Predicted finish: 14th in the East (4th in the Central, 29th in the power rankings)
Last seasons conference finish: 15th in the East
There are few teams with a more empty outlook heading into this season than the Cavaliers. The franchise’s sole hope for success rides on two guards hitting who last season didn’t show much ability to play together. Collin Sexton is the more promising of the two by a wide margin but even still, his fit next to Darius Garland was poor at both ends last season. Beyond the two guards, the team did address a major need in defence in the draft with Isaac Okoro. In the front court, Kevin Love and Andre Drummond feel out of place in Cleveland and yet, here we are. Young piece Kevin Porter Jr showed a ton of potential before the season ended last year and very quietly may have the highest upside of anyone on the roster. As the Cavs head into this new season, they have some talent, how it fits together though seems poor and with that in mind, another high lottery pick feels inevitable.
The big question for the franchise: Are Garland and Sexton the answer?
The Cavs are probably going to be terrible this season. So, with the 2021 Draft loaded up top with guards and wings who would conceivably take minutes and value from Sexton and Garland, this feels like a put up or shut up year for them. Sexton has shown far and away the most promise of the two, scoring the ball surprisingly well when you look at his basketball reference page. Defensively, he’s been basically nothing in the league and that needs to change if this team is ever going to be good again though. What also needs to change is their point guard play. Garland was rough last year. He had a couple moments but for the most part disappointed. If Sexton continues to improve like he did last year and if the Cavs are drafting up high with guards everywhere, Garland is essentially in a he needs to show progress or else type spot because at some point they’ll try and be good again right?
One move I want to see them make: Why is Kevin Love still on this team?
Please trade Kevin Love. I’m sure someone of reasonable competency wants him and he deserves a shot at playing playoff basketball again. Keeping him here serves no purpose so the Cavs need to take the L and make the move, even if the return is minimal. He’s 32, won’t be around when you’re good again so what’s the point? Do right by him because at this point it’s just absurd he’s still a Cavalier.
Offseason Grade: C
I liked the Okoro pick a ton for this team as he can definitely play with all three of Sexton, Porter Jr and Garland, fills a massive need on defence and has a super high upside. At worst, that pick will help this team potentially have a professional defence in 2021 as opposed to whatever the heck they ran last year. Otherwise, they did essentially nothing. I guess good job snagging something for JaVale McGee but this team is no better or worse other than their draft pick and go into the season banking a lot on the improvement of their young pieces.
Young player I’m excited for: Kevin Porter Jr.
After showing flashes of something at USC, KPJ had a quietly productive rookie season in the NBA. For those who watched (and I understand if you didn’t), you know there’s definitely something here. How much and what it exactly is remains to be seen however, an athletic, scoring wing from three-levels is obviously very valuable and he showed last year that it could be in his not too distant future.
This Cavs team has the classic bottom of the NBA roster that you forget exists. They’re just at that point as a franchise. If one of their young players takes a big step this year, maybe that’ll change. For now, the team remains irrelevant though.