The Cleveland Cavaliers enjoyed their best season since the departure of LeBron James in 2018 last year as they claimed fourth seed in the East but they failed to make an impact in the playoffs.
A few of the Cavs’ conference rivals have strengthened in the offseason but Cleveland have largely kept the faith with the team that impressed in the regular season last year, and they will feel they have a genuine chance of mounting a challenge for overall glory in the season ahead.
The Cavs ultimately finished in fourth place in the Eastern Conference last season with a 51-31 overall record to end a four-year absence from the playoffs, but they managed just one postseason win as they were eliminated in five games by the fifth-seeded New York Knicks.
|2022/23 Cleveland Cavaliers||Record: 51-31|
|Result: Lost to NY Knicks in East First Round|
|To win the 2023/24 NBA Championship:||+2800|
|To win 2023/24 Eastern Conference:||+1100|
The main man for the Cavs is the four-time All-Star Mitchell.
After making his long-awaited move from the Jazz last offseason, Mitchell exploded in 2022/23, averaging a career-high 28.3 PPG and leading the Cavs to the four-seed in the East. But Cleveland’s playoff showing was flat, and the team was eliminate din the first round against the Knicks.
On his day, Mitchell is one of the most explosive scorers in the NBA and can win a game single-handedly. Cavs fans will be looking for that in the regular season and beyond in 2023/24.
The fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Garland needed a few seasons to get settled before breaking out in his third year. He was named an All-Star two seasons ago, and followed it up with another 20+ points, 7+ assists per game average.
His numbers don’t always jump off the page like Mitchell’s, but the 23-year-old is capable of taking over a game when he pleases. Garland dropped 51 and 46 points in a six week span last season, the two biggest scoring games of his career.
Max Strus (SF) Miami
Damian Jones (C) Utah
Georges Niang (PF) Philadelphia
Ty Jerome (PG) Golden State
Craig Porter Jr (PG) Undrafted/Wichita State
Pete Nance (PF) Undrafted/North Carolina
Robin Lopez (C) Milwaukee
Raul Neto (PG) Fenerbahce
Dylan Windler (SF/SG) New York
Cedi Osman (SF) San Antonio
Lamar Stevens (SF) San Antonio
Cleveland open the new season with a trip to Brooklyn but the most interesting games in their first batch of fixtures is back-to-back meetings with the New York Knicks. The Cavs have a chance to take some revenge for last season’s playoff series defeat when the Knicks head to Ohio on October 31, with the pair then facing off at Madison Square Garden the following day.
On November 25th they have a reunion with LeBron James as the Cavs entertain the LA Lakers. There is no Christmas Day game for Cleveland this year but they do come up against rivals Chicago Bulls on December 23, before facing Milwaukee Bucks on December 29.
The Cavs probably won’t be able to challenge Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics for the top seed in the East but they should expect to claim a top six spot again given the strength of their starting five.
The arrival of guard Donovan Mitchell prior to last season proved to be an inspired trade and he went on to enjoy his best season in terms of scoring and shooting percentage, securing a fourth successive All-Star selection in the process.
Point guard Darius Garland is gearing up for his fifth season in the league and forms a strong backcourt partnership with Mitchell.
With Jarrett Allen at center with Evan Mobley and offseason arrival Max Strus filling the forward positions, the Cavs have a team on paper that could match most NBA teams. They have some strong bench options including Caris LeVert, Ricky Rubio and Georges Niang among their supporting cast.
The Cavs are +2800 to win the NBA Championship, giving them the 12th-shortest odds in the market.
Coach J.B. Bickerstaff will want to see his team improve on last year’s total of 51 regular season wins and their over/under for total wins is 50.5.
Evan Mobley has the second-shortest odds to win the Defensive Player of the Year award at +700. Jarrett Allen has the 16th-shortest odds for it at +3300.
Caris LeVert is +4000 and Max Strus is +6000 to win 6th Man of the Year. A player must come off the bench more often than he starts to be eligible for the award.
Donovan Mitchell is +1600 to win the Clutch Player of the Year award. Bickerstaff is +1600 to win Coach of the Year, the 10th-shortest odds in the market. Mobley has the joint-ninth-shortest odds to win Most Improved Player at +2000.