Have the Cleveland Cavaliers done enough to surpass expectations? – Right Down Euclid mailbag

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In an ongoing series for Right Down Euclid, readers can submit their questions about anything related to Cleveland sports and we'll answer them to the best of our ability. So, with that said, today Right Down Euclid will answer your questions, and hopefully more, on this edition of the weekly mailbag.

But, before we get started, a quick housekeeping note. I'm riding again in this year's VeloSano to help in the ongoing battle against cancer! If you or anyone you know have been impacted by cancer, I'd appreciate your financial support by donating to my fundraiser page and sharing, if possible!

Here is a direct link to my fundraiser page. You have until October 1 to donate! Thank you for your support!

Have the Cavs done enough to make the playoffs next year? It feels like they're still a play-in team! – Kyle A.

I was asked something somewhat similar so I'm going to two birds, one stone t his question.

We're in the dog days of the NBA offseason, with the Cleveland Cavaliers likely making their return to Cleveland Clinic Courts for training camp in mid to late September. There will be plenty of familiar faces but there will be some new ones as well. Of course, there's rookie forward Ochai Agbaji and fellow rookie big man Isaiah Mobley entering the fold. But, the Cavaliers also signed Ricky Rubio, Raul Neto and Robin Lopez as well to provide high-quality veteran depth.

Granted, Rubio likely won't be ready until the start of 2023 so that means Neto will be primed to back up franchise cornerstone Darius Garland to start the season. When Rubio returns, Neto will likely be phased out of the rotation and serve a similar role to Lopez. In the event there's an injury, Neto or Lopez will provide emergency depth and, more importantly, serve as higher quality options compared to Kevin Pangos and Ed Davis from a year prior.

Beyond the duo of Neto and Lopez, the Cavaliers are hoping they get a semblance of the player Rubio was when healthy. That, along with the fact that Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are going to improve drastically, coupled with support from Agbaji, Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love, Isaac Okoro, Caris LeVert and possibly Collin Sexton, you have to feel good about Cleveland's chances in making a crack at the playoffs.

The problem is, how high will the Cavaliers fly next season? As of today, here are the teams that are better than Cleveland on paper heading into next year in no particular order:

  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Boston Celtics
  • Miami Heat
  • Atlanta Hawks

Sure, the Hawks could seem like a bit of a reach but Trae Young is a bonafide superstar. The Brooklyn Nets could easily join this list as well but it all depends on what happens next with Kevin Durant. With that said, the Cavaliers likely can't remain in the thick of things with the Bucks, the 76ers, the Celtics and the Heat for the entire grind of an 82-game season. Granted, a lot of things could change between now and then but, for now, it's hard to gauge where Cleveland lands in the grand scheme of things.

That means the Cavaliers are the next tier below with the likes of the Toronto Raptors, the Chicago Bulls, the Charlotte Hornets and the New York Knicks. Mind you, that's no shade at Cleveland as you can make an argument they're the best team in this group. But, there are only eight playoff spots to go around through the entirety of the Eastern Conference. That means that despite all the internal growth the Cavaliers are banking on, it might not be enough to keep themselves out of the Play-In tournament.

Thankfully, there's a lot of time between now and then and things could break any which way. Let's not forget that Cleveland was projected to win only 26.5 games last season and they more than shattered that. If they break through, they could be equipped to make a serious run at the Eastern Conference Finals.

Do you think Deshaun should play a snap for the Browns? If he doesn't should they go after Jimmy G? – Tyler E.

No, I don't. But, it's for sure bold of the Browns to play him in their first preseason game tonight against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I do wonder if the NFL comes down with their suspension in order to make a statement to both Watson and Cleveland.

In regards to your second question: absolutely they should go after Jimmy Garoppolo. This Browns team is too talented on both sides of the ball and cannot waste another year of Myles Garrett's and Nick Chubb's prime waiting to figure out the quarterback situation. Sure, Garoppolo has his limitations as a player. But, it might be better than the risk of leaning on a possible full season of Jacoby Brissett. If I were the Browns, I'd give the 49ers a call before a team like the Steelers swoops in and grabs him, making your aspirations for the playoffs even more complicated.

See @Nation1Cavs's post on Twitter.

It all depends on who the Cavaliers cut or trade in order to make proper room for Collin Sexton's long-term contract. Sources have told Right Down Euclid multiple times that Cleveland doesn't want to go into the luxury tax threshold to sign Sexton and this will be no different. I don't think Seton will get the contract he's looking for that's north of $20 million. Instead, it'll fall into somewhere between $15 to $18 million annually at the end of the day. If he doesn't accept and he bets on himself one more time, things are going to get even more interesting since he'll be an unrestricted free agent. Buckle up.

What games are you playing right now? Looking for new recommendations! – Greg F.

Whenever I have the time and the weather is crummy, I've been playing a ton of Halo Infinite and Gran Turismo 7. When the weather is nice, I'm usually golfing when I have time or working on projects around the house. I'm really looking forward to some of the games coming up this fall, though.

Featured image credit: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Email him at evan@downeuclid.com. Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is either your Facebook account or email address!


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