J.B. Bickerstaff says Cavs have ‘bigger places to go’ after clinching playoff spot

4 Min Read
Allison Farrand-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 1998, the Cleveland Cavaliers are heading to the playoffs without LeBron James.

That’s an accomplishment worth celebrating, and the 2022-23 Cavs are certainly a squad that the city of Cleveland won’t soon forget. However, the team still has bigger goals in mind, and no one is more aware of that than head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

“Just the question about where we started, we’ve got bigger places to go, and this is a start for us to be able to clinch a playoff spot,” Bickerstaff said. “But as we think about this and as we put this team together, we all have one end goal, and those end goals don’t come and happen overnight. So we’ve got to continue to get better. We’ve got to continue to grow. Coaches, players, everybody has to continue, and that’s why we say we’re not a finished product.”

Bickerstaff seems to be doing a good job of keeping the team’s eyes on the prize.

“We told the guys to enjoy this, but we ain’t done yet,” Bickerstaff said. “And I think that’s the mindset we got to continue to have.”

The Cavs are in good shape to finish the regular season as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. If the dominoes fall their way, they could even pass the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 seed before all is said and done.

That would be a big win for Cleveland. While the No. 4 seed is a solid place to be since it ensures home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, the No. 3 seed in the East will likely have a more advantageous path than the No. 4 seed this season.

As things currently stand, the Cavs (as the No. 4 seed) would face the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs before likely having to deal with the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round.

However, if the Cavs were to earn the No. 3 seed, they’d likely find themselves facing a team like the Brooklyn Nets or Miami Heat in the first round before presumably seeing the Boston Celtics next.

Neither route is particularly easy, but avoiding a first-round matchup against the Knicks would be a win for Cleveland. New York plays a gritty style of basketball that could push any series to seven games.

Ultimately, the Cavs are looking to win their first NBA title since 2016 and just their second in franchise history. They’d have to shock the world in order to do that this season, but stranger things have certainly happened.

When looking at the big picture, Cleveland is way ahead of schedule with its rebuild, and the team’s window to win is just starting to open. The future is bright for the organization.

Share This Article
Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.