The Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the NBA’s best stories in the 2021-22 season.
Expectations weren’t very high for the squad when the season began, but the Cavs ended up winning 44 games and would have earned a playoff bid if injuries hadn’t interfered.
This season, however, expectations are very different for Cleveland.
After trading for star guard Donovan Mitchell, the Cavs project to have one of the best starting lineups in all of basketball, and the team seems talented enough to make some serious noise in the Eastern Conference.
Cleveland’s starting lineup will likely look something like this:
- PG: Darius Garland
- SG: Donovan Mitchell
- SF: Isaac Okoro or Caris LeVert
- PF: Evan Mobley
- C: Jarrett Allen
It seems like most Cavs fans expect to see Okoro start at the 3 spot, but there’s a chance LeVert will get the nod instead.
The small forward position is probably the biggest question mark for the Cavs, but when it comes to their projected starters at every other position, they could end up with All-Stars across the board.
Is it realistic to think Cleveland could end up with four All-Stars this season?
Garland put himself on the map in the 2021-22 season with a breakout campaign.
With the injury bug hitting the Cavs as hard as any team in the NBA last season, Garland was forced to carry a huge load, and he was up to the task.
The 22-year-old averaged 21.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per contest while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.
He earned his first All-Star selection along the way.
Darius Garland’s step-back 3 is a legit weapon but his floater is so effortless. It’s hard to stop. pic.twitter.com/Z2Eh6cjSKZ
— Mack Perry (@DevaronPerry) August 31, 2022
This season, his role will likely change a bit with Mitchell in the mix.
The newcomer’s presence should take a lot of pressure off of Garland, as both players are capable of being No. 1 options.
That’s a huge relief for Garland, who will no longer have to worry about being Cleveland’s only go-to guy as a ball-handler and scorer.
While that’s undeniably good news, it may lead to a slight dip in statistical production for Garland, but it likely won’t be a big enough dip to keep him out of the All-Star Game.
In recent years, Mitchell has made it a tradition to make the All-Star Game, and that trend will likely continue in the upcoming season.
The former first-round pick, who turns 26 on Wednesday, is one of the best guards in the NBA, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Last season, Mitchell went for 25.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game.
He shot 44.8 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Like Garland, Mitchell will probably see his role change a little this season, but he’s still going to be All-Star material pretty easily.
Mobley was simply phenomenal as a rookie, and it seems like a foregone conclusion that he’ll earn multiple All-Star selections throughout his career.
Will he earn his first this season?
A sophomore leap seems extremely likely for the 21-year-old, and if the leap is big enough, he may very well find himself in Salt Lake City for the All-Star Game.
Mobley averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game last season while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from deep.
He played like a veteran in a rookie’s body, which was especially true on the defensive end of the floor.
The youngster may already be one of the best defenders in the NBA.
On the offensive end, he has a little more room for growth, especially when it comes to things like being more aggressive and becoming a bigger threat from beyond the arc.
Evan Mobley jumper watch 👀 pic.twitter.com/ZuEcnBpHyK
— Tony Pesta (@Tony_Pesta) September 2, 2022
If his growth is apparent in the first half of the 2022-23 season, don’t be surprised to see him in the All-Star Game.
Allen earned his first All-Star selection last season, and he certainly deserved it.
He averaged a double-double and was ridiculously efficient in the process, as he went for 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest while hitting 67.7 percent of his shots.
It’s easy to forget that Allen is still just 24 years old, so he likely isn’t done improving.
He was an All-Star caliber player last season, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be one in the upcoming season, especially if he continues to grow as a player.
So, to recap, the Cavs truly do seem to have four All-Star candidates heading into the 2022-23 campaign.
It’s probably more realistic to expect two or three Cavs to end up in Salt Lake City for the event, but if the dominoes fall the right way, Cleveland could become the first team with four All-Stars in a single season since the Golden State Warriors in 2018.