One of the best and biggest surprises of the young NBA season is the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As a young team, they’ve had their ups and downs in the young season, but are currently on a three-game winning streak, and blew out the Miami Heat in their last game, 111-85.
Throughout the young season, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been searching for a lineup that works.
That search wasn’t helped by the injury of star point guard, Collin Sexton, but the Cavs are finding their way without him.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently 6th in the Eastern Conference.
— Nick Karns (@karnsies817) December 2, 2021
Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why Cleveland might be a legit contender in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
Their Group Of Young Bigs
Every one of them outside of Allen has missed part of the season due to injury.
However, all four of them are healthy right now, and the results are speaking for themselves.
They’re led right now by Allen who is averaging 16.3 points per game, good enough for second-best on the team.
He’s also averaging a team-leading 11.3 rebounds per game and 1.2 blocks per game.
Allen isn’t a threat from the outside, but he’s a resilient rebounder and defender who acts as an anchor in the middle of Cleveland’s interior defense.
Love, Markaanen, and Mobley are all big-time scoring threats and rebounders and are each averaging at least 11 points and six rebounds apiece.
With all four of the big men healthy, Bickerstaff often plays two or three of them at a time, which makes for difficult matchups.
Mobley is a long and athletic scorer and defender who plays well on both sides of the ball.
Love and Markaanen are two of the Cavalier’s top 3-point shooters and their combination of size and shooting ability makes them extremely tough to defend.
The Guards Are Picking Up The Slack
Losing Sexton was a big blow for the Cavaliers.
He was their leading scorer and point guard as well as one of their emotional leaders.
Sexton had a tendency of bringing energy and determination to the floor that his teammates fed off of.
Garland is a scorer and playmaker who leads the Cavs with 18.5 points per game and 7.2 assists per game.
Rubio comes off the bench and is second on the team in assists, averaging 6.3 per game.
He also contributes a shade under 14 points per game and is definitely a candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Osman, who is currently recovering from an injury, seems to have found his stride coming off the bench and adding some scoring relief.
Okoro is currently starting for the Cavs and brings the energy and resilience that they lost with Sexton’s injury.
Overall, it’s been win by committee for the 2021 Cavaliers.
Outside of Sexton and Osman, the Cavs are healthy and looking good.
They have seven players averaging over 10 points per game, and have a unique combination of young players and veterans that are gelling together splendidly.
So, to recap:
Evan Mobley – Rookie of the Month winner
Darius Garland – Player of the Month nominee
Jarrett Allen – Player of the Month nominee
J.B. Bickerstaff – Coach of the Month nomine
The three best players on the #Cavs along with their coach get the respect they deserve.
— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) December 2, 2021
If they can keep their current momentum going and manage to stay healthy, the sky’s the limit for Cleveland.