TheCleveland Cavaliersended a frustrating and disappointing playoff series against the New York Knicks on Wednesday by losing Game 5, 106-95, and getting knocked out of the playoffs.
The Cavs youth and lack of depth were on full display in the series, as they consistently got out-rebounded and lacked any offensive spark off the bench.
However, lost in their dismal performance against New York is the fact that they appear to have a very bright future.
Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff put a positive spin on the season as a whole by saying that his players should be proud of what they did.
Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) April 27, 2023
Last season, Cleveland came minutes away from winning the play-in tournament, and they had a promising young core that consisted of All-Star point guard Darius Garland and big men Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
But their timeline was shoved forward when they shocked the NBA by landing star guard Donovan Mitchell in a trade late last summer.
Mitchell had his best season yet, averaging 28.3 points per game and shooting 48.4 percent from the field, both of which were career-highs, and the Cavs finished with a 51-31 record, which gave them fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Most impressively, they finished first in defensive rating, which in itself is a sizable accomplishment for such a young team, and it has given the Cavs a foundation to build upon moving forward.
The team needs to address its lack of productive bench players, as well as its lack of beef in the frontcourt, but it may only be a matter of time before they seriously contend for an NBA championship.