The Cavaliers’ offensive versatility and flexibility
With Darius Garland and Evan Mobley returning to the fold playing starter-level minutes, we saw the level of looks the Cavaliers can throw at their opponents with the core all in action. The Cavaliers offense never really felt like it lost momentum through four quarters as it always seemed that one of Mitchell and Garland, was always paired up and were running similar sets.
The offense has also just continued its recent playstyle of playing selfless (36 assists on 51 makes) while also shooting a heavy volume of (efficient) three-point shooting (23-41). It appears, despite the common fear shared by Cavaliers fans, that this offensive formula can stick when you add high-caliber players to the mix like Garland and Mobley.
This type of offensive output, combined with the fact that both Darius and Evan have not mutually been on offensively in the same game, is a great sign that when all cylinders are firing this offense can still grow and evolve as everyone is back to full strength and comfort level.
The Strus getting loose
Max Strus, while not having a career year shooting the ball, has found various ways to remain a high-impact player for the Cavaliers this season. Today was one of those nights where while the shots were falling for Strus (22 points on 8-13 shooting), he was able to continue his relentless motor on the glass and kept active defensively. Strus was a thorn in the side for the Kings tonight, with many times generating turnovers and causing a stir in the Kings’ offensive sets.
When Strus is on offensively, he truly rounds out the Cavaliers starting five with not only shooting, but all-around play.
Coach J.B. Bickerstaff had high praise for Max Strus after the #Cavaliers hammered the Sacramento Kings, 136-110 Monday night. Strus scored 22 points, was 6 of 10 on 3s and had two steals, two assists and no turnovers. pic.twitter.com/F3GeS6hmr9— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) February 6, 2024
Donovan Mitchell’s depth of his bag
At some point, you just have to continue to be astounded by the athletic and creative feats Donovan Mitchell generates on a nightly basis. I think everyone who watched this play live left their seat in disbelief.
Luxury Tax looming over roster heading into trade deadline
As the Cavaliers head into the week of the trade deadline, rumors have emerged regarding the roster and the availability of players. Two popular names floating around the rumor mill are Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert. The reason is that both players have been instrumental in the team’s league-best form in the past 15 games.
Okoro, viewed as a two-way wing, is typically a highly coveted position in the league and one opposing teams will also be intrigued with. He has become a much more reliable offensive player both in his shooting volume and his decision making while still playing high-end defense.
LeVert, a score-first ball handler, is also a player archetype that generates interest from teams looking for a punch off the bench. Both will generate interest not only due to their quality of play but also, with the salary-friendly deals both will bring to the respective teams. As the Cavs flirt with the luxury tax line, if both players are retained after this season, they will incur significant financial penalties from the league. It will be interesting to see how the Cavaliers view this season’s success when considering their long-term view as well.