On paper, the Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the most exciting teams in the NBA heading into the 2022-23 season.
They were one of the peskier teams in the Eastern Conference last season, and now that Donovan Mitchell is in the mix, the Cavs have the potential to do some damage in the upcoming campaign.
Mitchell’s partner in crime in Cleveland’s backcourt is going to be Darius Garland.
Last season, Garland made a statement by earning his first All-Star selection, and he’s starting to emerge as one of the better points guards in all of basketball.
Mitchell, who projects as Cleveland’s starting shooting guard, should be a great fit next to Garland, but Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently revealed that he has an interesting plan in mind for when Mitchell and Garland aren’t on the floor together.
It sounds Mitchell will find himself playing point guard in certain situations.
#Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff shared with me he plans on using Donovan Mitchell as a point guard with some of his bench units when staggering Mitchell with Darius Garland.
— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) September 28, 2022
It sounds like Bickerstaff is hoping to have at least one of Garland/Mitchell on the floor at all times, so there will be stretches during games when Mitchell is on the floor and Garland is not, and vice versa.
J.B. Bickerstaff plans on staggering Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell: "The goal is to have one of them on the floor at all times. So we'll figure out a way through our rotations, who gets the longer run, who gets the shorter run, and then when the pullback happens." #Cavs
— Spencer Davies (@SpinDavies) September 27, 2022
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Mitchell will be used as a point guard every time he’s on the floor without Garland, but it does sound like he’ll play that role sometimes.
Without a doubt, it’s an interesting strategy from Bickerstaff.
What To Expect During Mitchell’s PG Minutes
Mitchell played point guard at times during his stint with the Utah Jazz, and he looked fine doing it.
The 26-year-old has become a really solid playmaker in recent years, as he averaged 5.3 assists per game last season and 5.2 assists per game the season before.
Last season, Jazz writer Tony Jones took a look at what Mitchell brings to the table as a point guard, and he had a lot of good things to say.
“The leap that he’s made at the position, and the leap that probably changes the Utah Jazz fundamentally in coming years, is Mitchell’s improvement at the cerebral parts of playing that spot,” Jones wrote. “He’s recognizing coverages better than he’s ever had. He’s making much better reads out of the pick-and-roll. He’s become a more willing passer, recognizing that setting up teammates only serves to make him more dangerous from a scoring standpoint. He is recognizing mismatches among his teammates better than he’s ever had.”
The bottom line is that good things happen when the ball is in Mitchell’s hands, and that’s great news for the Cavs.
A Season Full Of Promise
It’s no secret at this point, but the Cavs have a very high ceiling going into the 2022-23 season.
To sweeten the deal, the Cavs are a very deep squad, and they’ll get even deeper once Ricky Rubio returns from injury.
Even in an extremely difficult Eastern Conference, this has the potential to be a special year for Cleveland.