As the Cavaliers prepare for the 2019-20 season under rookie head coach John Beilein, they expect another season of irrelevancy as they develop their young core.
The Cavaliers were arguably the winners of the draft, with the trio of Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. to add to an already fairly youthful team.
Beilein and GM Koby Altman opted to remain quiet in free agency. Aside from a potential late offseason acquisition, the Cavs’ focus is to build through the draft as few free agents view Cleveland as an attractive free agent destination.
In all likelihood, the Cavs will spend 2019-20 languishing towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference with the goal of ensuring Beilein finds his feet at the next level.
Perhaps as equally significant is that the backcourt of Garland and 2018 8th overall pick Collin Sexton can develop chemistry and understanding as a dual point guard partnership.
Pairing Garland and Sexton will be a decision which will potentially make or break, Beilein’s tenure as well as the success of the Cavaliers franchise in the foreseeable future.
The backcourt duo should thrive in Beilein’s offense. A system that has focuses on a quick ball movement and a structure to create open looks should prove to be enjoyable for a young backcourt.
With 2019-20 providing little expectation for the Cavs, the potential to forge two foundational pieces in stone and implement a long-term system is a gigantic opportunity. One which the Cavs must capitalize on.
Baring that in mind, what is the Cavaliers ceiling for 2019-20? With Kevin Love’s future uncertain, John Beilein’s men must decide as to whether offload the former All-Star and his huge contract or to hopefully bounce back into playoff contention.
With Love, Cleveland posted an offensive rating of 113.4, per NBA.com. That would have been fifth in the league over the full season. Without him, they were one of the league’s 7th or 8th-worst offenses. They were also 6.6 points better per 100 possessions.
Considering the weakness in the lower part of the Eastern Conference, it is theoretically possible for the Cavaliers to qualify for the playoffs as a lower seed.
Detroit and Orlando haven’t improved much. Miami has added Jimmy Butler but still have a lot of question marks. The Hornets are seemingly going backward and the Knicks are still rebuilding. Chicago and Atlanta are likely still a year or two away. While Washington is staring a rebuild in the face.
Six teams are virtual locks to make the playoffs in the East. The other two slots could quite possibly be filled by two teams .500 or under. Regardless, Beilein’s men will, in all likelihood, not have the quality to advance. With that being said…is it worth it?
Garland, Sexton, Porter Jr, Windler, Larry Nance Jr and Cedi Osman is a promising core. Although I highly doubt Cleveland will reach their peak this season, the playoffs could be a possibility. But the Cavs shouldn’t mortgage their future on that.
The best possible solution may be to simply take a patience approach before Garland and Sexton can unleash a full force partnership on the rest of the NBA.