The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to assert their post-LeBron James identity on the league in 2022-23. After a strong season in 2021-22 that was hampered by injuries, the Cavaliers saw 2 players on their roster be named as All-Stars in Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen. They have added to their firepower by trading for 3-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz.
The Cavaliers swooped in for Mitchell out of nowhere, with everyone assuming he would join the New York Knicks. The Cavaliers' offer of Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, 2022 first-round selection Ochai Agbaji, and 5 picks was more than enough to make Danny Ainge feel comfortable with sending Mitchell away. The 24-year-old guard is looking forward to playing with his new teammates.
Upgrading Sexton, who missed most of last season with an injury, with Mitchell could be massive for the team. With the retention of all their top-star and young wing in Isaac Okoro, and veterans like Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, the Cavaliers are looking ready to upset the status quo in the Eastern Conference this season.
Cavaliers Roster After The Donovan Mitchell Trade
PG: Darius Garland, Ricky Rubio, Raul Neto
SG: Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert, RJ Nembhard Jr., Luke Travers
SF: Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman, Dean Wade, Dylan Windler
PF: Evan Mobley, Kevin Love, Lamar Stevens, Isaiah Mobley
C: Jarrett Allen, Robin Lopez
Can The New-Look Cleveland Cavaliers Earn A Top-4 Seed In The Eastern Conference?
The Cleveland Cavaliers definitely look the best they have since LeBron James was running the show last in 2018. By drafting smart over the post-LeBron years, the Cavaliers have constructed a very dangerous roster. 3 of the 5 players were All-Stars last season, and Evan Mobley is considered to be a generational prospect, especially defensively.
Isaac Okoro is the biggest question for the Cavs and whether developing him to reach his full potential is worth it. His lack of polished offensive skills can hold the Cavs back at times, but the scoring that Mitchell and Garland can provide should compensate for that. Defensively, having both Allen and Mobley protecting the rim makes them one of the most intimidating teams in the paint.
Off the bench, the Cavaliers still have a lot of useful players that will come in handy for a playoff run. Experienced veterans like Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love have a lot to offer the team still. Rubio is the best pure creator on the team and will be running the bench unit quite often and creating for the other talismanic guards on the team.
Kevin Love is arguably a Cavs legend at this point and the only player on the team to have represented the Cavs in the playoffs before. He stretches the floor and provides a strong presence on the inside block to create offense in a way that Mobley and Allen cannot. His versatility makes him incredibly useful.
Caris LeVert could start as a small forward if he had to on this team, as he has the physicality for the position. However, his defense could be better. The same can be said for Cedi Osman, who is a more experienced small forward than Okoro but doesn't have the best stylistic fit on the court with the guards.
This team will look to be in the same conversation as the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers. Usurping one of those 4 teams to a top-4 seed will be hard. Hopefully, good health can aid the Cavs into a season where they can even look to progress to the second round with this polished but still young team.