Lauri Markkanen says the Cavs would’ve had a shot at a deep 2022 playoff run if not for injuries

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

The Cavaliers were able to reach the play-in portion of the season. However, consecutive losses to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks eliminated them.

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.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.