The 2021-22 NBA season will attempt to be as close to a normal NBA season as possible after two years playing through a pandemic. The COVID situation in the United States has not improved as much as expected, but the league expects to get a full 82 games in while pushing for its players, coaches and staff to get vaccinated.
DKNation will be going through all 30 teams ahead of the season, looking at how the roster shapes up for the 2021-22 campaign. Here we take a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are hoping to be more competitive as they continue to rebuild through the draft.
Cleveland Cavaliers 2021-22 Outlook
Key additions: Evan Mobley, Lauri Markkanen
Mobley was the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft and immediately fills a hole for the Cavaliers in the frontcourt. The Cavs decided to bring back Jarrett Allen on a big deal as well, but Mobley is the more versatile big and has the potential to anchor the franchise for years to come. It’ll be interesting to see how Cleveland uses both players, but it looks like the plan is to bring Mobley along slowly and potentially use him off the bench to begin the season.
Markannen was an interesting add for the Cavaliers, especially given their lack of progress towards a parting with Kevin Love. The Finnish product has undeniable upside, but hasn’t been able to consistently string together big performances and struggles defensively. A frontcourt of Mobley and Markkanen could be the future in Cleveland.
Key departures: Larry Nance Jr.
Nance Jr. isn’t going to grab headlines, but he’s a useful frontcourt player who brings energy and athleticism to the court. The Cavs ultimately got a player with more upside back in Markkanen, but Nance Jr. is a solid rotation player to have on any roster.
This is another rebuilding season for the Cavaliers, who are hoping to find a star to build around. Collin Sexton was in trade rumors this offseason. Love continues to be available, although he reportedly refused a buyout. Mobley is a rookie. Darius Garland could make a jump in Year 3, but that won’t be enough to make the Cavaliers contenders. It’ll be another season where progress is judged by player development rather than wins and losses.
Fantasy basketball player to watch: Darius Garland
Garland had an impressive sophomore campaign, averaging 17.1 points per game and shooting 39.5 percent from behind the arc. His distribution skills also took a jump, with the guard averaging 6.1 assists per game. He’s going to be on a bad team, but someone has to score points, grab rebounds and dish assists. There’s a chance Garland becomes a big-time scorer for the Cavs this season, and he’s going to be available in fantasy basketball late.