Cleveland Cavaliers add Donovan Mitchell, can taste contention

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The Cleveland Cavaliers received the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes
Photograph: Getty Photos

Effectively, take a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

A franchise that has been moribund for practically yearly of the brand new millennium that didn’t embody LeBron James could have simply turned itself again into an Jap Convention contender. One week earlier than the beginning of the NFL season, the Cavs despatched a shockwave all through the sports activities world by being the workforce that pulled off the Donovan Mitchell commerce.

Buying Mitchell from the Utah Jazz, meant the Cavs have been going to have to barter with Danny Ainge. And by negotiate, I imply, be prepared to present Ainge a kidney and a firstborn little one. The value for Mitchell was set when the Jazz traded Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves and obtained three rotation gamers, three unprotected first-round picks, and two decide swaps.

The Mitchell commerce additionally price the Cavs three unprotected first-round alternatives and two decide swaps, and in addition Colin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, and their 2022 first-round decide, Ochair Agbaji, in accordance with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That’s fairly a haul for a participant who’s below 6-foot-5 and in 5 seasons has by no means been named to an All-NBA workforce. Nonetheless, placing him in a beginning 5 with Evan Mobley and Darius Garland can flip a workforce that misplaced within the play-in match final season right into a juggernaut.

Scottie Barnes deserved Rookie of the Yr in 2022, however the star of final season’s NBA rookie class goes to be Mobley. He averaged 15 factors per recreation and eight.3 rebounds on 50.8 % capturing, however that doesn’t inform practically the entire story. Mobley has all of the makings of a participant who may someday be top-five within the NBA.

He’s a 7-footer with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, and moves on the court like a small forward. Quick off his feet, great lateral quickness, and he’s also already one of the better rim protectors in the league. It doesn’t take long watching Mobley on a court to tell that he has a bright NBA future. With Jarrett Allen also in the frontcourt, those two can cover up for much of whatever Garland and Mitchell don’t do on defense.

Pairing Mitchell with Garland in the backcourt gives the Cavs a monster two-headed on-the-ball attack. When James and Kyrie Irving were teammates, defenses were at the Cavs’ mercy because they had two players who were arguably the best in the NBA with the ball in their hands. Mitchell and Garland aren’t that, but they will still be dangerous. Mitchell can get to the basket on anybody and is also a career 36 percent shooter from three. He’s the type of player that can produce several 30-50 point games in a playoff series. There is a ton of talent in the NBA, but only a small percentage of players are able to score like that.

After an up-and-down rookie season, and missing a lot of time in his second due to injury, in 2021-22 Garland showed why he was selected fifth overall in 2019. He averaged 21.7 points per game and 8.6 assists on 46.2/38.3/89.2 shooting splits. Garland made his first all-star team last year, and with him running the offense the Cavs finished the year with their best record without James since the 1997-98 season — Shawn Kemp’s last as an All-Star.

Keeping the same roster and trusting that it would gradually improve would’ve been a good choice for the Cavs, but this trade shows they want to contend immediately. Their depth took a hit, but they still have Caris Levert, Cedi Osman, Raul Neto, Issac Okoro for more help on defense, and Kevin Love. Since James and Irving left, Love has been disengaged, but with him being a free agent after this season, and the Cavs’ strong starting lineup, put your bets in now for Love to win Sixth-Man of the Year.

Koby Altman and the Cavs took a humongous swing with this Mitchell trade, but even after all they gave up, their current roster looks complete. Dominant, long, young talent in the front court and an attacking backcourt that is a threat from behind the arc. There’s going to be some exciting basketball in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.





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