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Later today, the 2022-23 iteration of the Cleveland Cavaliers will officially kick off their season with the team's annual media day. The following day, things will really get underway with the team starting their training camp. With things getting underway, there's a lot of optimism blowing off the shores of Lake Erie and onto the hardwood of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Cavaliers had an extremely promising season last year and almost made the playoffs with one of the youngest teams in the NBA.
Coming off last season, expectations were already high in and around Cleveland's front office. But, when the team traded for Donovan Mitchell a few weeks ago, it further accelerated things and made the Cavaliers a favorite to make the playoffs for the first time without LeBron James since the 1997-98 season. With those shifts in expectations, there is now an overabundance of questions surrounding Cleveland heading into this upcoming NBA season. Right Down Euclid will be asking a lot of them and also providing as much coverage as possible as well – so, be sure to subscribe so you don't miss anything now and all season long.
But, considering Right Down Euclid is a one-man enterprise, there are only so many questions that can be asked in one media day session. So, with that said, we asked readers and followers alike to shoot pertinent questions they had about this young Cleveland squad. Today, we'll try to answer them to the best of our ability as well as incorporate them into our list of questions as well.
But, before we get started, a quick housekeeping note. I participated in the ninth-ever VeloSano, which is Cleveland Clinic’s premier fundraising initiative in which 100% of every dollar raised supports lifesaving cancer research at Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Children’s. Thanks to your support, I was able to shave off nearly 30 minutes from my time last year. But, we're still a little short of the initial goal overall. Thankfully, you still have until October 1 to donate if you're able!
Here is a direct link to my fundraiser page. With every dollar donated we may not be able to eradicate cancer tomorrow but, we'll be one step closer to ending it for good. Thank you for your support!
See @Taurus510W's post on Twitter.
A similar question was asked during Mitchell's introductory presser and both then and now I don't think the Cavaliers will. In trading the three players you mentioned, the Cavaliers were able to get a top-25 talent as well as one of the league's best players at the shooting guard position in Donovan Mitchell. Players like that don't become available too often and when they do, it's a fireable offense to not try and go after them, no matter what team you are. That's why you saw teams like the Los Angeles Lakers trying to go after Mitchell, despite having virtually no assets. It's also why you see opportunistic teams like the Cavaliers do the same and become a serious force in one swift move.
Clearly, Cleveland believes in their heart of hearts that trading for Mitchell puts them in serious contention in a very talented Eastern Conference. Not only that, but, Mitchell slots in beautifully into the young core the Cavaliers are building and gives the organization a multi-year runway in order to continue leveling up. It also answered the ugly question of how much money they were comfortable paying Collin Sexton while losing Lauri Markkanen clears up a logjam between your bigs and also actually gives Ochai Agbaji an opportunity to play. It's unfortunate since it would be great to see all three make the playoffs for the first time in their NBA career. But, them's the breaks in this industry.
Hi there! Big time Cavs fan trying to figure out if we should expect 3 guard sets with Mitchell, Caris, Garland, Rubio, ect. – Cody C.
This is something that will be definitely asked to head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. Last season, Bickerstaff and his coaching staff unlocked a lot of things on both ends of the floor by going with what was called a "Big Ass" lineup by Bickerstaff. It was weird and unconventional but, more than anything, it worked. It became more than a wrinkle and, instead, became the core identity of Cleveland's style of play.
The Cavaliers could continue to lean into what they know this season as well. Sources tell Right Down Euclid that newly-extended forward Dean Wade, who is more of a traditional small forward, is in the mix to finalize the starting lineup. That's all well and good but Cleveland should stay static with playing three bigs on the floor at any time.
Instead, they should be dynamic and that's where your question comes into play. The Cavaliers have an interesting balance of players all while having no reliable wing on the roster. But, in that balance, it gives Cleveland a chance to go small at times while still having the chance to play tall as well. Don't be surprised when you see lineups featuring any of Wade, Kevin Love, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, Robin Lopez and even Isaiah Mobley next season. You can also say the same with lineups featuring a trio or more of Mitchell, Darius Garland, Caris LeVert, Isaac Okoro, Ricky Rubio as well as Raul Neto.
The ability to be dynamic allows the Cavaliers to be a bit more unpredictable next season and even harder to prepare for on a night-to-night basis. Don't be surprised to see Bickerstaff experiment at times early into the season to find lineups that work.
