Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers have been rolling as the NBA season returns from its annual All-Star break, with the festivities taking place this past weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mitchell has been playing at a near MVP level in recent weeks for the Cavs, who are now firmly entrenched in the number two spot in the Eastern Conference as the season enters its home stretch.

With all of the winning that they’ve been doing recently, Mitchell and the Cavs have been gripping the attention of several prominent figures throughout the NBA landscape, including former Boston Celtics legend and 2008 NBA champion Paul Pierce.

“Cleveland is startin’ to separate themselves,” Pierce said, per the KG Certified podcast with former Celtics teammate Kevin Garnett (via Jason Simpson of Cavaliers Nation). “… They lookin’ like they wanna be in that upper tier ’cause right now, ain’t nobody playin’ better than Cleveland. Nobody playin’ better than Cleveland in the whole league. … They tryna put theyself in that tier to where they like, ‘We wanna be in the conference finals versus the [Boston] Celtics if everybody’s healthy.’”

Indeed, the Cavs have looked elite essentially ever since the calendar flipped over to 2024, with Donovan Mitchell not only keeping Cleveland afloat during a slew of injuries, including to starters Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, but actually making up immense ground in the standings during that time, further solidifying his case as a potential MVP candidate.

The Cavs will next take the floor on Friday evening on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers.