As they enter the fourth season of their post-LeBron James rebuild, the Cavaliers finally feel like they’re starting to put together some promising pieces. Point guard Darius Garland took major strides as a pick-and-roll creator and pull-up shooter in his second season, and should keep improving this year. Isaac Okoro already looks like a lockdown wing defender, and Collin Sexton has proven he can be a microwave scorer. Add in the huge ceiling of this year’s No. 3 overall pick Evan Mobley, and it’s possible there’s something nice brewing in Cleveland. Don’t expect a huge jump up the standings this year, but another year of progress from their top young players would be encouraging.
The Cavs’ best scenario involves a play-in tournament appearance. This is still a very young team, but if everything clicks, there’s a chance they could take a meaningful step forward this year. If this happens, it might mean Darius Garland has a massive year and looks like a franchise cornerstone.
Cleveland could again be one of the worst teams in the league and lack any forward momentum heading out of the season. The Cavs are young, but they also have contract decisions to make in regards to Collin Sexton right now, and after this year, Darius Garland. If they are just bad again and don’t seem to be going anywhere it makes those decisions complicated and puts everyone in a difficult position.
Odds are, the Cavs are going to finish somewhere in-between the bottom and the play-in tournament. There should be expectation for growth, but it’s also a team that is built on youth. There’s just no way that a team this young doesn’t face some serious adversity along the way. The Eastern Conference is also better this year, meaning a massive leap will be tricky for the Cavs to accomplish unless everything breaks right.
It’s all about Darius Garland and Evan Mobley. The former is the most talked about player in Cavs training camp and for good reason: the third-year year guard has all the skills to be one the league’s up-and-coming stars and is arguably the most important player on the roster. The latter, meanwhile, is the team’s top pick and how the Cavs bring him along is one of the biggest storylines to watch this season considering how important he is to the team’s future.
Larry Nance Jr.