The Cleveland Cavaliers are aiming for no less than a deep playoff run in the coming months. They currently hold fourth place in the Eastern Conference and have won eight of their last 10 games. They’ve also just waived five-time All-Star Kevin Love. What’s next for the Cavs? Here are some bold Cavs predictions for the rest of their season after the 2023 NBA All-Star Break.
The Cavs began the 2022-2023 NBA regular season with a 105-108 loss on the road to the Toronto Raptors. That was due to an early eye injury to Darius Garland. However, the team has since rebounded and risen to among the elite teams in the East. Their offense has been led by Donovan Mitchell’s offensive prowess. As a matter of fact, running into the All-Star break, Cleveland continued their winning ways. They had won seven of their last eight contests entering All-Star Weekend.
It’s important to note that the seven-game win streak before the break was different from their earlier wins. Cleveland did not have any overtime battles or close games in this recent span. They actually won by double-digit leads and dominated nearly every quarter.
This shift in style has been crucial for the Cavs to establish themselves as a true contender in the East. While they had previously relied on come-from-behind victories, the Cavs have demonstrated consistent and convincing wins to assert their dominance. Now, they look the part of a much stronger team. Mitchell & Co. are playing with high levels of confidence, and that makes them extremely dangerous moving forward.
Let’s look at our Cavs bold predictions for the rest of their season.
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4. Cavs post first 50-win season since 2018
As we already said, the Cavs have been on a roll. They are expected to keep it up after the All-Star Break. Mitchell and super sophomore Evan Mobley have been standout performers, with Mobley’s offensive improvement adding to the team’s repertoire. Right now, are just two games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the third seed in the East. This makes the Cavs favorites when they enter the first round of the playoffs with homecourt advantage. But even before that, the Cavs should hit a big milestone — winning 50 games. Cleveland should reach 50 wins this season, which would mark the first time for the franchise since the 2017-2018 season. They finished in fourth place in the East in that season and made it all the way to the NBA Finals. Will they do that again? We’ll see.
3. Evan Mobley averages a double-double post-All-Star Break
Evan Mobley’s offensive improvement over the past couple of months has become a new challenge for opposing defenses. During Cleveland’s early eight-game win streak, Mobley averaged 14 points, 2.4 assists, and 6.9 rebounds. In the recent seven-game win streak, however, his average increased to 18 points, 2.9 assists, and 9.3 rebounds. That’s without sacrificing defensive efficiency as well. Though his game still needs improvement overall, particularly in free throws and three-pointers, Mobley’s eagerness to grow bodes well for the remainder of Cleveland’s regular season. For the last 21 games of the Cavs, we have Mobley averaging a double-double. He’ll be a terrific weapon for this team in the postseason.
2. Donovan Mitchell earns an All-NBA Team spot for the first time
Donovan Mitchell has experienced multiple firsts in the 2022-23 NBA season. In September, he was traded for the first time in his NBA career, from the Utah Jazz to the Cavs. He played his first game as a Cavalier on opening night against the Raptors and had his first home game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. He also faced the New York Knicks for the first time, a team he was rumored to be traded to and played against his former team, the Utah Jazz, in Cleveland in December. In January, he returned to Vivint Arena, his former home court, and received a warm welcome from Jazz fans. Right now, Mitchell is averaging 27.3 points (career-high), 4.9 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.6 triples per game. That’s pretty awesome, and we feel he’ll earn his first-ever All-NBA Team spot this season. He is arguably the best shooting guard out there, though he may have to be content with a spot in either the All-NBA Second or Third Team.
Donovan Mitchell dropping 71 PTS when he can barely see the hoop pretty crazy 🤯 pic.twitter.com/IQbcT3G8kj
— Overtime (@overtime) February 19, 2023
1. Cavs make it to the second round of the 2023 Playoffs
The Cavs are going to be very dangerous come playoff time. However, their collective lack of playoff experience will be their undoing in the second round. Remember that they also no longer have Kevin Love, who could have been a stabilizer in the playoffs. Mitchell will likely carry the team in the postseason. That said, Mobley, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Allen must elevate their game to compete beyond the second round. Nevertheless, the addition of Mitchell has paid off well for the Cavs. Beyond this second-round exit, we see this young core continuing to improve. They could be a legitimate title contender as early as the 2023-24 season.