Former NBA center and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins said the Cavaliers should aim high, given how the roster looks on paper. As in, they should set out to do no less than reach the Eastern Conference finals.
“Going into their second year with the core group of guys they have in (Darius Garland), in Donovan Mitchell, you looking at Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, those four alone, they should grow from last season being spanked by the New York Knicks,” Perkins said, via Peter Dewey of Cavaliers Nation. “And I believe that they will get better. They improved the depth on their bench. I believe this kid Emoni Bates will come in and actually play some minutes off the bench — not saying he’s going to get 30 — but the Cleveland Cavaliers’ goal should be at least reaching the conference finals.”
Last season, of course, the Cavs finished 51-31 for the East’s fourth-best record (second to the Bucks in Central Division). But as Perkins mentioned, they were rocked by the Knicks in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
This offseason, they traded guard/forward Max Strus, and signed forward Georges Niang, guard Ty Jerome and center Damian Jones. They also re-signed guard/forward Caris LeVert. Theoretically, they have filled most of their needs.
That said, they remain on the lookout for more veteran help, as we relayed here. But even without it, Cleveland looks again to be in a good place.
“They have to get to the conference finals the way that they look on paper. They have too much talent,” Perkins said. “They have an MVP-caliber player in Donovan Mitchell, who can put up 30 on any given night. They have zero excuses not to reach the conference finals this season.”