Cleveland Cavaliers Add Donovan Mitchell, Can Taste
Good, take a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
A franchise that has been making money for nearly every year of the new millennium without including LeBron James may have just returned as an Eastern Conference contender. A week before the start of the NFL season, the Cavs caused shock waves throughout the sports world when they became the team to destroy the Donovan Mitchell deal.
Buying Mitchell from the Utah Jazz, means the Cavs will have to negotiate with Danny Ainge. And by negotiation, I mean, ready to provide Ainge with a kidney and a first child kid. The price for Mitchell was set when the Jazz traded Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves and received three alternate players, three first-round picks undefended, and two swap options.
The Mitchell transaction also subject the Cavs to three unprotected first-round picks and two options swap picks, and also Colin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, and their 2022 first-round pick, Ochair Agbaji , according to ESPN. Adrian Wojnarowski.
That’s quite a long way for a player under 6 feet 5 years old and in 5 seasons never named to an All-NBA team. However, bringing him into the starting XI with Evan Mobley and Darius Garland could turn a team that lost last season’s play-in into a disruptor.
Scottie Barnes deserves Rookie of the Year in 2022, but the star of last season’s NBA rookie class will be Mobley. He averages 15 points per game and 8.3 rebounds on a 50.8 percent shot, but that doesn’t tell nearly the whole story. Mobley has everything it takes to be a player who could one day break into the NBA top 5.
He’s a 7-footer with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, and moves on the court like a small forward. Quick off his feet, great lateral quickness, and he’s also already one of the better rim protectors in the league. It doesn’t take long watching Mobley on a court to tell that he has a bright NBA future. With Jarrett Allen also in the frontcourt, those two can cover up for much of whatever Garland and Mitchell don’t do on defense.
Pairing Mitchell with Garland in the backcourt gives the Cavs a monster two-headed on-the-ball attack. When James and Kyrie Irving were teammates, defenses were at the Cavs’ mercy because they had two players who were arguably the best in the NBA with the ball in their hands. Mitchell and Garland aren’t that, but they will still be dangerous. Mitchell can get to the basket on anybody and is also a career 36 percent shooter from three. He’s the type of player that can produce several 30-50 point games in a playoff series. There is a ton of talent in the NBA, but only a small percentage of players are able to score like that.
After an up-and-down rookie season, and missing a lot of time in his second due to injury, in 2021-22 Garland showed why he was selected fifth overall in 2019. He averaged 21.7 points per game and 8.6 assists on 46.2/38.3/89.2 shooting splits. Garland made his first all-star team last year, and with him running the offense the Cavs finished the year with their best record without James since the 1997-98 season — Shawn Kemp’s last as an All-Star.
Keeping the same roster and trusting that it would gradually improve would’ve been a good choice for the Cavs, but this trade shows they want to contend immediately. Their depth took a hit, but they still have Caris Levert, Cedi Osman, Raul Neto, Issac Okoro for more help on defense, and Kevin Love. Since James and Irving left, Love has been disengaged, but with him being a free agent after this season, and the Cavs’ strong starting lineup, put your bets in now for Love to win Sixth-Man of the Year.
Koby Altman and the Cavs took a humongous swing with this Mitchell trade, but even after all they gave up, their current roster looks complete. Dominant, long, young talent in the front court and an attacking backcourt that is a threat from behind the arc. There’s going to be some exciting basketball in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.