Pretty soon, Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff will have to figure out how to best utilize all that promising talent.
He already had to do it, but now that Donovan Mitchell is on board, Bickerstaff will need to become even more creative. The Cavs’ backcourt now consists of Mitchell, a three-time All-Star, and Darius Garland, a returning All-Star himself.
Make no mistake, this makes Bickerstaff’s job a little more challenging. But it’s the good kind of challenge — the kind where the talent is unquestionably there, you just have to bring it to life.
Bickerstaff has said he understands all this, and that is why he’s glad Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman pulled off the trade.
“(It was) a no-brainer,” Bickerstaff told Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto of the Mitchell trade.
That echoed what Bickerstaff told reporters at Mitchell’s introductory press conference.
“It doesn’t change what we want to do and how we want to play,” Bickerstaff said. “He’ll fit right into that. It just goes to another level when you think about the dynamic on offense.”
This is all true. Not only is Mitchell joining Garland, but he will have Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen as teammates up front. Bickerstaff has yet to determine who will start at small forward — with the likes of Caris LeVert, Isaac Okoro and Cedi Osman being considered the top candidates.
“We have quality starter guys who can come off bench like Kevin Love,” Bickerstaff said. “If you can keep two or three of your top six players on the floor at all times and keep some of your starters playing against backups — it gives you an advantage.”
It all starts with Mitchell, acquired from the Jazz, and Bickerstaff making sure everything fits together.
The Cavs are coming off a 44-38 season, the eighth-best mark in the Eastern Conference. So it’s easy to have faith in Bickerstaff. They tip off training camp next week.