How the Cleveland Cavaliers stack up against the Brooklyn Nets

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

If the season were to end right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers would be set to face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. A seven-game series that would actually be incredibly interesting to watch for fans of either or neither team.

This is a matchup that includes three dominant defensive big men, in Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Nic Claxton. There are also some high scoring wings in Donovan Mitchell, Mikal Bridges, Cam Thomas, and Caris LeVert.

To say that this would be an insanely fun matchup for the first round would somehow be an understatement. This is with the context that the first round is going to be incredibly fun in both conferences this season. From New York Knicks fans to a potential Kevin Durant tribute video for his time with the Golden State Warriors (he still hasn’t played against them since leaving in 2019) there are plenty of entertaining stories that could happen in just the first round of the playoffs this year.

The playoff berth of this young Cavs roster and potential matchup against a post-Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets team is among the top of those stories.

Where do the Cleveland Cavaliers have an advantage over the Nets?

The Cavaliers have a number of advantages in this series. The bigger issue is going to be finding ways to bring them into focus with players like Mikal Bridges and Nic Claxton on the opposing defense.

The Cavs have a clear size advantage on the Nets. With Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen both starting, it makes the frontcourt of Dorian Finney-Smith and Nic Claxton look small. Add the ability to move the ever-improving Mobley to center and Dean Wade to power forward and they have the ability to run at least one 7-footer on the floor at all times. This could cause problems for the Nets.

Another area the Cavs have an advantage in is their defense. While the Nets do have Mikal Bridges, Ben Simmons, and Nic Claxton who are all incredible defenders in their own right, the Cavaliers have Mobley and Allen.

A modern NBA team who can run two defensive-minded big men can shut down most opposing offenses by stopping any and all scoring in the paint. This is exactly how the Cavs operate. If one of their two big men get switched out onto the perimeter, the other will rotate in to protect the paint. What makes this even more deadly is the fact that both of them are excellent at moving their feet and are able to switch one through five.

Add a quality defensive season from the Cavaliers backcourt and Isaac Okoro playing the forward and the Nets could have some issues scoring in this series. With J.B. Bickerstaff having time to plan for them, it could get even more difficult for them.

On top of both of those areas where the Cavaliers have a clear advantage as a team, they also have the benefit of the two best players in the series in Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. They also have the fourth and fifth-best players in the series with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. The only player disrupting that group of players is a scorching hot Mikal Bridges.

The Cavaliers have no clear disadvantage against this Nets team either as they are an incredibly balanced roster. The closest they get is coaching but both coaches have done a great job with their teams this season.

While this series could very easily end up in a sweep in favor of the Cleveland Cavaliers, every game of this series will be an interesting watch to see how the young Cavs step up to the spotlight and how Bridges handles being on a team of his own.

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This matchup could be incredible if it were to play out.