J.B. Bickerstaff reveals Cavs offensive system will undergo change this season

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers fans should perhaps expect a change on the offensive end of the court from the team this season after coach J.B. Bickerstaff revealed as much in an interview with NBA.com.

“You’ll see a change in our offensive system,” Bickerstaff said after being asked about Donovan Mitchell. “Two years ago, we were predicated on a ton of ball movement and body movement. We’re going to try to get back to that, where everybody is moving more, the ball is moving more. Then he (Mitchell) gets an opportunity after the defense has shifted to go do what he does best.

“It’s going to be asking everybody to be a little more dynamic, to be a little harder to find. When you’re chasing an elite player like Donovan, he’s got the advantage automatically. Now he’s just got to make the play.”

The arrival of Mitchell in the 2022 offseason gave Cleveland arguably its most dynamic offensive player since LeBron James. The former Utah Jazz superstar did not disappoint as he finished the 2022-23 regular season leading the team in scoring with 28.3 points per game.

While “Spida” gave Cleveland a potent source of points, the squad still finished near the bottom of the league in scoring. It averaged 112.3 points per contest, and while that was 4.5 more than it recorded in the previous campaign, it still placed 25th in the league in that department.

Cleveland’s offensive woes became its bane in the 2023 playoffs because the New York Knicks’ stingy defense took advantage of the Cavs’ overreliance on Mitchell and Darius Garland to create shots for the squad in the first round. The backcourt duo did combine for 43.8 points per game in five matches versus the Knicks, but shot just 80-for-184 from the field, equivalent to 43.5 percent.

None of the Cavs’ other rotation players in the series shot better than 50 percent from the field except for Jarrett Allen, who made 61.1 percent of his shots.

Hopefully, Bickerstaff’s plan to change up the offensive system will yield positive results for the team and help in its quest to become one of the top squads in the Eastern Conference again.

In addition, Mitchell can become a free agent in the 2025 offseason if he declines his player option for the 2025-26 campaign. If Cleveland can continue to improve and prove that it can contend for a championship, the chances of the four-time All-Star remaining with the organization might get a boost.

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Orel is a freelance writer who is passionate about the NBA. He has followed the league since the late '90s and found increased interest in it in 2003 – when an 18-year-old prodigy from Akron, Ohio took the league by storm.