The Cleveland Cavaliers made one of the biggest splashes in the NBA offseason. On a slow news week for NBA fans, the Cavaliers executed a massive trade to acquire shooting guard Donovan Mitchell to pair him with All-Star point guard Darius Garland. The quartet of Mitchell, Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen form four All-Star caliber players and a bright future for the youthful pieces of the nucleus.
Even with the haul, the Cavaliers gave for Mitchell, coach J.B. Bickerstaff still has numerous role players who will provide ample support for the squad. Being young equates to the lack of playoff and high-pressure situations, so Cleveland will need to gain the much-needed exposure. In a tough and deep Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers will be one of the funniest to watch, but there are still some questions about their team.
Can Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland co-exist?
It is no secret that both Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland have thrived as the main ball handler throughout their NBA career. The tandem of Garland and Collin Sexton did not materialize in Cleveland because they were both undersized ball-dominant guards, so this new duo has to get used to having a more selfless approach to the offense.
Garland will likely be the Cavs’ No.1 initiator, and Mitchell must emulate his hero Dwyane Wade and study how Wade flourished when LeBron James joined the Miami Heat. Wade was still a phenomenal player because he manufactured new ways to become more of an efficient scorer. For coach J.B. Bickerstaff, he will likely stagger the minutes of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, which will also aid in the adjustment period.
Who will be the Cavs’ main small forward?
As previously mentioned, the quartet of Cleveland is already set for its first unit. Lauri Markkanen was the starting 3 of the Cavaliers last season, but they now have a hole at that position. Isaac Okoro or Cedi Osman will be slotted at that position, but their numbers and impact last season will not cut it for the Cavaliers.
Okoro has the athleticism and defensive prowess to find a spot in the rotation, but his abysmal offensive abilities are what makes it a glaring question mark for him to play over 30 minutes every night. For Osman, he is a more rounded player than Okoro, but he will need to be more consistent and contribute to more facets of the game. The Cavaliers will be searching for a two-way wing before the trade deadline, but they will need either Okoro or Osman to fill in that void in the meantime.
Was the Donovan Mitchell trade the Cavs’ last big deal?
Topping the Donovan Mitchell trade will not happen in Cleveland. The willingness to execute a trade for another forward will be more than a plausible option because they have the expiring contracts of Kevin Love and Caris LeVert as tradable chips for a disgruntled individual. It will not be a star, but it will be in the same stratosphere as Harrison Barnes or Jerami Grant.
The type of player that Barnes or Grant possess on a given night would fit perfectly into the system of J.B. Bickerstaff. These wings can have an enormous impact on the game even if they attempt less than 10 shots a game for 35 minutes. These types of players will constantly run the lane, cut off-ball sets, and defend the best player on the opposing team.
The foundation of Cleveland has the ingredients to become a championship contender in the next 3-5 years. As they enter Year 2 of building this core, it will be one of the best League Pass squads to monitor this season.