Cleveland Cavaliers 2022-2023 Season Summary.

April 29, 2023

Andy Billman

Excitement | Hope | Disappointment.

Wow, even just reading the title of the article gives all different types of feelings.  

The complete season had a lot of highs, thrilling victories, lovable moments, and confidence, along with a playoff appearance ending with major disappointment, and heartbreak city.  

Let’s relive the 2022-23 Cleveland Cavaliers, shall we, pour some wine, and let’s review. 

It all started with the trade that brought Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland in the offseason.  That automatically changed the dynamic of the organization, while raising expectations.  Mitchell’s arrival in Cleveland gave the Cavaliers energy and a different vibe.  A winning now vibe.  

Donovan Mitchell, the new leader of the Cavs, brought opponents to their knees with his ability to score points in a hurry.  With his backcourt mate Darius Garland and the twin towers of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, the Cavs became a hometown favorite. With the team being fairly young, there was no limit to the future on how successful they could be.

Mitchell stamped his legacy in Cleveland with a 71-point performance against the Chicago Bulls.  After the Bulls game, there was no longer a debate; Mitchell was the face of the organization. 

As Mitchell led the way, becoming the main scorer, Garland developed into a steady point guard, adapting fully to his new role by the all-star break.  Add Mobley, who would be acknowledged for his elite defense, and Allen controlling the paint, the Cavs would become one of the best defensive clubs in the NBA.

This team also got along well, really well, which bled over into the fanbase.  Fans loved this team as they represented Cleveland with their attitude, heart, and hard work, and with the Cavs winning games, the fan base became a lovefest.   

Isaac Okoro would fill out the starting five for most of the season, with Caris LeVert being the main 6th man off the bench.  The Cavs would also feature on most nights a slew of players, including Ricky Rubio, Lamar Stevens, Dean Wade, and Cedi Osman

The Cavs also surprisingly bought out the last player from the 2016 NBA Championship, Kevin Love would become a free agent leaving to the Miami Heat.  This marked the ending of the 2016 LeBron-led Cleveland Cavaliers championship team.  The new era had officially begun.  

It really was a wonderful regular season, and the Cavs did a nice job moving the bar on expectations of getting 51 wins and landing home-court advantage in the 1st round against the New York Knicks.  It was so positive being a Cavs fan without a worry about any long-term negative impacts as the ball tipped off for the playoffs. 

Then it happened…

The playoff series against the Knicks ended in a nightmare as the Cleveland Cavaliers were out-hustled, outworked, and embarrassed.  Mitchell was outplayed by Jalen Brunson, Garland was outplayed by Josh Hart, and Mitchell Robinson had his way in the paint with a rebounding thunder pushing around the hapless Allen out of the way to dominate the glass.   Mobley, who did a good job defensively, did nothing else in the series to make an impact on the games.  

The Cavs lost all of the positive vibes in one playoff series.  Think about it, all that goodwill is now gone after a playoff series.  Gone.  Cleveland is about heart, and this club, which the city learned to love, showed no heart in the end.  

In the coming days, we are going to break down the roster, evaluate the players and determine what needs to be done.  It will not be easy, as this is one of the harshest flops in the history of Cleveland sports.  From feel-good and clapping, to face-planting and booing, the complicated and emotional ride of 2022-23 ends with heartbreak and deep evaluations needed to repair.

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