If the Cavs struggle do you think J.B. will begin to warm up? – Graham J.
While this won't outright be asked during media day by yours truly, it is fair to ask Bickerstaff if there's newfound pressure heading into this season. Cleveland will probably struggle at times to start the season because they need a longer runway to figure out things with Mitchell now on the roster. It's going to create grumblings outside the team and also public pressure through fans and some members of the media. The Cavaliers just need to maintain the course and not fall into the pitfall of "Things are bad, fire the coach!" as my friend and colleague would say.
Bickerstaff has more than proven he's the ideal coach for this team both as stylistically and as a leader. That more than should give him the benefit of doubt when the team likely struggles. Thankfully, Cleveland's front office isn't one that tends to overreact.
Cleveland bringing back forward Jae Crowder makes a ton of sense off the court, especially if he is available. But, it may not make as much sense off the hardwood. Photo credit: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images
See @BigMikevilla123's post on Twitter.
Another great question to ask Bickerstaff on Monday afternoon. Traditionally speaking, the Cavaliers are a team that goes 8 to 9 players deep under Bickerstaff. On opening night, it's safe to assume Garland, Mitchell, Evan Mobley, Allen, Love, LeVert and Okoro are all locked into the rotation. Neto would make sense as the team's ninth man and serve as a backup to Garland. But, if Mitchell and LeVert are able to soak up minutes at the point, it makes much more sense to get Wade serious minutes as a multifaceted big that can play from small forward to center.
I've spitballed this idea in my head for a bit now and now that Wade has signed his extension, it does make sense to have him in the rotation somehow. Perhaps Bickerstaff extends his rotation to 10 players and leans more on depth in order to keep key stars fresh. That's the most logical way to go about it. But, if Wade wins the starting small forward spot, that changes everything for everyone.
What impact if any will Luke Walton or any of the assistants have on the team's offense? – Keith H.
I think the coaches on Cleveland's coaching staff due serve multifaceted purposes. Dan Geriot will likely slide back into his role helping develop the team's big men as well as serving as a game-day coordinator. Greg Buckner is the team's associate head coach and helps with the team's defense. Sidney Lowe helps with the offensive side of the ball as well as player development. Antonio Lang assists in player development and has a strong connection to Mitchell. J.J. Outlaw also helps with player development with more of a focus on the team's guards. Andrew Olson is the team's shooting development coach.
It's unknown what Luke Walton's role will be but, it would make sense if he's involved with the team's offense in some capacity, as well as player development. He's spent a lot of time coaching young, talented guards in De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. He also was with the Golden State Warriors as an assistant when Stephen Curry revolutionized the game and made a three-point-heavy, triangle-based offensive identity a staple. The Cavaliers could draw a lot of inspiration from that and could help push their somewhat anemic three-point attack into overdrive.
Could the Cavs trade for Jae Crowder before the start of the season? He'd be a great fit! – Ashton F.
I was also asked this question on Twitter so I'm going to two birds, one stone it. In theory, yes – Jae Crowder would be the perfect fit for Cleveland and their never-ending question at small forward. He's a bigger-sized, three-point shooting defensive specialist and covers a lot of needs for Cleveland. It's also worth noting that the Phoenix Suns have made it clear he's available via trade and the Cavaliers could cobble together a package with some of their back-end pieces and spare draft picks. Some league sources believe that Cleveland could make one of the more compelling offers as well for Crowder but it remains to be seen what the Suns are looking for in return.
But, there could be concerns about Crowder rocking the boat as well. Sure, coming to a team winning could fix a lot of things for him. But, the Suns are a title contender and, despite this, Crowder is still vocally upset about things. Mind you, this isn't the first time Crowder has been a toxic presence – his first time was when he was with the Cavaliers several seasons ago. Sure, Cleveland being a winning situation and having an easy path for Crowder to start could smooth things over. But, if things get unsteady will he go down with the rest of the ship? It feels unlikely right now.
See @bitz1307's post on Twitter.
Obviously, a lot of it depends on how this season will go. But, right now, I think the Cavaliers are a team that'll win more than 50 games and is good enough to get into the second round of the playoffs. If things break their way in the second round, the Eastern Conference Finals feel like their true peak.
Featured image credit: Nick Cammett/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. You can also email him at email@example.com. He can also be found three to five times a week on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.
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