Remember the days of Collin Sexton running rampant on the newly assembled Avengers that were the Brooklyn Nets in 2021? The days when the Cleveland Cavaliers were at the bottom of the Eastern Conference? When it seemed like the rebuild would never end? Well, those days are long past the Cavs, and now for one of the rare times in franchise history, a Larry O’Brien without LeBron James leading the way, seems realistic.
After acquiring superstar Donovan Mitchell a little over a year ago, it signaled that the Cavs were ready to take the next step. Last season was a memorable one, as they won 51 games, clinched a top four seed, and ended a five-year playoff drought.
Unfortunately, all of those good vibes vanished when the Cavs couldn’t shoot the ball into the Atlantic Ocean against the New York Knicks in the playoffs. Not only was the shooting bad, but grabbing a rebound for the entire Cavaliers frontcourt (cough, cough Jarrett Allen), seemed to be a tall task. That is all in the past and now the Cavs are looking to put that massive failure behind them and turn the page to success.
Obviously, every team’s goal is to hoist the Larry O’Brien at the end of the year. The Cavs have a chance at doing so, but there are also other goals they can achieve this season. It is all about taking the next step. Here are my three goals the Cavs should have for this season.
The Cavs spent all offseason fixing the roster deficiencies that caused them to flame out in last year’s postseason. They gave Max Strus a $62 million deal to fix their shooting issues on the wing. They also signed sharpshooter Georges Niang to a $25 million deal. These two combined to make 351 three-pointers last year, and add a new element to the Cavs offense. You don’t give two guys a combined $87 million just to make the playoffs.
You don’t build a core four of Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Allen just for fun, either. You shell out that kind of money and build that core for deep postseason runs and the goal for this team should be at least a Conference Finals appearance.
There is too much talent on this team for them not to get to that point at least. There are also questions with the top teams of the Eastern Conference as well. The Milwaukee Bucks are older and made no major improvements. The Sixers are primetime reality TV, and are praying James Harden doesn’t say another bad thing about the organization. The Miami Heat are starving for Damian Lillard and are still looking at the Portland Trail Blazers with puppy dog eyes so they can accept their mediocre trade offer.
The Cavaliers have a huge opportunity to take advantage and make a deep run. They have virtually no excuse after fixing the major weaknesses that plagued them. Now, it should be all about taking the next step.