NBA Team Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers
HEY CLEVELAND! Your first game is on October 20th, which is right around the corner. After three subpar campaigns in a row, it’s time to start turning the tide, right? There is no need for anybody named Ben Simmons around here.
The backcourt is incredible and they now have a very affluent frontcourt too. This is a team on the rise that is going to be treated as they should before too long.
The New Guys
There are three players now with the Cavs who were not hear that last year that all project to play key roles in their improvement. The first is Lauri Markkanen, who they acquired from the Bulls in a three-team deal about a month ago. Lauri can bring a lot to the table as a 7’0 who can shoot the ball from all over the court.
He has some injury history and isn’t known for being strong, exactly. But as a big floor-spacer, he can make things tough for guys trying to guard him. They have Evan Mobley, taken #3 overall. He is brimming with potential, and projects to be a star in the league for many years to come.
As soon as he figures out a consistent jumper, he will be pretty much unstoppable. And then there is the veteran Ricky Rubio. He has been around the block and back, and is looking to continue to be more than serviceable. He will be the first guard off the bench to open the season.
All of his mentoring of the fellas in Minnesota and Phoenix will be a big tool, as he works with Garland and Sexton.
Cutting Dead Weight
The biggest name lost by the Cavs in the offseason was Isaiah Hartenstein, who opted to take a non-guaranteed flier from the Clippers. He had a soft touch inside and is a good passer and rim protector. He fouled a bit too much, but they will still miss his presence.
They also just cut Brodric Thomas and Mfiondu Kabengele. Thomas had it coming, as he was struggling in all aspects of the game. They have a two-way spot open now that he’s off the team. And as for Mfiondu, it is a little surprising.
He can shoot the three well for a big guy and rebounds it well. It is unclear what the next steps for his career will be. They also let go of Damyean Dotson, who had a very up-and-down season that finished on the wrong end. They traded Larry Nance Jr. & Taurean Prince.
Both of them are now in the West and will benefit their new teams well. But, the team wills surely miss them.
TO WIN TITLE: +50000 TO WIN EAST: +25000 TO WIN CENTRAL DIVISION: +5000 (4TH)
Making the conference finals is an impossibility for Cleveland this year. But a trip to the playoffs could happen if they believe in themselves and play hard. They need to show their coach J.B. Bickerstaff that they care enough to help him keep his job.
Sexton and Garland are both All-Star candidates and will play big roles. They can fill it up on command and know too, how to find the open teammates for baskets. Isaac Okoro is going to be so much better in year two all the way around.
Okoro is a menace on the defensive end, who will be an improved scorer. He works his tail off to improve as a basketball player. And the $100 million man Jarrett Allen is ready to hold it down. He can block shots at a high clip and dunk on any player trying to slow him down. Look for him to dominate and be an All-Defense candidate.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.