The NBA’s most surprising team of last season also had the splashiest summer. How exciting will the Cavaliers be in their high-expectation encore?
Things can change quickly in the NBA.
Believe it or not, we are only about 2.5 years removed from then-Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein reaching out to players to let them know he meant to say that they were playing like a bunch of “slugs” and not “thugs” during a film session.
And in the first three years after LeBron departed for LA…
That equates to a three-year record of 60-159 and a .274 winning percentage. (Woof.)
But last season the Cavs completely flipped the script and wildly outperformed all preseason expectations, winning 44 games as the NBA’s most surprising team. The Cavs likely would have won 50+ games and been a top-six seed in the playoffs, but they dealt with injury after injury as the league’s most snake-bitten team.
The Cavs’ preseason Vegas win total last year was just 26.5. This year it’s currently 21 games higher (!!) at 47.5. So yeah, things can change quickly in the NBA.
The Cavs made it out of the darkness and now the sun shines down abundantly.
Here is what to look forward to when watching one of the league’s most exciting teams.
3. The Block Brothers: Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen
The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of two teams in the NBA to currently have three All-Stars on the roster, but Evan Mobley is not one of them. Yet Mobley is the Cav with arguably the highest ceiling, the player that some have even said could be a generational talent. He is a defensive menace, seemingly everywhere he’s needed to be. He’s drawn comparisons to Tim Duncan. There’s not much higher praise than that. They do have the same demeanor. Stoic. Always poised and calm.
The other Block Bro here is Jarrett Allen, the fro-power dunker and fro-power blocker. Allen lives above the rim, whether he’s throwing one down or swatting one away. Between Mobley and Allen, the Cavs can have 48 minutes of rim-protecting terror.
Mobley and Allen combined for 3.0 blocks per game last season, and they were also both top 10 in total dunks, the only teammates to pull that off. The 315 combined dunks between just the two of them were more than five teams had altogether (Spurs 251, Pistons 257, Blazers 293, Pacers 294 and Heat 304).
If you like blocks and dunks, tune in to the Cleveland Cavaliers.