Are the Cavaliers Playoff Contenders?
Written By: Treal Holland II
The 2021-22 Cleveland Cavaliers are currently sitting with a record of 20-16 which lands them as the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference as of press time. There has been a lot of surprises in the early part of this season but the Cavs even being above .500 is the talk of the entire league.
With a young core in place the sky is truly the limit for what this team can do in the short term as well as long-term moving forward. Last week the team rewarded Coach J.B. Bickerstaff with a contract extension through the 2026-27 season.
Off-season acquisition Lauri Markkanen has made good on the deal he received by putting up respectable averages of 13 points per game along with 5 rebounds per contest. Veteran Kevin Love has accepted a reserve role and has produced coming off the bench to score 14 points per game.
The Cavs backcourt took a huge blow with the loss of starting point guard this week Ricky Rubio going down with a torn ACL which will cause him to miss the remainder of the season. Being quick to find a solution the team struck a deal with the Lakers immediately acquiring the services of veteran floor general Rajon Rondo in exchange team traded Denzel Valentine.
Rondo has been in COVID-19 protocols since last Sunday and will need to be cleared before joining the Cavaliers. This is Rondo's 16th NBA season, which includes two championships and four All-Star appearances. Rondo, 35, is averaging 3.1 points and 3.7 assists in 16 minutes per game for the Lakers this season. He will likely see a larger role with the Cavs which will need a veteran presence like Rondo in the backcourt with 3rd year guard Darius Garland.
The team also made a great selection drafting Evan Mobley who is in consideration for Rookie of the year. The 20-year-old big man has been impressive in his rookie campaign. In his past three games since returning from protocols, he's averaged 19.7 points on 61.4 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 blocks in 32.7 minutes.
This Cavs team if they remain healthy has a legit chance to not only just make the playoff but could potentially giving home court advantage when a first-round playoff series.