After a lackluster season, the Cleveland Cavaliers continued onward, prepping for the future and on Thursday night, they drafted three young, talented pieces in Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. Pairing the trio with last season’s number eight pick, Collin Sexton, allows the Cavaliers to develop young talent; it’s something they haven’t done in what seems like a lifetime. When you throw in fan favorites Larry Nance Jr., Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic, the Cavaliers have amassed a nucleus of talent. The eldest of the group being Nance at age 26. That means that as a fan base, there must be an understanding that player development is key to the turnaround of the franchise. Patience is a virtue.
Without the allure of LeBron James, the organization will have to rely on building a contender primarily through the draft. Think the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. Although they can acquire talent via trade, they currently don’t possess the cap space to do so.
However, in the 2020-21 season, only four players will be owed guaranteed money (Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., Collin Sexton, and Ante Zizic) totaling $51,831,442 meaning, at the very least, they can attempt to lure higher profile players with the promise of a max contract.
But don’t count on it.
That’s where trading for talent would come in, making the blueprint to success (more like the Toronto Raptors than the teams mentioned above).
The future could very well be bright, but it all starts with this upcoming season. With a roster full of shooters and playmakers, this year’s team should be more of what every Cavs fan hoped last years team would be. Point guard Collin Sexton has a full NBA season under his belt. A season that saw an abysmal start, but an outstanding post-All-Star Break where he averaged 20 points per game and shot 44.8% from behind the arc. The addition of Darius Garland may very well lead them to be the Portland Trailblazers of the East with two miniature guards who can shoot, move the ball and play off the ball. Players like Larry Nance Jr. and Dylan Windler could play well off of one another, similar to Nance and Jordan Clarkson last season.
While there are many holes in the roster, new coaches John Beilein, Lindsay Gottlieb, J.B. Bickerstaff and Antonio Lang must learn to make do with what they currently have; to develop the young core, build its confidence and create a system that will ensure the Cleveland Cavaliers won’t be a bottom-tier team for much longer.
Until then, Cavalier fans can look forward to watching the newly acquired talent learn and grow together, shooting the ball at a ridiculous rate along the way, which should make up for the rocky, but an entertaining road that lies ahead.