Cavaliers 2021-2022 Season Preview


Chris Heermann/The Observer

Small forward Cedi Osman drives forward for a layup.

Ishan Kulkarni, Staff Writer

As October comes around, a new season of NBA basketball comes along with it. This season marks the 75th anniversary of the league and with every stadium allowing fans back in, this season is set to resume as a traditional season after the pandemic affected the past two seasons’ timeline and experience. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers, which has been in rebuild mode for the past couple seasons, are looking ready to go after some new additions to the roster. After a 22-50 record last season, this team has made several improvements to fill some key holes and hopefully be competitive. 

After picking up the third pick in this year’s draft, the team swooped up Evan Mobley, a center out of USC. Touted as the modern big man who can run the floor, block shots and be a defensive presence in the paint, Mobley looks to be a lock for the starting power forward position. 

This leads into one of the biggest dilemmas for the Cavaliers this season. After acquiring young center Jarrett Allen from the Nets in the James Harden trade last year, the team will have to see how these two fit together in the frontcourt. Allen is a traditional center who is not as mobile as Mobley and will mostly occupy the paint as he is unable to space the floor. Mobley can rim run better and was able to space the floor decently in college, but it remains to be seen if that skill has translated to the NBA level. The team will also have Kevin Love back after injuries and will have to see how he fits into the rotation. 

The team will also take a close look at starting guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Though both have been playing significant roles on the team during this rebuilding period, their long-term fit will be evaluated. Garland’s play will especially be scrutinized; in his third season, he will look to take on a lead scoring and secondary playmaking role behind Sexton. 

Collin Sexton’s future with the team remains somewhat clouded since his agents and the Cavaliers’ front office have failed to reach a deal for a contract extension. Thus, Sexton is slated to become a restricted free agent following this season. The Cavaliers will have to evaluate his market value and decide if they want to match any offers he receives from other teams. 

Small forward Issac Okoro, who is now in his second season with the team, will also look to become a bigger part of the team’s offense while cementing his role as the team’s defensive stopper on the wing. 

The team’s bench looks solid with Cedi Osman, Ricky Rubio and newly-acquired Lauri Markkanen. Markkanen will look to return to his previous form as a stretch four after having a bit of a slump for the past two seasons with the Chicago Bulls. 

Overall, this team is poised to improve from their 22-50 record last season. Reaching the bottom seeds of the playoffs will be the goal for the team as they continue to restructure, and the next month will give us a good idea of how all these pieces will fit together for this team.