Ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season, DK Network is taking an in-depth look at all 30 teams. We’re going over all the big moves from the offseason, predicting the starting lineup, providing a fantasy basketball perspective, looking at relevant odds and assessing season expectations for each franchise. Here’s a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cleveland Cavaliers 2023-24 Outlook
Key additions: Max Strus, Georges Niang, Emoni Bates
The Cavaliers had a clear need for bench scoring after getting blasted by the Knicks in the first round, and they did something about it. Strus was in line for a big payday after his rise with the Heat and Cleveland had the cap space to get a deal done. Niang has consistently been a solid three-point shooter as well. Bates is one of those players with rare potential despite being a second-round pick. He was the No. 1 player in his college class and had issues off the court which caused him to fall. If he clicks, that’s another nice rotation player Cleveland can throw into the mix.
Key departures: Cedi Osman
Osman was a good bench player but the Cavaliers are going to be able to make up his absence without many issues.
Projected starting lineup
Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen should be locked in as starters. Allen is dealing with an ankle injury and might miss some time at the start of the season. The fifth spot could go to either Caris LeVert or Strus, with the latter likely getting the nod due to his low usage.
Fantasy basketball player to watch: Evan Mobley
It’s tempting to wonder what Mobley could do as a full-time center without Allen in the lineup. The big man averaged 16.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game a season ago and could make his first All-Star team this year. However, there could be less opportunities with more shooters being added and Cleveland putting more on Mitchell’s plate. We’ll see how the Cavs deploy their rotations, but it might be worth playing Mobley and Allen separately more often. That could boost the third-year big man’s numbers and make him an intriguing fantasy asset.
Notable odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Win total: 50.5
To make playoffs: Yes -1400, No +800
To win East: +1000
To win NBA title: +3000
Last year’s campaign ended in a bitter playoff loss to the Knicks, who hadn’t won a playoff series in a decade. The Cavaliers likely felt they could push the best teams in the East in the postseason, and we saw that wasn’t the case. Cleveland did make the moves they felt were necessary without compromising the core group, which is a good sign.
The expectation for this season will be to make the playoffs and then win a playoff series. If you look at the win total and East odds, the Cavaliers are expected to be among the list of contenders. There are some clear heavyweights at the top, but anything can happen in a single playoff series. If Cleveland remains healthy, this roster is good enough to make a deep run.