Cleveland Cavaliers 2022/23 Season Outlook|
The Cleveland Cavaliers are entering the 2022/23 NBA season with heightened expectations following their offseason moves.
The side finished ninth in the Eastern Conference last term after a hot start that saw them end the campaign with a 44-38 record and lose the play-in game to the Brooklyn Nets.
However, anything less than a playoff appearance this season will be considered a failure, given the current roster. The Cavs acquired point guard Donovan Mitchell via trade during the summer, bringing him in from the Utah Jazz in exchange for Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, and Ochai Agbaji, three first-round picks, and two pick swaps on September 1. The three-time All-Star was keen on a trade this year and is happy to be playing elsewhere; it’s reported that he ran around screaming when he was told the Cavs didn't have to trade any of their main core to get a deal over the line.
The Cavs have struggled to remain relevant during the non-LeBron years and have had difficulty putting a competitive roster together since his second departure in 2018. General manager Koby Altman worked diligently, however. And, while its taken a few years, the team looks well-equipped to compete in the Eastern Conference again.
Altman's work has left little to be desired and plenty to be admired. Cleveland fashioned a move that saw them land Jarrett Allen from the Nets and they've since gotten Caris LeVert on the squad. The'’ve also drafted Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, topping it off with a trade for Mitchell during the offseason.
They are now viewed as one of the teams to beat in the East and are sixth on the favorites ladder in such regard on most of the major betting sites with 14/1 odds. Folks can also snag 16/1 odds on the Cavs chances in the East and would also do well to get in on the early bird DraftKings Ohio promo which will become available in early 2023. By then, we will have a much clearer picture of how far this team can go.
With their backcourt pairing of Mitchell and Garland, scoring will definitely not be an issue for Cleveland. Both these guards can create scoring opportunities for themselves and for others, while Mobley has a very respectable jumper and can stretch the floor. Allen is a threat around the rim and will be a lob target on offense. The center is projected to average above 17 points per game on 65 percent shooting from the field in the coming season.
The Cavaliers are also expected to show improvement on the other side of the ball. Their starting guards aren't known for their defense and Mitchell was particularly bad against the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs earlier this year, so much so, folks have questioned whether he could ever become the two-way star he showed signs of being early in his career. He has an opportunity to show that he can be but only time will tell.
Mobley, Allen, and Isaac Okoro are quite capable of defending the frontcourt. And Okoro has been singled out as a defensive threat, with an unnamed Eastern Conference coach likening him to Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler.
"Like Jimmy Butler, he's not going to give you anything easy, and not just because of the level of physicality," the coach told The Athletic. "I think he embraces that role of being that guy. He takes that challenge, and it's hard to do every night. It's easy to get up for the marquee matchup, or it's easy to maybe take possessions off here and there. But he doesn't seem to do that. He just has that mindset and knows how impactful that is for a group. Hes a guy that buys in. He's not necessarily worried about anything else. He's comfortable knowing, " can impact winning by doing just this."
If the swingman can improve his scoring production and average at least 12-15 points a game - he averaged 8.8 PPG last season - the Cavs will be even more dangerous.
While they're expected to be a threat in the East, the Cavs are still far from being title contenders, but they could be only a few seasons away. A top-four seed and second-round playoff appearance aren't out of the question for this young side, however.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will begin their season away against the Toronto Raptors this Wednesday. The game will be sure to attract lots of attention as just about everyone is interested in seeing how they get their campaign underway.