Granted, the Cavs were already viewed as pretty promising. But now they are considered a fairly major player. This despite the fact they still have a relatively young roster and incredibly young core.
But there’s no questioning the overall talent and upside. And NBA nation is taking notice.
One example of that is the preseason Power Rankings from veteran insider Marc Stein of The Stein Line. He listed the Cavs No. 9 overall. Not in the Eastern Conference, but in the entire NBA. Stein noted that many considerations are factored, however, including offseason moves and big-picture possibilities. (More on that in a minute.)
“Count your friends from The Committee among those who admire the Cavaliers’ go-for-it spirit,” Stein wrote of his committee of one. “We wouldn’t bet on Donovan Mitchell retiring as a Cav, but we’re fascinated by the prospect of a Mitchell/Evan Mobley/Jarrett Allen/Darius Garland core.”
“How many All-Stars will Cleveland send to Salt Lake City in February? How long before Mobley supplants Mitchell as the Cavs’ best player?” he wrote. “When was the last time Cleveland could pose such compelling questions without LeBron James? The Cavs, remember, haven’t won a playoff series without LeBron since (gulp) 1993.”
Stein listed the following eight teams, respectively, ahead of the Cavs in his rankings:
Warriors, Bucks, Celtics, Nuggets, Clippers, Suns, 76ers and Grizzlies. Meanwhile, the Cavs were ranked higher than notables such as the Heat, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Nets and Hawks.
Granted, Stein did make an important disclaimer, one that he said is often skipped over in readers’ mad dash to see where their favorite team is ranked.
“Allow us, furthermore, to issue this reminder: This sentence seems to be skipped over by many readers every year, but the first batch of rankings is NOT meant to represent straight-up predictions for how the 2022-23 standings will unfold,” he wrote. “In the Training Camp Edition, how a team fared with its summer business and recent injury developments are major factors that, in addition to a team’s big-picture outlook, determine where it lands.”
The Cavs are set to open training camp Sept. 27, tipping off the season with a visit to the Raptors on Oct. 19.