Cleveland, Ohio – The Cleveland Cavaliers Officially on the NBA’s radar.
Annual NBA GM Survey – A set of 50 questions about top teams, players, coaches and off-season moves were released on Tuesday morning, and the Cavs received plenty of acclaim.
Not only did Cleveland top the list for Player of the Season and Best Young Core, with 41% of the total votes in both, but also had individual players with multiple titles.
Following a surprise 44-win season that saw the Cavs advance to the playing cycle, the start-up organization acquired All-Star Donovan Mitchell three times in a fantastic deal with the Utah Jazz.
The move, which raised expectations and turned it into a legitimate threat to the Eastern Conference (selected for sixth place in this poll) was the signature maneuver that led to the “best off-season performance”. But there were others. The Cavs have signed trusted veterans Ricky Rubio, Raul Neto and Ruben Lopez. They closed franchise column Darius Garland with maximum contract extension. He gave Dean Wade – one of six players in the mix to start in the small attack this coming season – a multi-year deal. Drafted – and traded – sniper Oshai Aghbaji. Former NBA coach Luke Walton has been added to the squad.
With All-Stars Garland and Jarrett Allen first on the roster already, Mitchell’s arrival in early September brought that number to three. The Caves, who believe Rookie of the Year runner-up Evan Mobley could reach fourth place as soon as this year, and NBA champion Golden State Warriors are the only teams with that many — a case that helps explain why Cleveland has an edge. On 56 – Win Memphis for “Best Young Core.” The Grizzlies took second place in this category with 38% of the vote while the Detroit Pistons took third place.
All four Cleveland building blocks — Allen, Garland, Mitchell and Mobley — are 26 or younger on contract for at least the next three seasons. The Cavs also includes some young rotation players – third-year player Isaac Okoro (21), Wade (25), Lamar Stevens (25), Dylan Wendler (26), Sidi Othman (27) and Karis Levert (28).
As for Mitchell, he was chosen by the GMs as the buyout to make the most impact for his new team. With 59% of the vote, Mitchell earned the honor of former teammate Rudy Gobert—who was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a deal that helped start the rebuilding of jazz—and the New York Offseason Award Galen Bronson. The Cleveland-Utah trade was also considered the second most surprising move of the summer, led only by Joubert, who joined Minnesota.
While countless players got votes that would likely have a breakout season, Cavs wunderkind Mobley was the winner. Mobley received 21% of the vote, defeating, among others, Kid Cunningham, Anthony Edwards and Zion Williamson – the last three No. 1 picks.
“He has the potential to be a star without being your team’s top scorer,” CAFs coach JB Bickerstaff said on a media day. “He has a chance to be the best player on the floor without having to take the most shots. It’s hard to find. He can stuff the stats sheet into every category, that’s our expectation for him. We want him at the end – and hopefully this year – in the conversation of the best defensive player.” for this year. We think he has that kind of ability and can have that kind of impact on Earth.”
All of this acclaim led to Cleveland being rated the second-best improved team, a draw with the New Orleans Pelicans and only bettered by the Los Angeles Clippers.
In other categories, league executives chose the Milwaukee Bucks for the NBA Championship, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic as the best player, Paulo Banchero of Orlando for the Player of the Year award, and Eric Spoelstra of Miami as the coach of the year.
As in every off-season, GMs were not allowed to vote for their team or staff, and percentages are based on the pool of respondents for those particular questions rather than all 30 GMs.
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