The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the best up-and-coming NBA teams right now. Even though they are still relatively young, and some of the squad is inexperienced when it comes to successful basketball, Cleveland still was amazing last season.
However, Cleveland fell apart in the playoffs against the New York Knicks, and there were so many things to pick apart from Cleveland’s side of the series. No one on that roster really played up to expectations, or even had a better or comparable statline to their regular season stats. Almost everyone shot under their regular season average from the field, and the team looked very stagnant.
The regular season was a strong indicator
However, for the most part, the Cavaliers’ regular season went along pretty smoothly. They went 51-31, were the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, and had one of the best records in the whole NBA. The whole team played really well together and showed that they can be considered contenders sooner rather than later.
Donovan Mitchell was one of the NBA’s best players, and he had one of the NBA’s greatest performances of all time, dropping 71 points against the Chicago Bulls on January 2nd. Mitchell also was an All-Star starter and definitely proved that he was worth trading all of the assets that Cleveland traded.
Evan Mobley was one of the NBA’s best defenders and was the youngest player to be a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year. I think that Mobley can be an All-Star next season, and definitely is possible to take a huge leap when it comes to his offensive production, something that he definitely needs to work on.
A lot of the Cavs’ roster looked really good in the regular season, and I am a firm believer that they’ll look even better next season. The roster did get improved from last year, and should improve in the win column next season.
Obviously, Donovan Mitchell is the best player on the Cavs’ roster, there’s not really a lot of validity to deny that. However, who is the Cavs’ X-Factor? That’s a great question and really could be a multitude of players.
Before we answer that question, what even is an X-Factor? Well, in my definition, I’d say an X-Factor on an NBA roster is not usually the best player on any given team, but can really sway the game by their play on the court.
For example, let’s say Player X is the starting small forward for their team. He may not be an All-Star player, or even close to it. However, let’s assume Player X is in a groove on a certain night, and that could really give his team a boost and get the victory. However, on the other side, let’s say Player X has a poor performance, and that could be why his team ends up losing. X-Factors on a roster really can determine how a team can win or lose.
Caris LeVert is the Cavs’ X-Factor
For the Cavaliers, the X-Factor could be given to a few players. A few guys I had in mind were Jarrett Allen or Max Strus. However, ultimately I gave the X-Factor title to Caris LeVert. Even though his stats look practically identical in the Cavs’ wins and losses, I still gave the title to Caris LeVert.
What makes LeVert the X-Factor? Well, the way LeVert plays when he is in rhythm is so impressive to watch. LeVert knows how to make the right pass, and I believe that he can play more point guard next season. He’s also a really comfortable jump-shooter, as well.
LeVert also isn’t a lazy defender, which is really impressive considering that for a lot of his NBA career, he wasn’t really viewed as a terrific defender. Sure, he may not still be a terrific defender, but he has made strides on that side of the ball.
He may not ever be an All-Star, but LeVert is still a really impactful player, and can really determine whether the Cavaliers go home with a win or a loss. I think that LeVert can have a really great season next year, and here’s to hoping that he will look as great as ever.