The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired Donovan Mitchell in a trade, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 1, 2022
That group of players helped the team earn a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
But now that Mitchell has been added to Cleveland’s young core, expectations are higher for the squad.
Anything short of a playoff berth would likely be considered a disappointment for the Cavs in the upcoming season.
Mitchell knows a thing or two about playoff basketball, which is great news for Cleveland.
In fact, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently expressed excitement over Mitchell’s impressive playoff track record.
“I mean, he’s been in the playoffs every single year that he’s played; his numbers increase in the playoffs,” Bickerstaff said to The Athletic. “Like that’s not an easy thing to do.”
It seems safe to say that Bickerstaff is thrilled to have Mitchell in Cleveland.
He recently called the deal for the three-time All-Star a “no-brainer.”
“Getting Donovan is a no-brainer,” he told Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com.
If the Cavs do indeed make the playoffs in the upcoming season, what can they expect from Mitchell?
Mitchell Rises To The Occasion
It’s no secret that Mitchell has had a phenomenal NBA career so far.
As mentioned, he’s a three-time All-Star, and for his regular season career, he averages 23.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.
But in the postseason, he takes his game to another level.
The 26-year-old has already played in 39 career playoff games, and in those games, he has averaged 28.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per match.
The best postseason of his career so far came in the Orlando, Fla. bubble in 2020.
The Jazz lost in seven games in the first round of those playoffs, but it certainly wasn’t Mitchell’s fault, as he averaged a whopping 36.3 points per game in the series.
2 years ago today, Donovan Mitchell dropped 57 Points alongside 9 Rebs and 7 Assists in Game 1 against Denver in the bubble pic.twitter.com/d91lSB53ag
— Lukas (@KBsLakeShow24) August 17, 2022
The guard clearly has what it takes to deliver when the lights are bright, and that’s something Bickerstaff and the Cavs are surely pumped about.
That said, Mitchell does still have postseason boxes he needs to check.
Most notably, he has never made it past the second round of the playoffs during his five years in the league, which is something he’s certainly looking to change.
Utah’s playoff shortcomings seemingly played a large role in the organization’s decision to trade away Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, but now that Mitchell is surrounded by one of the best young cores in the NBA, he’ll have a chance to lead the Cavs on some serious playoff runs.
Cleveland is set to open its season in less than a month, as the team’s season opener is scheduled for Oct. 19 against the Toronto Raptors.
That game will mark the beginning of a new and exciting era for Mitchell and the Cavs.