The Cavs continue to shock the league, taking their underdog status in stride
Well, who expected this from the Cleveland Cavaliers? Going into the year the Cavaliers had an over-under of 26.5 wins and the team looks like it has plans to blow that total out of the water as they currently stand at 13-12 and 9th in the conference meaning they would head to the play-in round.
The Cavaliers were expected to be a team once again picking in the lottery and again still searching for answers since the departure of LeBron James, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this season. It’s time to take a thorough analysis into the off-season and see what has worked for the Cavaliers.
The off-season started with the resigning of big man Jarrett Allen, with a contract of five years $100 million. It was seen as a vast reach and a desperate move to keep him in town. The Cavaliers also acquired Lauri Markkanen in a sign and trade which moved Larry Nance Jr. to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Markkanen was later signed to a four-year extension for 67 million dollars- the fourth year partially guaranteed. Again, the Cavaliers went to the Chicago Bulls well and signed former Bull Denzel Valentine. His deal is a two-year minimum, first-year partially guaranteed. Second-year non-guaranteed.
The Cavaliers also gained the services of veteran point guard Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Taurean Prince, a second-round pick and cash ($2.5 million.) Finally, in the draft, the Cavaliers had the 3rd overall pick and selected power forward Evan Mobley from USC. Mobley has been a blessing for the Cavaliers this season and barring any long-term injury could win the NBA rookie of the year award and make the NBA defensive team. Mobley would be the first rookie to make the NBA defensive team in over 20 years; the previous guy was Tim Duncan in the 97-98 season.
The Cavaliers have also seen a jump from young guard Darius Garland who could represent the Cavaliers as an all-star in Cleveland in February. The Cavaliers have been one of the biggest surprises of the NBA this season and it will be fun to see where the team goes from here. After sweeping a three-game road trip, the Cavs have dropped their last two in close games.
It will be an exciting rest of the season for the Cavs as they continue to stay close in all of their games, beating or coming close to beating several playoff teams.