Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen firmly believes that injuries were the chief reason why the team missed out on a possible deep playoff run last season.
Lauri Markkanen on #Cavs from Finland: “We really liked being around each other. … If it wasn’t for all the injuries, I believe we had the possibility to go deep in the playoffs.”
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) August 28, 2022
A number of key injuries during the course of the 2021-22 season helped put an abrupt end to the Cavaliers’ hopes of making a spirited postseason run. Those included season-ending injuries to Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio and a late-season issue for Cavs big man Jarrett Allen.
Struggles Down the Stretch
Such a quick end to the promising campaign was especially painful, considering that the Cavaliers had a record of 35-21 after a win over the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 11. Over the remainder of the regular season, the Cavs struggled and finished with a 44-38 record.
Those woes dulled the momentum for what had been shaping up as the team’s first playoff appearance in a few years.
Markkanen himself was limited to 61 games during the regular season after his acquisition last year. During his time on the court last season, he averaged 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
The Cavaliers are certainly hoping that Markkanen and his teammates can stay healthy enough to make a dent in the 2023 postseason. One thing they don’t have to worry about is seeing Markkanen leave in free agency in the near future.
That’s because Markkanen signed a four-year deal last year worth about $67 million. He’s signed for the next three seasons and will be eager to try to deliver on the court in hopes of either garnering a new deal from the Cavs or getting some attention from other teams if he eventually leaves Cleveland.
For now, he’s certainly locked on the 2022-23 campaign as the Cavs look to take another step forward.