It’s no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers were exposed in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Their flaws came out to play, and their lack of postseason experience was on full display during the organization’s first trip to the playoffs since 2018.
The disappointing playoff showing put a damper on an otherwise fun 2022-23 campaign for the Cavs, who finished the regular season with a 51-31 record. Some folks started calling for serious changes within the organization once Cleveland was eliminated from the playoffs. However, one former NBA coach and executive doesn’t think that’s the right route for the team.
“It’s such an emotional time,” he said, per Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. “You can panic. It’s like the playoffs erased everything that happened in the regular season.”
The Cavs were eliminated in five games by the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.
“With a team like Cleveland, you don’t tear it up,” he continued. “But they do need to do something. Some of their flaws were exposed. They need to get tougher. They need more shooting.”
While Cleveland does have some areas of weakness that need to be addressed this offseason, it’s worth noting that the team gained some invaluable experience just by reaching the 2023 NBA Playoffs. By getting there, the Cavs know what to expect next time around, and with any luck, the moment won’t be too big for them in the future.
As far as other adjustments go, the playoffs showed that Cleveland’s star frontcourt duo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley can be neutralized against certain opponents. New York’s Mitchell Robinson essentially erased Allen and Mobley from the series, making it clear that Cleveland’s bigs still have a lot of work to do when it comes to getting physical.
The series against the Knicks also made it clear that the Cavs need to add some depth. They didn’t get enough bench production during the best-of-seven battle and had to rely heavily on their starting lineup to carry the load, which is rarely sustainable for any team.
It also wouldn’t hurt the Cavs to add some shooting and wing help.
It doesn’t seem like the team is going to blow things up this offseason, but some adjustments around the edges are definitely necessary. Cleveland’s front office has shown that it isn’t afraid to be aggressive, so it’s a safe bet that there will be new reasons for optimism by the time the 2023-24 season arrives.