The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of their best season since the departure of LeBron James, largely in thanks to the addition of Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell was acquired in a deal with the Utah Jazz this last off-season, and he has the Cavaliers at 48-29 and currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Heading into the NBA playoffs, Mitchell and the Cavaliers have their sights set on an NBA Finals appearance.
With five games remaining in the regular season, the Cavaliers look to put pressure on the Philadelphia 76ers in the third spot and keep their distance from the New York Knicks in fifth. They have the Knicks on Friday, so it will be a perfect opportunity to keep New York at arms distance.
Once the NBA playoffs begin, the Cavaliers will be far from favorites to take home the Larry O'Brien trophy. In the top-heavy Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers will most likely have to get through the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks if they make it past the second round.
Although a trip to the NBA Finals would be surprising, it is not out of the question. In fact, there are three factors in particular that could see the Cavaliers not only make it to the Finals, but win them. So, what are those factors?
Here are three reasons the Cleveland Cavaliers will win the 2023 NBA Finals.
*Stats via ESPN
The NBA playoffs are where stars are born. Of course, Donovan Mitchell is already a star. However, his playoff career would like to have a word with this assessment.
Overall, Donovan Mitchell has a 17-22 record in his NBA playoffs career. These games all came in a Jazz uniform, including a trip to the postseason as the number one overall seed in the 2020-2021 season. Unfortunately, his career in Utah never made it past the Western Conference Finals and featured multiple first-round exits.
This year, Donovan Mitchell will smell blood. He has already proven his numbers were no fluke in Utah, averaging a career-high 27.6 points per game this season. Now, it is his time to prove he can win in the post-season.
The unquestioned leader of the Cavaliers, Mitchell will have a chip on his shoulder starting in the first round. This chip will remain all the way to the NBA Finals, and will help Mitchell bring a ring to Cleveland.
Twin Towers Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen
It is known that the intensity ramps up significantly once the NBA playoffs begin. Defense becomes a higher priority, and close games comes down to star bucket getters versus elite defenders. Luckily, the Cavaliers have two of the latter in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
Both Mobley and Allen average over a block a game to create the top rim-protecting duo in the NBA. While they protect the glass, they do a great job cleaning it up as well. Allen averages just a smidge under ten rebounds per game, while Mobley averages nine.
The most significant aspect of having both Mobley and Allen is the potential big men the Cavaliers could face in the playoffs. If there is team that has ability to stop the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid, the Cavaliers would be it.
Antetokounmpo specifically said earlier this season that Mobley has the chance to be really good, even as good as him. Mobley could cement that status by helping the Cavaliers move past the Milwaukee Bucks on their way to winning the 2023 NBA Finals.
Danny Green being a reason a team wins the NBA Finals would not be on many bingo cards before this season began. However, with the parity of the league this year, the old reliable Green just makes perfect sense.
Green has only played in six games for the Cavaliers this year, his highest scoring output being six points. These numbers are nothing to write home about, but the Cavaliers didn't add Green for the regular season.
Over the course of his career, Green has made a living making big shots in the big moments. He has won three NBA Finals with three different teams, playing pivotal postseason roles for each. Green is one of only four players who have won championships with three separate franchises.
There will come a time this postseason that the Cavaliers will need someone to make a big shot, and it won't be able to come from the usual suspects. In that moment, Danny Green will step up and do what he has done his whole career.
As the NBA season comes to a close, the Cleveland Cavaliers are gearing up for a deep run. X-factors on the roster will propel them all the way to a 2023 NBA Finals victory.