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Yes, the Cavs can win the 2023 NBA Title

No, this is not a clickbait headline.

Yes, this is just my opinion.

Yes, the Cavs can win the 2023 NBA Championship!

The 2020-2021 NBA Season feels so long ago, doesn’t it? The Wine and Golders finished that shortened 72-game campaign due to the effects of COVID-19 with a record of 22-50, Kevin Love seemingly gave up on the team, and the future of the Cavs looked bleak.

Then came the 2021-2022 season.

Fresh off of drafting a stud power forward/center in Evan Mobley, the Cavs took off. Even with a season-ending injury to the “Young Bull”, the upstart Cavs, led by the emergence of Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, the youth of Mobley and the resurgence of Love, were the talk of the NBA. Through December, the Cavs had a 20-16 record, just two wins shy of the amount of wins they had throughout the entire 2020-2021 season. General Manager Koby Altman was promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations, and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff inked a new five-year deal.

On December 28th, Ricky Rubio, a big offseason acquisition and somebody who was playing exquisite basketball, went down with a torn ACL, but even that did not stop the Cavs from impressing the association. They skated out to a 35-23 record before the All-Star break, battling for a Top 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Post All-Star break, injuries to Garland, Allen and Mobley decimated the team, and they only won nine out of their 24 games down the stretch, dropping them down to the No. 8 seed in the Play-In Tournament where they would lose back-to-back games to the Nets in Brooklyn and Atlanta inside of Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse to be eliminated from playoff contention.

A season that started out with such hope ended in bitter disappointment, but deep down, the Cavs players, the front office and fan base knew one thing was true: Even though the team struggled down the stretch, the season wasn’t a lost season. In fact, it was anything but.

For the first time in the 2000s, the Cavs finished above the .500 mark without a kid born December 30th, 1984 in Akron, OH, on their roster. Darius Garland blossomed into a star. Evan Mobley showed what damage he can do in the NBA already at such a young age. Isaac Okoro showed occasional flashes of growth. Kevin Love transitioned to a bench role beautifully and revived his career, finishing second in Sixth Man of the Year voting and stayed healthy. Players such as Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens played well at times when called upon, showing the depth of the team. All the team needed was one more player… one more player who could take the pressure off Garland and create his own shot.

That player was supposed to be Caris LeVert. Altman acquired him at the trade deadline from the Pacers for a lottery-protected first-round draft selection. The idea was good in theory, as Levert was a proven scorer at every stop throughout his NBA journey, but the Cavs injuries and lack of time with the team forced LeVert to struggle in a Cav uniform.

Because the team missed out on the playoffs, they received their first-round selection back from Indiana. There was a debate on whether the Cavs would use that first-round selection on a young talent in a loaded draft class or whether they would use the No. 14 pick, along with Collin Sexton, who was set to become a restricted free agent, as trade bait to acquire the missing piece.

They ended up doing both! They drafted Ochai Agbaji, a four-year guard at Kansas who could shoot the long ball, but Agabji would never take one dribble with the ‘C’ across his chest.

As the calendar turned to September, training camp was right around the corner, or there was no entail as to what the Cavs were going to do with No. 2. We got our answer around 3 p.m. September 1st when Sexton, along with Agbaji, Lauri Markkanen and three unprotected first-round selections were dealt to the Utah Jazz for Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell, aka “Spida”, was rumored to be dealt throughout the whole summer. The Jazz had already traded away Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and they were ready to start their rebuild. All signs pointed to No. 45 heading to the Big Apple to play for the Knicks, but the Jazz opted to send the star guard to Cleveland instead of New York.

As a result, the Cavs now have potentially four All-Stars in their starting five in Garland, Mitchell, Mobley and Allen. The other spot, the small forward, seems to be a four-horse race that will be decided internally during training camp. Reports suggest Okoro has looked like the most improved player on the team heading into the season, and if the reports hold true, the Cavs are going to be even harder to defend. Teams can no longer double team DG and hope Okoro or another wing misses a wide open 3-point attempt in the corner thanks to Mitchell. With Allen and Mobley manning the middle, and the two guards taking up the defenses’ attention in the backcourt with their lethal ball handling and scoring ability, whoever does play the ‘3’ for the Cavs will have an ample amount of opportunities to put the orange ball in the cup, whether it’s from mid-range, behind the arc or at the basket.

Not only is the Cavs starting lineup now littered with talent, the bench is now as well. Kevin Love will reprise his role as the go-to sixth man, but whoever doesn’t win that small forward spot is going to have a role off the bench. Okoro, LeVert, the newly resigned Wade and the reportedly improved Dylan Windler can all contribute both offensively and defensively, not to mention Robin Lopez brings toughness to the team as the veteran backup center, and Rubio was brought back and will be a huge help as another veteran presence late in the season. Players such as Stevens will have a hard time finding time on the court unless an injury occurs. Draft picks such as Isaiah Mobley, the brother of Evan, is going to have to ball out in training camp to have a shot to make this Wine and Gold team, and that’s why this Cavs team can win the 2023 NBA Championship: Depth.

The Cavs have one of the top five rosters in all of the association, and they have the chemistry since most of the team was in-tact a year ago. Their oldest starter is Mitchell, who’s a year older than yours truly! A young and talented team that doesn’t know better is a dangerous team! Just look at last year’s Grizzlies.

You start looking around the Eastern Conference. Yes, Milwaukee is still Milwaukee, but the Cavs size matches up well with the “Greek Freak”, and everybody else that’s considered contenders has questions. Boston is dealing with an internal mess right now with head coach Ime Udoka, Philadelphia has the talent, but James Harden and Joel Embiid are not reliable health wise, and we truly don’t know if they can co-exist, Miami had somewhat of a magical run to the No. 1 seed last year and aren’t a powerhouse in my opinion, Atlanta is better but not as talented as the Cavs, same with Toronto, and the Barclays Center is more likely to burn down then the Nets being a legitimate threat in the East with all of their offseason drama.

Out west, besides Golden State, who the Cavs matchup well against with their size, who scares you? Memphis is good, but they, like the Cavs last year, are probably a player away, Phoenix can’t close series’ out, Luca Doncic can’t do it all in Dallas, the Clippers have injury-prone stars, and the Lakers are essentially the same team they brought back last year that didn’t even come close to sniffing a championship.

The NBA is the easiest sport out of the Big Four to rebuild. It does take a couple of lucky bounces in the draft and through trades, but Altman and the Cavs have gotten that. Just two years after having major organization question marks, the Cavs are in position to win the Eastern Conference in 22-23, and if you can win the East, you can win the Larry O’Brien Trophy,

Absolutely, the Cavs should be considered championship contenders and don’t be surprised if this team is playing into June 2023.

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