Star guard Donovan Mitchell has transformed the Cleveland Cavaliers from an upstart team to one that will likely have home-court advantage in the first round of this year’s NBA playoffs.
If the playoffs were to start now, they would face the New York Knicks, who are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, in the opening round.
Mitchell said he’s looking forward to a potential matchup with the Knicks in the postseason.
It would take the very unexpected to NOT see a Knicks-Cavaliers playoff matchup, writes @SBondyNYDN
For Donovan Mitchell, there’s powerful emotions associated with such a game.
“What kid wouldn’t want to play against his hometown team in the playoffs?”https://t.co/dg0hwFPYy1
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) April 1, 2023
When Mitchell was on the trading block last summer, the one team that was constantly linked to him was New York, and with good reason.
He was born in Elmsford, which is a suburb of the city in Westchester County, and such rumors presented him with the opportunity to play for his hometown team.
Instead, he was sent to the Cavs, but he has seemed happy with them, and vice versa.
Mitchell is averaging 27.9 points a game this season while shooting 48.0 percent from the field, both of which are career highs, and he’s also hitting on 38.4 percent of his 3-point attempts.
He has given Cleveland the type of big-time scoring threat and big game performer they haven’t had since LeBron James’ second departure in 2018.
However, the real key to its success this season has been defense.
It ranks first in defensive rating at 110.1, which is quite an accomplishment for such a young and inexperienced squad.
The Cavs may not be considered legitimate championship contenders, but thanks to Mitchell, they will be a tough out, and they have the ability to pull off an upset in the playoffs.
Donovan Mitchell Says Which Player Should Win Defensive Player Of The Year