Eastern Conference Power Rankings: Cavs leap after Mitchell trade

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images /
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Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics and Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz. Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images /

Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers made a huge leap forward. One year after winning just 22 games they doubled their win total to 44, finishing with the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference and the sixth-best point differential.

Yet sudden surges are often followed by a settling period, rather than evidence of a second surge to come. A Cavs team simply “running it back” could be expected to do well, but it was no guarantee they would continue to move up the standings.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are making a surge up the Eastern Conference Power Rankings. Where do the Cavs and the rest of the East end up?

That what if is now a moot point, however, as the Cavs didn’t stand pat. They made a colossal swing, trading for All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell and announcing to the rest of the East that they are here to play ball with the big kids. The Cavs now have three 2022 All-Stars, something only the Golden State Warriors can claim.

Where exactly does that leave the Cavs for this season? Long-term the Cavs are set up as well as any team in the conference, with potential as big as Lake Erie, but they are also a relatively young team whose incumbent stars have never played a playoff minute. Let’s take the opportunity, after a summer of trades and non-trades and signings, to rank every team in the East.

Who are the favorites? Where do the Cavs land? And which teams that expect to make the playoffs will be left out in the cold?