After a crazy 2019-20 season, we have reached the NBA Finals and the season is drawing to a close.
It is interesting to look back on the year that has passed, and starting today I will be examining every team’s performance and how they can improve heading into the 2020-21 season.
Working from the bottom up, we begin by looking at the 2019-20 Cleveland Cavaliers who finished bottom of the East. The Cavaliers have not made the Playoffs without LeBron James since 1998, and that does not look like it will change any time soon. The Cavaliers are in a full rebuild mode, and look years away from contention.
The team finished the shortened season with a 19-46 record, the worst record in the East and the second worst record in the NBA only trailing the injury riddled Golden State Warriors. The team was led in points by young Collin Sexton, averaging 20.8PPG. Most of the other stats were led by former All Stars Kevin Love and Andre Drummond.
The biggest move the Cavaliers made during the year was picking up Andre Drummond in February in a trade where they were clearly the victors, trading away only Brandon Knight, John Henson and second round pick for the former All-Star.
And while Drummond could opt to test the free agency, it is more likely he sticks around by picking up his $28.75 million player option to stay with the team for the 2020-21 season.
As reported by Eric Woodyard from ESPN when the trade first occurred, Cavs General Manager Koby Altman would like to have Andre Drummond stick around.
“So I think with the player option or not, we have flexibility and optionality moving forward, but I think these next 30 games or so, he’s really going to enjoy playing with our guards and Kevin Love as well, and we’ll see,” Altman said. “But with his age and what he brings to the table, I think for sure we have to consider him a long-term play.”
Drummond did not play many games for the Cavaliers, however he averaged 17.5PPG, 11.1RPG and 1.4BPG whilst in a Cavs jersey. The team should definitely consider keeping Drummond if possible, as he is only 26 years old and still has at least three to four years left of his prime to give the team.
The backend of Drummond’s prime would also match up with Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. all hitting their primes, making the team a deadly team that could contend for the post season in a couple of years time if they all stick together.
The major question mark surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers is Kevin Love. While being a solid contributor, averaging 17.6PPG and 9.8RPG, along with providing excellent veteran leadership, Love feels like the odd man out and has definitely reached the end of his prime.
The former Timberwolf is locked in a contract that would see him not hit free agency until 2023, by which point he would be way out of his prime. The Cavs best bet would be to try and trade Love to a team that wants to win now and could utilise his services.
A team such as the Boston Celtics or Houston Rockets could utilise a player like Love, and all the Cavs would ask for would be some young developmental players and some draft picks.
The Cavaliers may have been a hard team to watch this year, however they are a team on the rise that needs to keep developing their young talent and future draft picks, while retaining the services of Andre Drummond.
These moves will see the team contending for post season contention in a few years, as Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. all hit their primes. The young trio will give headaches to teams around the league when they are all developed and should led Cleveland to its first postseason appearance without James in over two decades.