Previewing the 2023-24 Cleveland Cavaliers

September 28th, 2023

by Alan Lu

Last year, the Cavaliers were able to swing a big trade to land star guard Donovan Mitchell, and they were very good in the regular season.  They also had a couple of strong seasons from their big men, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, as well as from their point guard, Darius Garland.  Donovan Mitchell was terrific in the regular season and put up tremendous scoring performances, and Evan Mobley had blossomed into being one of the best defenders in the NBA. However, they fell short in the playoffs as they lost to the Knicks in the first round.

This year, they return most of their core players. While there’s a lot of competition amongst teams to be the team to make it out of the East, the Cavaliers will be a more experienced team that could be poised to make a deeper playoff run this time around.

Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell are two superstar guards that will likely lead the Cleveland Cavaliers back to the playoffs in 2024.
(Photo: Ron Schwane/The Associated Press, via Akron Beacon Journal)

Star Players:

G Donovan Mitchell, G Darius Garland, F-C Evan Mobley, and C Jarrett Allen

Donovan Mitchell was able to turn in some sterling performances in the regular season, which included a 71-point game last year. Garland has really turned the corner to become an All-Star point guard over the years, and he is a dynamic playmaker that has emerged as one of the best point guards in the East. Mobley and Allen are two very good defensive big men that will help anchor the paint.

On the other hand, their team really struggled against New York in the playoffs last year, and they will need to overcome their postseason shortcomings to ultimately have a better season this year.

Additions:

G Max Strus, F Georges Niang, G Ty Jerome, C Damian Jones, F Emoni Bates and G Craig Porter Jr.

The Cavaliers added skilled shooters and some offensive talent to help add to their roster, but the most notable addition is former Miami Heat guard, Max Strus. He’ll play a pivotal role on Cleveland’s team this year, and he is a sharpshooter and experienced veteran that could help them significantly in the playoffs. While they may not expect much from their rookies this year, Bates is a really talented second round rookie forward that has the talent to crack the rotation this season.

Subtractions:

G-F Cedi Osman, C Robin Lopez, G-F Danny Green, G Raul Neto, F Dylan Windler, and F Lamar Stevens

The Cavaliers lost a bevy of role players, but the most significant one may be Cedi Osman, a gritty, two-way wing that has excelled in a 3 and D role for them. They lost other veteran role players, but the Cavaliers were able to add other playeres to fill in roles for them this season.

Rookies:

F Emoni Bates and G Craig Porter Jr.

Emoni Bates is a very tall, skilled wing that can ably create any shot he wants, and he is a gifted shot maker that can score in bunches. He has a great deal of upside, and he had a very good Summer League in Las Vegas, so he looks to be on track to prove that the Cavs got a steal at 49 in the 2023 draft.

Craig Porter Jr. Is an athletic, defensive-minded point guard that can run the point and is a rangy defender that can lock his opponents down, and he could develop into a Jordan Goodwin-type of player in this league. The Cavs have two talented rookies that could be key players for them in the future, but for right now, as they are both on two-way contracts, neither of them will likely get much playing time for the upcoming season.

Expected Rotation:

Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen will lead the Cavaliers to have a strong defensive unit once again for the 2023-24 NBA season.
(Photo: John Kuntz/Cleveland.com)

The Cavaliers have a talented group of starters, and they are a very good defensive unit due to having Mobley and Allen fortify their interior. On offense, they have two dynamic guards to power their offense. But the issues may come in the postseason, because the fit may be very clunky, because they have two non-shooting big men and two very small guards, so they don’t have the versatility to match up to different opponents.

Projected Starting Lineup:

C Jarrett Allen

Projected 2023-24 Rating:

F Evan Mobley

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Potential Rating:

F Caris LeVert

Projected 2023-24 Rating:

G Donovan Mitchell

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G Darius Garland

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Potential Rating:

Key Bench Players:

Max Strus was a big signing, as the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to reel him away from Miami, and he will bolster Cleveland’s team for the upcoming season.
(Photo: David Butler II/USA Today Sports, via NBC Boston)

The Cavaliers were able to get extra shooting by signing Max Strus, but they still don’t have enough versatility and two-way talent, because their shooters are relatively one-dimensional. Okoro is a very athletic, defensive minded wing, but his shooting and offensive skills still need improvement.

G Max Strus

Projected 2023-24 Rating:

G-F Isaac Okoro

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F Georges Niang

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F Dean Wade

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G Ty Jerome

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The Rest of the Roster:

G Ricky Rubio

Projected 2023-24 Rating:

F Emoni Bates (Two-Way)

Projected 2023-24 Rating:
Potential Rating:

F-C Isaiah Mobley (Two-Way)

Projected 2023-24 Rating:
Potential Rating:

C Damian Jones

Projected 2023-24 Rating:

G Sam Merrill

Projected 2023-24 Rating:

C Tristan Thompson

Rating

G Craig Porter Jr. (Two-Way)

Projected 2023-24 Rating:
Potential Rating:

Others in Camp:

F Pete Nance (Exhibit 10)

Projected 2023-24 Rating:
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Head Coach:

J.B. Bickerstaff led the Cleveland Cavaliers to 51 wins in the regular season, which made it a successful year for them, but they had trouble getting wins in the playoffs in 2023.
(Photo: Ron Schwane/The Associated Press, via Akron Beacon Journal)

J.B. Bickerstaff
2022-23 (CLE): 51-31, 1-4 in the playoffs
Coaching Career: 207-256, 2-8 in the NBA Playoffs

He is a coach that has taken this unique talent and has been able to win in the regular season, but it remains to be seen if they can have success in the playoffs.

Projected 2023-24 Coach Rating:

Outlook:

The Cleveland Cavaliers look to be poised to make it back to the playoffs in 2024, but questions remain if they will make a deep run in the postseason once they get there.
(Photo: David Liam Kyle/Getty Images, via Axios)

The Cavaliers have a talented group of starters, and they added a proven veteran in Max Strus, so that will help them win a lot of regular season games. However, it is uncertain if they can translate their regular season success to playoff wins, as they were not able to last year against the New York Knicks. If they can, then the future will be very bright for them. Otherwise, they could be an entertaining, mid-tier playoff team this season.

Projected 2023-24 Finish:
Projected Regular Season Finish: 4th in the Eastern Conference
Expected Playoff Finish: Projected to lose in the 1st Round
2023-24 Preseason NBA Power Ranking: 6

I went to Basketball-Reference and No-Trade Clause to look up some information for this write-up. It will be an exciting basketball season this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing the in-season tournament to see how that will unfold. Anyways, that is my write-up on my preview of the 2023-24 Cleveland Cavaliers. Thanks for reading.

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