The Cleveland Cavaliers had their most exciting season since LeBron James' first stint with the Cavaliers en route to a 44-38 record in 2021-22. How many games will they win in 2022-23? Let's take a look at the Cavaliers' over/under win total for this new NBA season.
It is all fun and games until there are actual expectations that comes with the dawn of a new season. The addition of Donovan Mitchell to the young core of Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen means that a step forward should be taken. After making the play-in tournament last season, a top-six seed in a stacked Eastern Conference is expected of this talented young roster in the '22-23 campaign.
But there are still plenty of question marks with this squad. How does a backcourt of Garland and Mitchell hold up defensively? Who starts at the small forward position? Can Isaac Okoro figure out his 3-ball?
Here are the 2022 NBA over/under win total odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
Cavaliers Over/Under Win Total NBA Odds
Over: 47.5 wins (-110)
Under: 47.5 wins (-110)
Why The Cavaliers Will Win 47.5 Games
The Cavaliers' biggest issue down the stretch of last season and in the play-in tournament was a lack of playmaking outside of Darius Garland. When opponents trapped Garland at the point of attack or in the pick-and-roll, the skilled guard was forced to give up the rock, and the Cavaliers simply didn't have the talent to consistently generate good looks.
Now they have just the man who can generate a great look on any possession: Donovan Mitchell. A three-time All Star, Mitchell averaged nearly 24 points per game last season. Despite being just 26 years of age with five years in the league, Mitchell is one of the veterans on this Cavaliers squad. He has been through battles against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets as a member of the Utah Jazz, and knows how different playoff basketball truly feels.
Mitchell is a dream offensive fit next to Garland. Teams can no longer trap Garland without opening up the floor for Donovan Mitchell, a dangerous slasher. Most importantly, Mitchell is not afraid to launch 3 pointers, contested or not. He attempted an astonishing 9.8 triples per game last season, tied for third in the league. Outside of Garland, the Cavs lacked off-the-dribble 3-point shooters who could connect on a healthy clip, making the offense so much easier to guard and game plan for.
Evan Mobley is ready to shine in his sophomore season. With added muscle, a quicker jump shot, and a tighter handle, he will be a handful for opposing defenses. In his sole preseason appearance, he consistently searched out contact at the rim rather than shying away from it.
With Mobley and Jarrett Allen on the backline, the Cavaliers should maintain a top-10 defense, similar to last season. Okoro brings a solid option to throw on opposing superstars, while Caris Levert adds secondary playmaking and shotmaking when a possession dries out. Kevin Love was in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year last season before Miami Heat's Tyler Herro exploded to end the season. This Cavaliers squad is one of the deepest in the league. If their Big Four can stay healthy, it would be no surprise to see this team win 50 games.
Why The Cavaliers Will Not Win 47.5 Games
As good as the Cavaliers might be, the rest of the Eastern Conference might just be better. The Milwaukee Bucks are built to dominate the regular season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo consistently in the MVP conversation. The Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brooklyn Nets all improved in the offseason, while the Toronto Raptors are an up-and-coming team.
Winning games night in and night out has never been more difficult. The NBA is more talented than it has ever been — even the bottom-feeder teams can grab an unexpected win.
While the Cavaliers do boast a convincing amount of depth, no one at that roster can really replicate what Mobley and Allen bring to the defensive game plan. With Garland and Mitchell on the perimeter, their jobs are clear: contest jump shots and funnel opponents into the paint to meet the “Twin Towers” in Mobley and Allen. However, if one were to go down with an injury, it completely changes the validity of their defensive game plan. An injury to one of the Big Four could plunge this team into the play-in tournament.
Final Cavaliers Win Total Prediction: Under: 47.5 (-110)
The Cavaliers will finish above .500, but they likely won't hit the 48-win total in an overpowered Eastern Conference. They will likely face the typical growing pains of adding a superstar in Donovan Mitchell, forcing the other perennial All-Stars to change how they play the game. This Cavaliers squad could definitely win 50 or more games down the line, but it will not be in the 2022-23 season.