While the Cleveland Cavaliers’ trade for star guard Donovan Mitchell has largely been met with excitement, there are some fans who are deeply concerned about how the squad’s backcourt will perform defensively.
Mitchell is set to play alongside rising star Darius Garland, and there’s no denying that the duo is undersized. Garland and Mitchell are both 6-foot-1.
Garland has shown growth as a defender for the Cavs, and the team would certainly love to see more of that this season. Cleveland would also undoubtedly love to see Mitchell take a step forward as a defender, as that has been a weakness for him throughout his career.
He is aware of that, and he’s ready for it to change.
“I can play defense,” Mitchell said recently. “I know that for a fact. I haven’t shown that and that is what I’m looking forward to doing here.”
The 26-year-old has made it very clear that he wants to improve on the defensive end of the floor. It’s a great sign for the Cavs, and it shows that the newcomer is committed to getting better.
While Cleveland’s backcourt may be a concern defensively, the same can’t be said about the squad’s frontcourt. Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are both fantastic defenders, and they were largely responsible for the team’s defensive identity last season.
Right now, the four players who are seemingly locks to be in Cleveland’s starting lineup are indeed Garland, Mitchell, Mobley and Allen. It’s unclear who will earn the Cavs’ final starting spot, though the team would probably love to start a player who can help on defense.
The Cavs do have some internal options for the final starting spot at the small forward position, but they’re also reportedly interested in Jae Crowder, so fans probably shouldn’t count out the idea of Cleveland making another deal.
Crowder is a solid defender, and he’d be a nice piece for the Cavs on both ends of the floor.
Cleveland will open its 2022-23 season on Oct. 19 against the Toronto Raptors. By then, there will likely be a clearer picture of the starting lineup that the Cavs intend to roll with this season.
After an exciting 2021-22 campaign, it’s time for the Cavs to take the next step and make some noise this season.