Reason No. 2: Cleveland’s defense
The one thing the Cavs have been able to rely on for much of the past two seasons is their defense. This past season, they finished with the best defense in the NBA, and they held the New York Knicks to 99.6 points per game in their five-game series.
The defense is anchored by Evan Mobley, who was the youngest finalist ever for Defensive Player of the Year, and is a strong candidate to win the award this year. Mobley has already established himself as one of the best rim protectors in the NBA due to his length, and versatility in the paint and on the perimeter.
The Cavs also have Jarrett Allen, who is also one of the best rim protectors in the NBA, and will have a chip on his shoulder this season after getting pushed around by Knicks center Mitchell Robinson during the playoffs. In addition to Frobley, the Cavs have Isaac Okoro, who despite his shooting struggles, is the best perimeter defender on the roster, and Caris LeVert, who has improved greatly on defense since coming to Cleveland. Even Mitchell and Garland have bought in defensively and have become average defenders.
The Cavaliers do not have many defensive liabilities on this roster, and after finishing near the top of the league in defense the past two seasons, expect them to do that again. Their defense will take them far in the tournament and will lead them to finishing atop the group.