The playoffs left a bad taste in the mouths of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the fanbase, even more so. Cleveland did not have the postseason run they were hoping to have after what was such an exciting regular season.
Following the Cavaliers winning 51 games and securing their first postseason berth since 2018, and their first postseason berth without LeBron James on the roster since 1998, Cleveland flopped. They lost in only five games to the New York Knicks, and several Cavaliers underperformed when looking back at the series in totality.
Going into that, it was a No. 4-No. 5 matchup that had the makings of what could be a six or seven-game series it appeared. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers’ inexperience, shooting woes and the core not playing up to their standard all factored into the early exit.
It was hardly the outcome one could’ve foreseen, but the greatest teacher is experience. It’s still something Cleveland can learn from, and they will.
Somewhat along those lines, this offseason, the Cavaliers seem primed to land perimeter shooting help as well through trade and/or free agency. Cleveland doing so could really make a difference and aid guys such as Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley from here.
The Cavs have to have a productive offseason where they fortify their bench as well, and simply have some more legitimacy as it pertains to shooting, feasibly at backup big and it’d be sensible to maybe bring in a third lead guard.
Generally speaking, though, with next season in mind, with the Denver Nuggets beating the Miami Heat in five games on Monday night for their first NBA title, a Cavaliers tweet clearly resonated with me. The same can be said for others of the Wine and Gold faithful, one would imagine; this was that said tweet that particularly caught my eye following the Nuggets taking care of business.
One can definitely relate to the above Cavs’ tweet about turning the page.
The Cavaliers have to get better this offseason to improve their chances of making a deep run in the postseason in 2024. This now-past postseason failure was not what anybody signed up for, but it’s not something Cleveland cannot learn from.
There are avenues via trades for rumored possible wing targets such as Royce O’Neale and Tim Hardaway Jr., among others, that could make a difference for Cleveland. The same could go for rumored free agency targets such as Joe Ingles and Jalen McDaniels, in the same realm, and for possible depth bigs to sign such as Naz Reid and Thomas Bryant.
Cleveland has to take steps to improve their shooting and bench heading into next season, and Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, for instance, both have to have meaningful offseasons to help them become more capable offensively. Both had their struggles in that first round series there.
Based on the flashes from Mobley in the second half of the 2022-23 regular season, there’s plenty of reason to believe he can level up on that end of the floor in Year 3, though, which would go a long way to the Cavaliers becoming true title contenders.
All things considered, however, next season can’t get her sooner. Rest assured, after what transpired in the playoffs and in what was the first experience for Garland and Mobley there, one would imagine this Cavaliers team is going to be hungry to get after it.
Of course, as we alluded to, some external improvement seems to be on the way, and it needs to be to improve the Cavs offense and to help provide supplemental support for their postseason hopes.
That aside, as the Cavs’ above tweet expressed, the Wine and Gold have already turned the page to the 2023-24 campaign, and as a fan of the squad, I fully co-sign that. Still, this offseason and upcoming free agency period should be a fun one to see play out, too.