Four key Cavaliers storylines ahead of 2021-22 season: Talented young core offers real reasons for optimism

V Cleveland Cavaliers made four in a row Nba Finals appearances from 2015 to 2018. However, since then, the team hasn’t even sniffed the postseason after Lebron james flew to Los Angeles after the 17-18 campaign. In three seasons since James joined Los angeles lakersThe Cavs finished 14th, 15th and 13th in the Eastern Conference Leaderboard. But while the past few seasons have been tough on Cleveland fans, there are several real reasons for optimism going forward.

The team used the third overall pick in 2021. NBA draft add perspective center Evan Mobley from USC. Mobley is an agile big guy who can shoot down shots and protect paint on the other end, and he has the potential to be special. In addition to the Mobley draft, the Cavs were also traded for a sweet forward. Lauri Markkanen and the veteran of the guard Ricky Rubio… Both players need to kickstart Cleveland’s attack, which has shown a tendency to stagnate.

A factor of constant growth and development of the Young Guard Colleen Sexton and Darius Garlandand the Cavs have a chance to be better than they have been since LeBron left. No one will take them for a real title contender, but you have to start somewhere. With that said, here’s a look at Cleveland’s lineup and four key storylines to watch out for ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Cleveland Cavaliers Roster

1. All eyes are on Evan Mobley.

The Cavs could have gone in a few different directions with a third overall pick as the 2021 draft class was considered deep. They ended up going with Mobley, and for good reason. There are already a couple of promising young guards on the team in Sexton and Garland, so it makes sense to line up the squad by adding a big guy in addition to those guards. If all three players can grow together and reach their potential, the Cavs will receive a formidable attack from within and without for the foreseeable future.

Plus, Mobley has arguably the highest ceiling in his entire draft. How high is this ceiling? According to Anthony Davis, at a high level. Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports… Here’s what he wrote about Mobley before the draft:

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. It seems that every skinny, agile big guy who can shoot a little can be compared to Davis, but comparisons are relevant to Mobley – that is, if he fully develops his growing skill set. Mobley could be a candidate for Defender of the Year, while providing incredible flexibility in attacking possession and shooting for his height. When people talk about Mobley as the best player in his class, they probably see him as a Davis-like future.

Given the current state of the Cavs, Mobley should immediately see the ample opportunity on the court. And while no one expects Mobley to turn into Davis during his rookie campaign, people – especially in Cleveland – will definitely be looking for signs of a superstar. Thus, Mobley’s game will become the central storyline of Cleveland’s upcoming campaign.

2. Further development of Sexton and Garland.

Apart from Mobley, the future of the Cavs also depends on the further development of Sexton and Garland. Thus, both players are expected to take a step forward this season.

Sexton is entering his fourth season in the league and will be the top pro of his year. He averaged 24.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game last season and often looked like a future All-Star. As well as he plays, he still has obvious areas for improvement. His gear-to-turn ratio last season (4.4 versus 2.8) could have been better, and as a 45 percent pro player with 45 percent off the floor, he could have improved his performance as well. If Sexton can continue to improve in these areas, he can quickly establish himself as one of the best defenders in the Eastern Conference.

Garland is a similar story. He has a good season in his sophomore year, averaging 17.4 points, 6.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game while scoring 39% from long distance. Like Sexton, he will benefit from reducing losses (he averaged three per game last season) while continuing to develop defensively. If both players continue to move in the right direction, Cleveland’s future will be bright.

3. Diminishing the role of Kevin Love.

With a roster mostly composed of young talent who aren’t quite ready to fight, the Cavs are clearly still in the midst of a makeover that began when James left in 2018. Considering the fact that Kevin Love is 32 years old, and therefore, in fact, this is not the case. fits into the future timing of the franchise, many thought the veteran forward would be willing to settle for a buyout for the remaining two years of his contract with the Cavs so that he could pursue his career elsewhere and potentially compete for the title while he still has some air in his tires.

However, it is not. Love is reportedly left with two years and $ 60 million in contract. not interested in ransom generally. Love would be potentially interested in a trade with Cleveland as it would allow him to move his current contract to a new team. However, the Cavs have apparently not yet found a single deal they like. Given his age, injuries and the size of his contract, Love’s market is very low and the Cavs are not interested in an additional asset swapping just to move Love.

Perhaps the deal will take place during the season. But for now, Love remains on Cleveland’s list, although his role in moving forward is likely to be limited. The Cavaliers want their youngsters like Mobley, Markkanen and Jarrett Allen to have ample opportunities on the court, and so the team has already talked to Love about their role being reduced, according to Jason Lloyd from Athletic… Love started with every game he played since joining the Cavs in 2014, but maybe there’s a shift in the cards to a backup role.

Cavaliers have consistently been cited as a potential landing site for Philadelphia 76ers All-Star quarterback Ben Simmons in the offseason. In fact, literally last week it was reported that the Cavs were still actively trying to acquire Simmons… As such, when discussing Cleveland’s upcoming campaign, consider the possibility that they are trading on Simmons.

The Sixes have maintained an extremely high asking price for Simmons, but it is possible that their asking price will drop as the season approaches, especially with Simmons threatening to skip training camp. At this point, perhaps the Cavalry will be able to benefit and make a deal. Here’s Sam Quinn from CBS Sports on what the Cavs could potentially offer Philadelphia in exchange for Simmons:

Cleveland controls all of his picks in the first round, so in theory he could offer Philadelphia a pick package similar to the one Brooklyn declined. James Harden (although, another question is whether Simmons guarantees such a catch). Collin Sexton and Darius Garland in Cleveland have two young players with All-Star potential. One – probably Sexton, given Cleveland’s apparent disinterest in granting him a long-term renewal and Garland, who shares agency with Simmons at Klutch Sports – could travel to Philadelphia without stripping the bearers of a more traditional guard.

The Simmons trade could also serve as a solution to Cleveland’s problem with Kevin Love … The Cavalry would have to send a significant chunk of their salary to match the money in the Simmons deal, and Love’s inclusion could have put him on the winning team without him. make financial sacrifices. Throw in other young players like Isaac Okoro and Cleveland has what it takes to make a competitive offer to Simmons.

At this point, a Simmons deal seems imminent. However, there are other teams interested in the young star, so there is no guarantee that he will end up in Cavalier uniform. However, this possibility is definitely worth keeping in mind.

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