Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell had lofty expectations for the Cavs following shootaround on Wednesday morning, wrote Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor in a Thursday article.
“We expect to be not just a playoff team but a contender,” Donovan Mitchell said. “I think we believe. It’s one thing to believe it at first but then to see it and feel it. More believers now than we were at the beginning of the year.
“Just going out there, laying that foundation and continuing to build. Games like tonight help. This is a team that has been to the Finals, been in the playoffs every year since I’ve been in the league.”
Donovan Mitchell doubled down on that statement after a 117-113 loss by the Cavs to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, continued Fedor.
“I think we’re capable of being a championship team,” Mitchell said. “Obviously, it’s no secret that we lack the experience. When people talk, we’re not in their top 3 or whatever it is, and that’s fine, but the biggest thing for us is we believe we can not just make the playoffs but make a deep run.”
The Cavs have already faced two of their most formidable remaining opponents this season, falling in both games by a combined 10 points. They still have to face the Celtics once more, the Miami Heat twice and the Philadelphia 76ers one more time.
Cavs general manager Koby Altman said this year was not “contention or bust” during the team’s media day in September.
“I said this at (Mitchell) ‘s press conference: This year is not ‘contention or bust’ at all,” Altman said. “We’re still a very young group, and we’re gaining experience.
“I think we played 84 games last year. We most certainly want to play more than 84 this year. This is a runway that we have here. We have multiple guys under contract for the foreseeable future. We want to grow, add more playoff experience and build towards something.”