The Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2021-22 season hasn’t been over for very long, but the attention has already shifted to next season.
Both Cavaliers fans and bettors are sure to be watching the team’s every move. Sports betting could launch in Ohio before the next NBA season begins, and when it does, bettors are sure to use platforms like DraftKings Sportsbook Ohio to put money down on Cleveland.
So where do the Cavaliers stand heading into next year?
Cavaliers seek even more improvement
There’s plenty for Cleveland to build on after its recent season.
The Cavaliers finished above .500 at 44-38, losing to both the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks in the league’s play-in tournament. Though the season’s end may have been a disappointment, Cleveland still provided plenty of reasons why fans should be optimistic heading into its next campaign.
Cleveland fought through multiple injuries, yet still saw a heavy increase in wins from the past season, when it won just 22 games. Part of the reason is due to the play of rookie Evan Mobley, who averaged 15 points and 8.3 rebounds-per-game on his way to a Rookie of the Year-caliber season.
It helped, too, that third-year guard Darius Garland led the team with 21.7 points-per-game and was named an All-Star reserve.
“This was the most fun I’ve had since I’ve been in the NBA,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said, according to The Associated Press. “I didn’t have one bad day with these guys going to work. Wins, losses, ups and downs, but every single day we went to work together, we enjoyed each other and that’s special.
“We’re headed in the right direction for sure.”
For their upcoming season, the Cavaliers will look to only improve on those results. Cleveland boasts a young roster that could continue to get better under Bickerstaff, who has led the team to steady improvement already.
The Cavaliers’ young roster also now knows how disappointing an early end to the season can be. After their recent impressive campaign came to a halt, they will look to not let that happen again.
“It’s hard to process the season ending the way it did and that we’re not still playing,” Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman said, according to cleveland.com. “But such a remarkable year for so many reasons. We’re really excited for the future. The work continues.”
Collin Sexton likely to return
One major offseason story for the Cavaliers will be the future of Collin Sexton.
The 23-year-old guard is set to be a restricted free agent, but it’s likely Cleveland will look to bring him back for the foreseeable future. There’s good reason for that; Sexton missed most of this season due to a torn meniscus, but he averages 20 points-per-game across his NBA career, plus a 45.8% mark shooting.
And Sexton apparently wants to return to the Cavaliers, too.
“I want to be here in Cleveland,” Sexton said, according to Sports Illustrated’s FanNation. “I love the organization, love my teammates and whatever happens, I know that Cleveland was really good to me. I know this is the place that helped me get to where I am today, and I know I want to continue to be a part of this winning culture and be a part of this culture.
“I feel like me just being able to be at the start of it helped us get to where we are yesterday and where we are right now at the present. So I love Cleveland. I want to be here.”
Sexton has spent his entire career with the Cavaliers. The organization drafted him with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, and he’s become an integral part of Cleveland’s on-court product.
Just two seasons ago, in January 2021, Sexton sprayed a career-high 42 points in a double-overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets, further proving the potential he brings to the rotation. He led the Cavaliers in scoring with 24.3 points-per-game that season, and had he not been sidelined so early this time around, there would have been even more displays of that potential.
Re-signing Sexton would not only be a commitment to him, but a long-term commitment to the backcourt for Cleveland. Sexton is still early in his career, and locking him in with a new deal would further solidify the Cavaliers’ talent at the guard spot for years to come, allowing the front office to build around him.