neither player is regarded as a plus defender. This ought to be a significant issue, particularly during the postseason. You at least have a backup on the bench in case Rubio returns following his cruciate ligament rupture.
On the wing, it appears differently. Otherwise, hopes are placed in Dean Wade because Okoro is more of a guard than a wing defender. Though not much more, it is sturdy. Here, Cleveland will need to improve over the next few years. Since shooting from the backcourt is also uncommon, it would be ideal if this Mr. X could defend and throw. The jumbo lineup last year worked because at least Markkanen was a dangerous shooter; however, this component has since separated.