Without a doubt, the engine that makes this Cavs offense go lies in their backcourt with Mitchell and Garland. The backcourt duo was the ninth/highest scoring duo in the NBA last year with 49.9 PPG. But, at times last season it felt that they differed to each other a little too much when the other was hot.
For example, Garland averaged 20 PPG when playing with Mitchell, compared to 26 without him. Do not get me wrong, feeding the hot hand is important, but it is also important for the other guy to get theirs too. Striking that balance is imperative for the Cavs’ offensive success this season. Mitchell and Garland need to figure out ways to both go off for 30, instead of one guy getting 35-plus, and the other sitting in the mid-teens to low 20s.
Another year of playing together should do that, and we also saw more balance at the turn of the calendar year. From January to March, Mitchell averaged 28 PPG, and Garland averaged 23 PPG. They should aim to keep their points near this number throughout the season, giving them a 51 PPG average as a duo. Given the added shooting, spacing and movement, if they can get to the low-to-mid-50s, the Cavaliers should have no problem finishing as a top five offense.
The Cavaliers had a good regular season offense last season, but that fell flat in the postseason. Now, the goal should be maintaining consistent offense throughout the whole season, so they can make that deep run they desire.
All offseason, the theme was all about taking the next step in contention. With the regular season beginning tomorrow, we will finally get to see if the Junkyard Dogs have the bite.