3 burning questions for the Cleveland Cavaliers ahead of the playoffs

Cleveland Cavaliers v Charlotte Hornets
Cleveland Cavaliers v Charlotte Hornets / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages
1 of 3

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, the time for celebrating regular season success is over. The way this team will be judged is on their postseason success. That is something that this group is lacking at the moment. 

All season, the Cavs have had lingering flashbacks of the bullying the New York Knicks gave them last playoffs. Despite having homecourt advantage, the Wine and Gold were bounced in five games. If they hope to reach their potential as a contender, they must perform at the highest level this postseason.

The loss to the Knicks exposed a lot of the Cavs’ flaws. The lack of shooting, consistent play from the wing spot, veteran leadership, and toughness reared their ugly heads in the loss. Fortunately, the Cavaliers have made strides in each of those categories this season.

They added Max Strus and Georges Niang for shooting, experience, and leadership, and both players have already made their impact in Cleveland this season. They also brought back Tristan Thompson and added Marcus Morris from the buyout market. The Cavs also reinvented their offense and have become less predictable this season.

These improvements have led to a current third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs will likely get homecourt advantage again if they can maintain their current pace. They have limped their way through the second half of the season, but when healthy, Cleveland has everything they need to make a deep postseason run. Still, there are still questions about this team that they cannot ignore in the playoffs.

Can a frontline of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen work in the postseason?

Going into last year’s postseason, the duo of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen was considered to be a strength that the Cavs could rely on. Unfortunately, the opposite was true in the series against the Knicks. 

Not only did Mobley and Allen get outplayed on the glass by Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein, but neither was a threat at all from the outside. The Knicks clogged the paint, blitzed pick and rolls and dared Mobley and Allen to shoot. That led to questions about whether or not this duo could stay on the court together

This season, the Cavs had to play a long strength without Mobley, which meant that Allen was the lone big in the frontcourt. As a result, the Cavs had their best offensive stretch of the season. 

From December 16 to January 29, the stretch Mobley missed with knee surgery, the Cavs had an offensive rating of 121.2. That was good enough for ninth in the league. The stretch gave the team a gauge of what the offensive ceiling would be with one big man on the court and four shooters.

Since his return from injury, Mobley has been more willing to shoot from three-point range. Over the last two months, he is shooting 45 percent from three, albeit on only around two attempts per game. The fact he is willing to take some threes and make them at a decent clip is a great step forward for the frontcourt's future. The Cavaliers need Mobleys' confidence to continue for their frontcourt duo not to be a liability again.