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Cleveland Cavaliers: Where Do They Go From Here?
The Cavs playoff loss to the Knicks on April 26 ended Cleveland’s 2022-2023 season which was full of switch-ups, injuries and the loss of a veteran player. When the playoffs started, going up against the Knicks seemed like a fair matchup, but with the season ending in a 4-1 loss for the Cavs, it’s pretty easy to see where it all went wrong.
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The star player of the postseason was Donovan Mitchell. Averaging 23.2 points, 5 rebounds and shooting 43 percent (.28% from the 3-point line). While more confident inside the paint than others, on average he had the most turnovers on the team with 3.8.
Another statistical champion during the postseason was Caris LeVert. He averaged 15 points, 4.6 rebounds, shooting 42 percent (36% from the 3-point line).
He seemed confident and sure of what he was doing. If LeVert wasn’t starting, Isaac Okoro was. Okoro averaged 6.4 points, shooting 47 percent (30% from the 3-point line) during 15 minutes of play time.
Now, for the question everyone has been asking: did releasing Kevin Love in February hinder the team’s postseason performance? While comparing his Cleveland and Miami stats, it seems like he would have helped, but not changed the outcome of this series.
Love was out for a lot of the season with various injuries. During Love’s final 15 games for the Cavs, he averaged 6.1 points and shot 30 percent ( 24% from the 3-point line). Needless to say, Love was shooting poorly.
After the Cavs bought out his contract and signed with Miami, his first 21 games with the Heat averaged him 7.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, shooting 38 percent overall, and 29 percent from the 3-point line over an average of 20 minutes. Comparing this to Love’s 41 games with the Cavs, he was averaging almost one more point, one more rebound, had nearly identical shooting percentages and had a slightly higher 3-point shooting percentage.
Overall, he was doing slightly worse on the Heat during the regular season compared to the Cavs. However, during the postseason, he’s been averaging 8.7 points and 6.9 rebounds.
This is still pretty consistent to what he was doing with the Cavs, but again, nothing game changing.
Where do the Cavs go from here?
It might be tough to swallow a disappointing first round loss, but there’s room to grow. Picking the right players, having confidence in their roles, maintaining consistency and improving scoring off the bench are perhaps the most important things the Cavs can work on during the off season.
Do they run it back with Jarrett Allen? Do they go after one of these "3 and D" guys like Draymond Green or Dillon Brooks? Time will tell, but they have to do something.
All the starters are young and made it into the postseason; that’s something to be proud of. These are good signs and show a solid core that unfortunately happens to be a little rough around the edges.