What The Ringer got right and very wrong in ranking Cavaliers

Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /
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As much as it can be frustrating, everybody loves the occasional hot take on who’s better than who in the NBA. The complexity of professional basketball makes it increasingly difficult to fit any one player to a specific number or tier of talent. Every year, though, The Ringer undertakes the tumultuous task, and this year placed four Cleveland Cavaliers into the top 125 current NBA players.

Alongside each player is an in-depth analysis of their highs and lows and three badges of sorts that highlight the player’s skills and roles on the court. Though 125 players might seem to be a high number, meaning being placed on this list is nothing of excellence, it is worth noting that with 30 NBA teams and fifteen roster spots for each, 125 is only a fraction of the talent in the league. Additionally, with five starters per roster, equaling 150 in total, seeing four of your best players ranked within the top percentile of overall NBA talent is quite a milestone for a young team with high hopes.

Who ranked where?

While the Cavaliers enjoyed a near guarantee of seeing LeBron James at the top spot for many years, there is more uncertainty now as to where the young Cleveland core will be slotted.

Cleveland’s latest star player, Donovan Mitchell, ranked fifteenth in the league, just behind Portland star Damian Lillard and just above NBA Champion Jamal Murray. At only 26 years of age, MItchell’s inclusion in the league’s fifteen best players is quite the achievement, especially next to the second-best player on this year’s championship roster.

The 71-point man’s analysis was penned by The Ringer’s longtime member Kevin O’Connor. Mitchell received praise for his long-range shooting prowess.

"Mitchell can get scorching hot from the perimeter and has a series of pull-ups, side-steps, and stepbacks. – Kevin O’Connor"

His versatility on offense is coupled with his talent in the pick-and-roll, something the Cavaliers witnessed quite often over the course of the season. Additionally, O’Connor noted Mitchell’s return to defensive intensity after losing his grit in his final years on the Jazz.

Mitchell is only getting better, it seems, and on a team as young as Cleveland, that’s exactly what everyone should hope to see.