The Cleveland Cavaliers are living the best moment since the arrival of Donovan Mitchell to the franchise. Bickerstaff' s 2024 team has one of the best records in the league and sits second in the standings, making them the Boston Celtics ' top chase in the Eastern Conference.

  • Raising the franchise's competitive bar

The Cleveland squad has a record of 15 wins and 2 losses in 2024 and out of the last 15 games they have managed to win 14 of them. They are currently on a 9-0 streak playing at home in their home arena, so they already have two fewer losses than the Bucks and are 6 wins behind the unbeatable Boston Celtics.

This winning streak is mainly due to the team's brilliant defense and improved offense. Coach JB Bickerstaff has been questioned at times, but there is no denying his great work on the defensive end. The Cleveland Cavaliers finished last year's regular season with the best defensive rating in the league and are currently in second place behind the Minnesota Timberwolves.

JB Bickerstaff | Fuente: Reuters
JB Bickerstaff | Source: Reuters

The differential factor of these positive results has been the improvement in offense compared to the previous season, increasing their points average to almost 119 points per game and becoming the second team with the most three-pointers scored per game, with 15 points scored respectively. The improvement is superlative looking ahead to the 2022-2023 season, as in the previous season they finished25th in scoring, averaging 112 per game and with the low statistic of being the 19th team with the most three-pointers scored.

  • The fall of their competitors

This team's position in the standings is mainly due to the merit of the players and coach, however there has been a drop in the competitive level of two of the best teams in the conference and the entire league.

The Bucks, despite owning a positive record and with only two more losses than the Cleveland Cavaliers, the feelings are very different from the team led by Donovan Mitchell. The Milwaukee Bucks surprised the entire league by firing Adrian Griffin with a 30-13 record and second in the conference, behind only the Boston Celtics. The return to the bench of Doc Rivers after the departure of the previous coach has not been positive, as since his arrival the team has achieved 3 wins in 8 games and dropped to third place.

Adrian Griffin, el técnico destituido | Fuente: @nba
Adrian Griffin, the dismissed coach | Source: @nba

The other team that has had a considerable drop in the last few weeks has been the 76ers, who are in a worse situation than the Bucks. This is because they have fallen to the 5th position, close to the Indiana Pacers due to the worst possible news for the franchise, Embiid 's injury indefinitely, which will make him miss the opportunity for the MVP and the Philadelpia team's aspirations to finish in a good position in the playoffs, despite the great level of Maxey.

  • Donovan Mitchell: A star to dream about

The 27-year-old American player is averaging 28.5 points per game this season. He also has 5.5 rebounds per game, which for his height is a very high figure and complements it with 6.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. The numbers on offense would not be possible without the maximum reference of the Cavaliers, which is being very important in the clutch moments as we were accustomed to in Utah Jazz.

<strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/es/baloncesto/2020/09/02/nba/1034971-cronica-nba-un-final-de-infarto-para-una-serie-historica.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/es/baloncesto/2020/09/02/nba/1034971-cronica-nba-un-final-de-infarto-para-una-serie-historica.html'>Donovan Mitchell</a></strong> tras el último encuentro | Fuente: @cavs
Donovan Mitchell after the last game | Source: @cavs

Last season Donovan Mitchell was questioned for his irregularity on the court and the league's fans wondered if he was really a first-rounder to compete for the top level with a franchise. However he is responding with career-best averages and shattering statistics, becoming the second player in franchise history with the most games over 40 points, with 18 respectively and in just two seasons surpassing Kyrie Irving.

Donovan Mitchell has been named NBA All Star for yet another year and is the only player in the league along with Shai to average more than 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.5 steals. In addition, this season he has reached 11,000 points and has broken records, such as becoming the fourth player since the 1973-1974 season to score 30 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in 26 minutes.

  • Role players

Injuries to Evan Mobley and Darius Garland caused uncertainty in Cleveland. Both players have only played in 5 of 17 games since the start of 2024 and on the court averaged 24 minutes per game. Last year's rookie was an essential piece for Bickerstaff and his defensive model, however the great role of the role players and Jarret Allen have managed to overshadow his absence and that of Garland on the offensive end.

The surprise of these Cleveland Cavaliers without their best players has been Sam Merrill. The 27-year-old Merrill played only 5 games last season, but in 2024 he has changed his role with 8.3 points and 44% three-point shooting in 16.1 minutes on the court. The shooting structure has also been composed by Max Strus, Georges Niang and Dean Wade, who have been key players in three-point shooting and defense for this team.

Dean Wade | Fuente: @cavs
Dean Wade | Source: @cavs

The return of Mobley and Garland means an increase in quality in the squad, however the biggest question mark for this team will be if Bickerstaff will continue to go for the offensive and time control game that has given them so many good results this 2024.

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About the author
Nacho Valles Asensio
Soy redactor de Revoluters y de Vavel, además he colaborado con otro medio de fútbol modesto y actualmente curso periodismo en la universidad.