The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the offseason with many questions left unanswered following a disappointing playoff elimination. Now a year into the Donovan Mitchell era, management made it a priority to increase the depth of their roster. Now the Cleveland Cavaliers enter the 2023-2024 season with one key loss, but do the additions make up for it?
With several new bench pieces, the natural progression of their young stars, and potentially a new starting five, can they get over the hump in the East?
The biggest addition this offseason was the sign-and-trade for Miami guard Max Strus. Strus made waves for Miami this postseason, starting in every game and catching fire in the second round. Against the Knicks, he averaged 14.7 points per game shooting 47.8% from the field. The Cavs brought him in on a four-year, $64 M contract and he’ll play a pivotal role as a backup for both Mitchell and Darius Garland.
Another major addition this offseason was former Sixers forward Georges Niang. Niang signed a three-year, $26 Million contract and was brought in to help out Cleveland’s shooting problem. The Cavs hit the 12th least amount of threes last season, and a big that just shot 46% from three in the playoffs can certainly address that.
The Cavs used their second-round pick on Eastern Michigan forward Emoni Bates. The former high school phenom is only 19 years old and showcased the talent that made him so regarded in the Summer League. He averaged 17.2 points per game on 40% from three and helped them win the Summer League championship. Cleveland doesn’t have much draft capital moving forward due to the Mitchell trade, and hitting on a late second certainly helps their future.
Osman was a part of the trade package for Max Strus. Osman had spent his entire career in various roles for the Cavs. He was always relied on as a bench sparkplug offensively but lacked consistency on defense. His production will likely be matched by Caris LeVert’s bigger bench role and Bates offense.
It looks very likely that the Cavs will run the same starting unit unless they decide to commit to Mobley as a full-time Center. But for the time being, this lineup got them to the fourth seed. Defensively, their frontcourt is still stellar, and Garland and Mitchell are only due to improving offensively.
Their depth is the catalyst for their improvement moving forward, as there’s much better offensive potency. There’s a lot of situational plug-and-play guys that can mesh well alongside the starters.
Overall, I believe the Cavs are set to improve upon their 51-31 finish from last season. A lot of the Eastern top dogs didn’t improve their rosters either. With this new lineup, the Cleveland Cavaliers should be successful during the 2023-2024 season, and I’d expect another postseason with home-court advantage.
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