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What are the best and worst case scenarios for Cleveland Cavaliers this season?

It’s year one of the Donovan Mitchell era and the stakes are higher.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2022-23 Cleveland Cavaliers have expectations, perhaps the most any Cavs team not featuring LeBron James has had in over two decades. So what are the possible outcomes? Let’s get into it.

What’s the ‘Best Case’ scenario for your team this season?

The Cavs’ ‘Best Case’ this year would be 50-plus wins and a top-three seed in the East. If Cleveland can stay healthy — something that did not happen last year — they should be able to have a top-10ish offensive and a top-five-ish defense. And if some of their role players — namely Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert — figure it out, they have solid enough depth.

The key to all of this is Evan Mobley. If he takes another step forward — especially on offensive, were he was serviceable at best as a rookie — it raises Cleveland’s ceiling. He’s that special.

What’s the ‘Worst Case’ scenario for your team this season?

The Cavs are going to take some time to gel, so maybe that takes more time than expected. In a loaded Eastern Conference — where eight or nine teams have legitimate expectations/hopes to avoid the play-in tournament — that puts them behind the eight ball. On top of that, the Cavs’ lack of trustworthy wings leaves them exposed in a conference that is full of teams with really good wings. They still win 45 or so games, but fall in the play-in and face an uphill battle to get into the real playoffs.

What’s the ‘Most Likely’ scenario for your team this season?

It’s somewhere in the middle of the their best case/worst case scenarios. It’s going to take some time for this all to come together, so expect it to be a few games before the Cavs are really humming. But they should figure out and, led by the Mitchell/Garland/Mobley trio, be competitive in a loaded Eastern Conference.

What are you most excited for going into this season?

The Cavs are just at the beginning of whatever this era will turn out to be. They have Darius Garland, fresh off his first All-Star season and still ascending towards his peak. They acquired a in-his-prime Donovan Mitchell over the summer to pair with Garland and juice the team’s offense. Evan Mobley is an All-Defense level player now and should take a step forward in year two. Jarrett Allen is coming off of an All-Star too.

This is the build up era. This is not a title or bust year — Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman has said as much multiple times. This is the fun, relatively stress free era for the Cavs. It’s going to be fun watching them grow into the best version of themselves.

Predict your team’s win/loss record for the season.

49-33. This is one win above the Cavs’ over/under (DraftKings has them at 47.5) and should put them in good playoff positioning.

Predict your team’s conference seeding

Fifth. The Cavs won’t push the conference’s three best teams — the Boston Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers — and won’t quite get to home court for a first round series. But they will avoid the play-in and be a good position to advance out of the first round and deep into the playoffs.

Roster Additions

Donovan Mitchell, Robin Lopez, Ricky Rubio, Raul Neto

Roster Losses

Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ed Davis, 2022 first-round pick Ochai Agabji

Last season’s team record


Last season’s conference ranking


Last season’s offensive and defensive rating

112.92 offensive rating (19th), 110.79 defensive rating (seventh)