5 Flaws that could crush Cleveland Cavaliers' playoff hopes

The Cavaliers could make a second straight early playoff exit if they cannot find ways to address these shortcomings.

Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland
Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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1. Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen pairing

Space and 3-point shooting are crucial in the NBA. The Celtics have the best record in the league and make the most 3-pointers per game. The Thunder currently have the second-best record and the highest 3-point percentage. All the top teams are spreading out the defense and making them pay.

Cleveland is using a different approach. They have an elite defense with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, but neither player can space the floor. No other team is attempting to have two non-shooting big men share the frontcourt. Allen does not take triples, and Mobley makes 0.3 per game. The Cavs have a 107.6 defensive rating with their two big men on the floor this season, which would lead the NBA. Can they generate enough offense to make that pairing work?

The game slows down in the playoffs as the defense ratchets up. Every bit of space matters more. Adding Max Strus was massive, but the Cavaliers will still struggle to create open looks with two non-shooters out there. Coach Bickerstaff can stagger their minutes, but the Cavs may be best with Allen or Mobley on the bench in crunch time.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have the talent to make a deep playoff run, but will their flaws catch up to them? They did last season, and the pressure is on if the franchise plans to keep this group together. Stay tuned to see how the Cavs handle the moment.

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